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Internal Family Systems Therapy (IFS)

About Internal Family Systems Therapy (IFS)?

Internal Family Systems (IFS) therapy is based on the concept that the mind is naturally composed of multiple sub-personalities, called “parts”. Each part has its own viewpoint and qualities. These parts interact within each person’s internal system in ways that mimic the dynamics of a family.

Understanding the Self and Parts in IFS


IFS therapy posits that everyone has a core Self that is inherently whole and possesses qualities such as compassion, confidence, calmness, and clarity. However, parts can become burdened by traumatic experiences or psychological wounds, leading to protective or destructive roles within the person’s internal system. In IFS, these parts are categorized into three roles:

  • Exiles: Parts that carry emotional pain from past traumas or distressing experiences. These parts are typically suppressed by manager parts because their pain is too intense or overwhelming for the individual to handle on a daily basis.
  • Managers: Parts that maintain control over the individual’s environment to keep them safe from harm or pain.
  • Firefighters: Parts that emerge to protect the self from feeling the exiles’ pain, often through distracting behaviors like addiction or aggression.

Goals of IFS Therapy


The primary aim of IFS therapy is to foster an environment of understanding and harmony among these parts by establishing a leadership role for the Self. Therapy sessions focus on accessing the Self and from its compassionate perspective, beginning to heal the exiled parts. By doing so, individuals learn to better manage their parts, reducing internal conflict and enhancing their capacity to remain in the Self’s state of calm and confident leadership.


Benefits of IFS Therapy


IFS can be used to treat various mental health concerns, including anxiety, depression, trauma, post-traumatic stress disorder, eating disorders, substance use disorders, and relationships problems. It promotes self-awareness, emotional healing, and greater harmony within the individual’s internal system. Through IFS, individuals can learn how to release the burdens carried by their parts, leading to a more balanced mind and a healthier relationship with themselves and others.

At The Cohen Clinic, IFS therapy is conducted in a supportive and respectful environment where each individual’s unique internal landscape is acknowledged and cared for. Our trained therapists are dedicated to guiding you through the transformative journey of IFS, empowering you to achieve psychological balance and well-being.