ifs therapy plymouth devon


What is Internal Family Systems Therapy?

Internal Family Systems Therapy Plymouth

Internal Family Systems is one of the fastest growing therapeutic models in the field today. The IFS model offers a clear, non-pathologising, empowering view of our psychological world by focusing on our innate wisdom, the natural Self, and from this place, positive change and healing is supported to unfold.

The IFS model is based on two core ideas:
• that individuals have at their centre a core Self, which, when able to stand up for itself, has the ability to act as an effective, compassionate leader of our psychological system

• that our personalities are made up of many different aspects, or parts, that form themselves into a distinct internal network

With the support of an Internal Family Systems therapist, individuals are encouraged to identify and get to know the members of their internal system that have become trapped in extreme roles, often indicated by the appearance of unwanted symptoms or unhelpful patterns of behaviour.

When treated with understanding and compassion, these extreme parts can drop their dysfunctional roles and instead return to roles that are more productive and life affirming, leaving the individual unencumbered by symptoms and undesired patterns of behaviour. The goal is to restore balance, harmony and compassionate Self-leadership to the internal system as a whole.

Could IFS be right for me?

If you are experiencing extremes in the way you think, feel or behave, Internal Family Systems might be the right type of therapy for you. Such extremes are often a sign of inner conflict; they are an indication that the different parts or aspects of your character have contrasting views about how you should go about living your life. A series of IFS sessions can help the different parts out of their extreme positions and guide them towards a more harmonious collaboration characterised by reduced symptoms and an improved sense of wellbeing.

Or you may have unfinished business relating to an adverse life experience, such as trauma, bereavement, neglect, exploitation or abuse, or to an issue concerning the way others related to you when you were growing up. IFS therapy supports you to release negative self-beliefs and troublesome burdens, some of which you may have been carrying for a very long time. The model also can be helpful in situations where you might be feeling a reduced sense of Self. For example, you may feel you have lost the vital spark at the core of your being that helps you deal with life’s ups and downs. The role of the IFS therapist is to support you towards an empowered Self-led state that will help bring a new healthy balance both to your internal and external world.

What issues can be treated with IFS?

IFS is particularly helpful in the treatment of conditions characterised by internal conflict. See article on the symptoms of anxiety. These include most types of:

  • Anxiety and Panic Attacks
  • Stress
  • Anger Issues
  • Low Confidence and Self-Esteem
  • Relationship Issues
  • Sleep Problems
  • Weight Control Issues
  • Depression
  • Obsessive Compulsive Disorders (OCDs)
  • Eating Disorders (anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, binge eating)
  • Self-Harm
  • Abuse Issues (physical, emotional, sexual)
  • Trauma Issues/Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
  • Addiction (drugs, alcohol, gambling, computer games, etc)
  • Sexual Problems
  • Termination/Miscarriage Issues
  • Bereavement Issues

Background to the IFS model

Internal Family Systems was founded and developed by Dr Richard Schwartz who, when working as a family therapist in Chicago in the mid-1980s, discovered his clients would make good progress in the early weeks of therapy, but then would plateau and make limited further headway. Schwartz was puzzled by this, and after much soul-searching, he resolved to ask his clients why this was happening. Their replies followed a pattern. He noticed they would say things like, ‘Well, part of me really wants to get on better with my relatives, but another part of me has no time for them at all.’

Schwartz set out to learn more about the internal world of his clients and began to discover that each individual possessed a unique population of inner personalities, most of which carried out specific functions. Furthermore, he learnt that each person appeared to have a core Self that never lost its potential to lead their internal system, even in cases where the person had been subjected to experiences such as neglect, trauma or abuse.

Refined over three decades, the IFS model continues to view a person as having an inner family of discrete personalities or parts. Such parts always retain a positive intention and, once released from dysfunctional roles with the support of an IFS therapist, the part can return to the valuable role it was born to fulfil.

The IFS model assumes that every individual already possesses the resources to heal themselves. The aim of the IFS approach is to support the individual to restore trust in the Self as leader of their internal system, and bring balance and harmony to the system as a whole.

For further information about the IFS therapeutic model and its founding developer Dr Richard Schwartz, please visit the IFS website: http://www.selfleadership.org/

Looking for an IFS Therapist?

Shane Scott has a Masters’ qualification from the University of Roehampton, London, and has gone all to complete all three levels of training in Internal Family Systems Therapy. Having completed the clinical requirements, he is currently one of only two Certified IFS Therapists in the UK. He is experienced in working with the model, both face-to-face and online via Skype or Google Videochat.

To find out more about the IFS model and arrange a free 30-minute introductory consultation, please call 01752 227054 or e-mail info@snow-tree-creative-therapy.co.uk