This article covers the steps of the IFS-Approach (Internal Family Systems) to therapy. I also want to introduce an image to visualize these steps (and then geek out about that image a bit…)
What is IFS and what are these steps?
IFS or Internal Family Systems is both a model of our mind and psyche and an approach to therapy.
Both the model and approach work with the assumption that each person has many Parts (subpersonalities) and that these parts strongly influence (sometimes even determine) how one feels and acts in the world. In addition IFS asserts that each person has a Self (an essential / spiritual core) that is not a Part and that is inherently compassionate, calm and open.
The IFS-Model gives a map for different parts, relationships between parts and interactions with the Self. The IFS-Approach gives practical tools on how to work with Parts and support the Self to be more present.
The ‘Steps of the IFS-Approach’ are the steps of the therapeutic process IFS uses to work with parts that are creating problems in a person’s life. In essence these steps are about helping the Self and these parts to re-connect and empowering the person’s Self to help his or her own Parts.
These steps are used both by Therapists to support their Clients and people working with themselves to develop more compassion and empowerment to support themselves and their own Parts.
Introducing the Steps
The rest of this article is an overview of these Steps. For this I first want to introduce a diagram I developed (open for constructive feedback):