Internal Family Systems (IFS)
“All parts welcome.” is the guiding principle of this model.
IFS conceptualizes the aspects of our inner world that many people find quite intuitive. It states that within us are various parts of ourselves that often feel, behave, and hold beliefs in conflict with one another. These parts, once explored further, have a positive, at times misguided, but nonetheless altruistic goal. The goal is usually to protect or keep us safe from risk or harm. In the IFS model, these parts are grouped into three categories: Managers, Firefighters, and exiles. Managers and firefighters act as protectors and exiles hold the uncomfortable feelings we often learn to avoid. The model aims to unburden these parts from their extreme roles to bring inner harmony to the system. Once unburdened, the core, authentic self can lead from a more curious and compassionate place. Most people have experienced this inner conflict or named parts of themselves such as ‘inner critic’ or ‘inner child’. Additionally, the experience of ‘self’ has been known through many traditions and although at times elusive to name, the essence of the authentic self can be felt by everyone.