You might’ve heard of Internal Family Systems (IFS) therapy before… but do you know what it actually is? If not, you’re in the right place! I had so many questions about IFS, which is why I reached out to Emily. Emily Powell is a pre-licensed mental health therapist who loves the IFS approach, and she joins me to talk about all things IFS therapy.
Emily primarily works with individuals who have attachment wounds from early childhood, so she has lots of wisdom to share on today’s topic. I’ll highlight the main points of our conversation in this post, but make sure to listen to the full episode for all of the details! Let’s get started.
What Is IFS?
You might be wondering… what the heck is IFS? And don’t worry, I had the same thought at first! Emily explained that IFS is an acronym for Internal Family Systems and that it’s a relational style of therapy. In Emily’s words, “It's [IFS] less focused on the solutions and more on building our relationship with ourselves so that we can expand our relationship with others."
IFS is all about recognizing that humans aren’t defined by one thing like anxiety, panic disorder, or agoraphobia. It prioritizes the fact that we’re complex and that there’s far more to us than anxiety! Emily shared that her favorite part of IFS is that it’s not pathologizing. Instead, it focuses on the fact that everything we do is to protect ourselves. I loved that Emily mentioned this because so many of us who struggle with anxiety and panic are simply trying to protect ourselves from extremely uncomfortable emotions.
What Is IFS Therapy Used For?
Emily shared that the agenda with IFS is never to completely get rid of anxiety. In fact, there’s actually no agenda at all. She shared that often when therapists have an agenda, the parts, or inner child, do not respond in a helpful way. Instead, the focus is on learning about our inner child with more curiosity and openness. IFS is most commonly used to treat anxiety disorders, substance abuse, and depression.
Emily said that IFS is commonly used alongside other types of therapy. One of those is EMDR. She shared that oftentimes, clients will experience a block during EMDR therapy, or they aren’t able to get to the place they need to be in order to heal their trauma. Because of this, lots of EMDR therapists are not getting trained in IFS to help their clients move past these blocks.
What Is The Goal of IFS Therapy?
When I asked Emily about the goal of IFS therapy, she said that it largely has to do with getting to know ourselves and the different parts of us that make us unique. And when we form a deep understanding of who we actually are, we can rebuild the parts of ourselves that might be struggling.
So many of us struggle to know who we actually are, or what we actually need in order to begin healing. The beautiful part of IFS therapy us that it helps us to know ourselves better, and recognize what we need to do in order to heal!
Emily had so much more insight to share in the full podcast episode, so don’t forget to give it a listen!
Connect With Emily!
All the things: https://linktr.ee/emilypowellcounselingservices