Internal Family Systems
Internal Family Systems is and evidence based approach that works from the idea that everyone is made up of a variety of "parts" . In order for healing to occur we must get to know our parts on a deeper level. Through help from a practitioner that is familiar with this system we can then identify the roots of presenting problems and support ourselves to experience greater wellbeing in our lives
IFS is based on an integrative model and was developed by Richard Schwartz in the 1990's who had training in systems thinking and family therapy.
IFS has a number of assumptions
All parts of you are welcome
All parts of you have good intentions even though their effects may be unhelpful
Our parts carry burdens and take on protective roles in our system
We all have what is called Self Energy. We are born with this which means that we do not have to create it or cultivate it
When we explore and discover our parts we offer ourselves the opportunity to unburden their outdated jobs and create new possibilities for the future
GOALS OF IFS
Permanently healing emotional wounds (bearing in mind that this also takes time and commitment)
Allowing extreme roles of our parts to be released of their role to create a new reality
Learning how to embody Self Leadership
Helping your parts Integrate back into your system
UNDERSTANDING THE SELF IN IFS
In IFS therapy, the Self is different from our parts. It has a healing capacity that sometimes would be referred to as our Soul or Core and for some people it is a spiritual state of being. IFS offers the opportunity to experience the state of Self. An IFS Therapist supports and helps someone to maintain a state of Self so they can become their own therapist. Increased internal harmony often results in positive outcomes both in the internal and external world.
I work specifically through an IFS lense which includes psychotherapy, IFS & Somatic IFs
I work with people who have specifically experienced the following and would like support to address these concerns
Trauma, Physical ,Emotional & Psychological Abuse
Anxiety, Depression, suicidal ideation
Chronic Illness & Autoimmune Concerns
Eating Distress & Relationship with Food
Guilt , Shame & Self Criticism
Migrants living away from home
Spiritual Emergency , Spiritual Concerns & Existential Anxiety
Integrating Psychedelic experiences
WHAT HAPPENS IN AN IFS SESSION?
Sometimes IFS will be integrated into a traditional talk therapy session. However a typical IFS Therapy session will focus on supporting and helping the individual connect with their internal world. It also helps the individual connect with their different parts with the support of Self Energy. So you might be invited to close your eyes and go inwards as the therapists guides you through the process of accessing your parts to gain some insight into these parts. The parts may be in the form of sensation, feeling, movement or visual image to name a few.
The process is usually internally focused, which means that it offers you the opportunity to get curious about parts of yourself, get to know their job in your system and then the opportunity to unburden parts as they arise for you.
Please remember that IFS Therapy is deep work for you. It is very beneficial for you to offer yourself curiosity, compassion and patience during this type of therapy, as with all therapy.
Internal Family Systems
Practices that foster embodied self
Somatic IFS is informed by the principles of IFS. Like IFS where the goal is to support the person to have access to more self energy and be the lead in their system, somatic ifs helps the person restore an embodied self . The core of somatic IFS is Somatic awareness which also includes practices that encourage use of the breath, Resonance, Movement & Touch.
Somatic IFS came about to bridge the gap between body and mind in therapy. The intention of somatic IFS is to include somatic practices as part of the process. Just like IFS the intention is the same to heal a person of the burdens that they carry as described above.
Therapy is a place that gives you the time and space to explore current issues and problems that are happening in your life. Although therapy is not advice giving and a therapist wont tell you what you need to do, it can be a place where you sit with another person who can give you knowledge, understanding and perspective from a different lense. As part of therapy there sometimes are ways that can be suggested to you on how to deal with specific difficulties. You get to decide and choose whether these suggestions are a good fit for you.
Sometimes tips, tools, strategies and homework can all be useful ways to make changes in your life. It can be a great starting point for you if you are in a place where you feel stuck and unsure. Sometime things can seem so overwhelming that it is difficult to think and make discerning decisions. Sometimes it can be a place where you relearn to trust yourself.
Every person is different and there are no set ways to deal with problems so it is good for you to be patient with yourself and the therapy process. When you engage in therapy some sessions might feel as if you gained nothing and other sessions you might think you had a lightbulb moment. Therapy is not a linear process and remember it has taken you some time to get to where you are now and if you are looking to change areas in your life it can take a little to implement new ways of being.
As part of therapy, you may experience uncomfortable, even painful feelings such as sadness, anxiety, anger and frustration. Unpleasant aspects of personal history may be recalled. A therapist is trained in a particular way to support you as uncomfortable feelings arise for you.
Therapy is a collaborative process so it is important that you and your therapist can work together as a team
Research has shown that the thing that makes therapy work the most is the relationship between the therapist and client and not learning new skills and strategies
It is important in therapy that you feel heard and the therapist validates your experience. It is also important that the areas of difficulty are challenged in order for you to grow. This might be confronting for you and it is important to explore this in your therapy sessions.
As a client you can certainly set an agenda for the session and this could be in relation to how you are feeling, past experiences or fears you may have. It is also acceptable for you to come with nothing to discuss and to see what unfolds during the session
Therapy can help you become aware of your own blindspots and help you find new ways of looking at situations and also help you handle things on your own rather than relying on a therapist. The more engaged you are in your therapy the more benefits you will gain.
What is the difference between seeing a Psychologist and Psychotherapist ?
There are lots of similarities and differences between Psychologists and Psychotherapists. Some Psychologists are Psychotherapist and some Psychotherapists are Psychologists .
Psychologists have a 4 year training program in general and their training focuses on Mental Health and sometimes Cognitive Behavioural Therapy. Psychology is regulated by AHPRA in Australia. Initial training as a Psychologist does not require you to undergo your own personal therapy but sometimes Psychologists will do further training in approaches such as Psychodynamics, Gestalt, Family Therapy which focus more on the talk therapy elements of their work.
Psychotherapists usually undertake a 3-4 year qualification that involves personal therapy and specialises in a range of issues including anxiety, depression, grief and loss etc. and learning a variety of talk therapy models including Choice Theory, Gestalt, Schema Therapy, Psychodynamic Therapy. Psychotherapy assists people to explore and understand yourself and your experiences. It also helps you identify how past experience influence your current responses to lifes' events . Most therapists are either a member of ACA or PACFA in Australia
At the beginning it is recommended you attend weekly or fortnightly to begin with. Psychotherapy can help you with a number of concerns
I offer IFS ,Somatic IFS & Psychotherapy sessions in Person & Online - worldwide. My current time zone is Australian Western Standard Time. GMT+8