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The Internal Family Systems Model


“The mind is naturally multiple, and that is a good thing”.


The Internal Family Systems Model is formed on this belief, and offers a way to give enough space inside to try different ideas on for a little while, and start to shift our well-worn default settings. It does this by providing a series of steps, initially guided by the therapist, to differently relating with our internal world. 


Internal Family Systems teaches how to listen to all parts of ourselves, while still having a sense of leadership and choice over them - like the conductor of an orchestra, or the captain of a sports team. This can lead to a more integrated sense of self, where rather than feeling the need to hide or suppress aspects of our being, we know all parts well, we know where they come from, and we know how to let them offer their strengths while redirecting any outworn impulses. With this model we can live and make choices from a more aligned place. 


Internal Family Systems provides steps to bringing curiosity and even compassion to our thoughts and emotions, using them as a trailhead to find what is driving them that needs to be healed. The idea behind having an inner leader is that each part of us is driven by survival instincts, and only sees one part of the whole - they’re only one member of a fuller system. The Self, who can self-witness and can see the whole system at work, can learn to be in charge and look out for all parts, in a compassionate way. 

“Like the sun, the Self can be temporarily obscured, but it never disappears. 


Someone rejects us, and suddenly we are awash in shame; a driver cuts us off, and we’re flooded with rage; we have to prepare for a presentation, and we have a panic attack. We know that they’re overreactions, but we have no real idea as to why we get so upset. And because we never ask inside, we just go around thinking of ourselves as touchy, angry, or anxious people. 


It’s important to remember that regardless of how blended we are, the Self is still in there - it never goes away. In ancient times, when there was a solar eclipse and it suddenly got dark because the moon blocked the sun, people would panic, believing the sun had disappeared. Like the sun, the Self can be temporarily obscured, but it never disappears. When the moon passes by or clouds dissipate, the sun shines as brightly as ever. Similarly, when parts unblend, the Self’s nourishing energy is readily available again and the parts are comforted to sense the presence of such a strong, loving inner leader."

- No Bad Parts

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