Internal Family Systems Therapy For Mental Illness At Bedrock

IFS works on the theory that a person is made up of sub-personalities. To treat mental illness, IFS treats these sub-personalities as a nuclear family and seeks to repair the relationships between them.

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Internal family systems (IFS) is a type of therapy that theorizes that we are made up of several sub-personalities.

Dr. Richard Schwartz, the founder of IFS, argues that these different parts of the mind operate like a nuclear family, requiring each individual to practice conflict resolution within themselves.

These internal parts are not static and can change with time and work. Bedrock uses IFS to treat a variety of mental health conditions, including panic disorders, phobias, depression, and anxiety.

What Is Internal Family Systems Therapy?

Internal family systems therapy (IFS) is a non-pathologizing psychotherapy that uses mindfulness-based strategies to help people resolve internal conflicts.

The internal family systems model believes that people sometimes experience subpersonalities that come into internal conflict when dealing with challenges and refers to these subpersonalities as an internal family.

The IFS model may be used to treat eating disorders, schizophrenia, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), psychosis, borderline personality disorder and other mental health issues.

Sub-Personalities And The Self

IFS has five essential theories about sub-personalities and the Self.

These theories argue that:

  • the mind is naturally split into different parts or sub-personalities
  • these subpersonalities make up the Self, and the Self leads the internal system
  • there are no bad subpersonalities, only imbalance, which can be corrected
  • subpersonalities develop as you grow and form complex interactions
  • a person’s internal and external environmental systems affect each other

The Self is thought of as a family unit, and each part is a member of the family. Each person in the family has different ideas of what is best for the whole and how to achieve it, which creates complex relationships.

In the same way, all parts of you want the best for your Self, but their differences can create complex relationships.

The Eight C’s

IFS also believes that the Self is the core of a person’s being. The Self’s qualities are known as the 8Cs.

The 8Cs are:

  • calmness
  • curiosity
  • compassion
  • confidence
  • courage
  • clarity
  • connectedness
  • creativity

We know that we are “in Self” when we feel one or more of the C’s towards any given part of the Self.

Resolving Conflict Within Your Mental System

Resolving inner conflicts in IFS involves understanding and connecting with the different parts of yourself, leading with compassion and understanding, and working toward a resolution that benefits all parts.

To fully resolve conflict, we must create a resolution that meets the needs of all parts. This requires understanding, which is more comprehensive than the point of view of any one part itself.

When we are in Self and bring compassion to each part, we create a relationship that supports healing by:

  • knowing the part
  • respecting the part
  • caring for the part

We can resolve conflict by applying the 8 Cs to every subpersonality.

When Is IFS Therapy Applied To Mental Health Treatment At Bedrock?

IFS therapy may be applied to mental health treatment at Bedrock to help people identify and accept the different parts of themselves.

The goal of IFS is to help people identify their inner critic and other wounded parts of themselves to facilitate personal growth and correct problematic behaviors.

An IFS therapist will help you read into your behaviors and teach you how to change them to increase your overall well-being and heal the wounded parts to create a healthy internal system.

Other Mental Health Treatments Available At Bedrock

We provide a variety of other mental health treatments at Bedrock, including cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), and other evidence-based therapies.

We also provide group therapy and family therapy, including psychoeducation and specialized groups.

Ask About Starting Mental Health Care At Bedrock Recovery Center

If you or a family member are seeking mental health treatment options in Massachusetts, we can help. Contact Bedrock Recovery Center to learn about available treatment plans.

  1. Australian Psychological Society
  2. Brigham Young University (BYU)
  3. Center for Creative Conflict Resolution
  4. Grantouso
  5. The University of North Carolina Chapel Hill

Written by Bedrock Recovery Center Editorial Team

Published on: January 24, 2024

© 2024 Bedrock Recovery Center | All Rights Reserved

* This page does not provide medical advice.

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