Internal Family Systems or IFS, as it is commonly called, is an extremely effective and gentle technique for healing and helping the different parts of ourselves feel integrated within us. These parts are very often working against each other in the mistaken belief that they are helping our system be safe. This can cause all sorts of anxiety and stress.
What may be a simple way to describe IFS is to use myself as an example.
In my 20’s I was performing on Broadway and even though there were parts of me that loved being in the limelight, getting lots of attention and sharing my joy of dance, there were other parts of me filled with shame that simply wanted to hide. Although I didn’t realize all that was going on inside me at the time, I did know I was struggling emotionally with accepting my success. There were parts of me that felt guilty and undeserving of my success, creating stress and fear and I numbed out a lot.
Knowing what I do now about Internal Family Systems, I can see that there were parts that were terrified for me to fully let go and enjoy myself that the shame within me would be revealed. I had to be vigilant in keeping them deeply buried. Unfortunately or fortunately, however you like to look at it, the wounded parts in me were always wanting to be seen, heard and witnessed for the pain and the burden of shame they had taken on their little shoulders early on in life.
I also knew from past experience that to express this deep trauma to just anyone was not a safe option. Thankfully, now, my parts are working together in harmony and that shame is unburdened and those parts healed. I found this model so effective I wanted to add it to my toolbox. I discovered it worked so beautifully with my other modalities.
After being in a year-long training and subsequent continuing education, I am happy to add it to my techniques to help clients heal. It works beautifully with both EFT and Matrix Reimprinting. Add to that mix my Grief Recovery work which always holds the client in a compassionate, accepting and non-judgemental place where they feel safe to express themselves and to heal. I feel that I have found a lovely inner healing mix of techniques that help people break free and ready to step into their ideal life. Destiny Coaching then takes them to their next level of action and confidence in reaching their full potential.
Why use EFT and IFS together?
IFS by itself can take a long time for our different parts to trust and accept they they are safe. They will not ‘let go’ or feel safe easliy if they have been holding on for years in the often mistaken belief that they have to protect either themselves or other parts within.
Because EFT works so brilliantly in calming the fear, flight, freeze response in our body, it is SO much easier for parts to feel safe to shift, move, let go of and change old beliefs that they no longer need.
Client’s Safety and Value
It is also important that the client feel safe with the therapist, that they are held in a place of kindness, compassion and they are valued.
Working with Gail Mae has been incredibly helpful. In our sessions I feel calm, safe and supported. I feel listened to, understood and valued.
I am a classical singer and when I started working with Gail Mae I was terrified of auditions. After working with Gail I now look forward to and enjoy them.
She has patiently and skillfully helped my self confidence and helped me appreciate, value and love my self.
Gail provides a safe environment and therefore I am able express my thoughts and emotions freely. With her I feel I am guided away from my fearful thoughts and memories and into a place of love and acceptance.” ~ Rachel Labovitch – Opera Singer
To learn more about Internal Family Systems
Watch IFS developer, Dr. Richard Schwartz speak about IFS in this video overview click here:
As a clinical treatment, IFS has been rated effective for improving general functioning and well-being. In addition, it has been rated promising for improving phobia, panic, and generalized anxiety disorders and symptoms; physical health conditions and symptoms; personal resilience/self-concept; and depression and depressive symptoms.
To read more about Internal Family Systems as an evidence-based therapy on the NREPP (National Registry of Evidenced-based Programs and Practices), click here:
I am happy to chat with you if you would like to learn more about IFS and how I integrate it with EFT and my other modalities.
Photo Credit Jian Xhin on Unsplash
Photo credit Bailey Zindel on Unsplash