Accessing Inner Resources for Healing
For 30-some years, IFS psychotherapists and patients alike have spoken of the effectiveness of IFS.
Patients who have experienced IFS in their guided clinical therapy react to it by using statements like “I cannot believe how much calmer I am now,” “where did the pain go,” or “I have better self-control.” Their comments are reminiscent of the song lyrics “I can see clearly now, the rain is gone.”
For many if not most, pain that is caused by trauma and manifests itself through PTSD symptoms, depression, anxiety, or addiction seems to get alleviated when the patient undergoes an IFS-based treatment protocol.
Individuals exposed to IFS generally “get it” and see it as “simply elegant,” and “so intuitive.”
Looking at the inner world through IFS helps us create harmony within our inner system. By accepting and owning our extreme parts (emotions, thoughts, or beliefs), these parts relax their extreme position and lead to us to the pain source. This is how the self-awareness shift takes place and healing begins.
It is an ongoing process, to be sure; but when we know how to tap our core wisdom, and each of us has access to it, we gain access to emotional qualities that will help us manage our system better. We become less judging and more compassionate toward ourselves and others, and instead of getting triggered, we become curious about what goes on.
Psychotherapists also sing the praise of the IFS modality. Through several surveys, we have heard that reactions like “IFS is a transformative,” “the model rejuvenated my practice,” “I now feel I am making a difference,” and “I finally able to stay in a good place of calm and curiosity, with fewer emotional triggers than when I conduct other therapies.” IFS is experiential. Hearing or reading about it does not capture it well. During training sessions, practitioners get immersed in the model and are involved in doing their inner work themselves—which expands their compassion for themselves and their clients.
Abundance of anecdotal evidence exists of the broad impact of IFS as a clinical treatment for a wide spectrum of mental disorders and illnesses. IFS is also seen as a good preventive measure and a solution that will help reduce long-term dependency on psychiatric medication. Empirical research in these areas will affirm these observations.
All individuals, not only those undergoing mental health treatments, could benefit from exposure to IFS. As a thought process, a way to understand the human psyche and human interactions, IFS offers myriad applications. In fact, IFS has been used in counseling adolescents, couples, and families. It has been used as a tool in health coaching and considered as an approach for alleviating chronic physical pain. IFS has been applied in executive coaching, legal mediation, and conflict resolution. These are areas of application that would benefit the overall health of families, organizations, and communities—calling for additional research and increased advocacy efforts.
IFS reminds us of the wisdom of Self leadership that resides within each of us. Through Self leadership, we glean the promise of long-term emotional healing and well-being.