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Internal Family Systems

Transformative Psychotherapy

Internal Family Systems (IFS) is an evidence-based model for creating understanding and harmony in your mind. This leads to teaching ourselves how to heal and in turn create a more compassionate place in which we are able to exist.

We are all very complex beings, full of multiple parts, or sub-personalities. The mind uses the various parts, sometimes as a way to protect the overall being. One part may have been forced to take on something that might cause issues in one part . This can lead to internal conflicts that manifest as painful feelings, such as anger or shame.

IFS therapy focuses on finding what parts may have experienced a trauma or incident. Once that is identified, the healing process can begin and naturally change. The end result is the emotions and behaviors also change.

Core concepts of Internal Family Systems Therapy are “Self” and “Parts”


The first core concept is the existence of “Self”. This is an innate, pure essence of who you are. This is considered good and whole – unbroken and uncorrupted. Sometimes however, Self becomes blended with other parts, clouding Self. When you are “Being in Self” you have the 8 C’s of self-energy.

  • Curiosity
  • Calm
  • Clarity
  • Connectedness
  • Confidence
  • Courage
  • Creativity
  • Compassion


The second core concept of IFS is the existence of “parts”. Sometimes called sub-personalities or families, each part has it’s own set of beliefs, feelings and thoughts. There are no bad parts, only at times, bad roles. If a part doesn’t trust the Self, it may act out to protect the system. This behavior (or role) can continue on past the time of the incident and stay stuck there. There are three broad categories of “parts”.

  • Exiles
  • Managers
  • Firefighters

Using the process of “unburdening” leads to the healing of the “parts”. The Self learns to listen to what has been experienced and supports the healing process.

IFS is beneficial for:

  • Anxiety disorders
  • Eating disorders
  • Depressive disorders
  • Self-harm/suicidal ideation
  • Self-esteem
  • Substance use disorders
  • Chronic pain and illness
  • Trauma disorders
  • Anger
  • Relationship issues
  • Interpersonal issues
  • Stress management
  • Shame

Pathways Counseling Services counselors are trained in Internal Family Systems therapy. They will use their skills and knowledge to help you the best, healthy life for you. Call today for more information or to schedule a free fifteen minute call with one of our counselors.

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