My Work With Clients Using Internal Family Systems (IFS) Model by Yao-Szu (Carolyn) Tsou, LMFT, LPCC
My work with clients using Internal Family Systems (IFS) model
Internal Family Systems (IFS) is an integrative approach to individual psychotherapy developed by Richard Schwartz, PhD. It combines systems thinking with the view that mind is made up of relatively discrete sub-personalities, each with its own viewpoint and qualities. IFS uses family systems theory to understand how these collections of sub-personalities are organized~ Connie Seligman, LCSW.
IFS is such a transformational model that I use in my professional work with clients, as well as in my personal life. I believe that each of us, as a human being, is a system with lots of different internal moving parts. In other words, we each have many “sub-personalities” within ourselves. When I work with a client, I usually start by helping them to explore, recognize, and name their different “parts,” based on each individuals’ thoughts, feelings, and views of self. Sometimes these thoughts or feelings can be so polarizing in relation to each other, or different parts may have layers upon layers of different perspectives, expectations, or agendas that at times can cause us a lot of confusion.
I guide each person I work with in being curious toward their parts in order to get to know each part further. I help individuals to “interview” their parts, to see what each part does for them and how it plays a role in their inner system. Sometimes, if it feels right, we might have a “healing” journey together to witness what happened in the past and to unburden some “exiles” or “inner wounded child” parts. This helps a person to feel less triggered and less reactive, and to have more calmness, clarity, compassion, courage, creativity, curiosity, confidence, and connectedness in work, school, relationships, and daily life. My hope for each client is that true healing will occur once a relationship between their whole self and their parts are fostered, leading to a more “Self-led” life.