Since 2018 when I met the founder Richard Schwartz I have been studying IFS and integrating the IFS process into my NVC work. In my opinion and experience these two processes are very complementary for both inner welbeing and healing as for interpersonal relationships.
At the heart of IFS is the belief that there is a calm, compassionate core ‘Self’ within each of us that cannot be damaged.
"Internal Family Systems is a powerfully transformative, evidence-based model of psychotherapy. We believe the mind is naturally multiple and that is a good thing. Our inner parts contain valuable qualities and our core Self knows how to heal, allowing us to become integrated and whole. In IFS all parts are welcome. IFS is a movement. A new, empowering paradigm for understanding and harmonizing the mind and, thereby, larger human systems. One that can help people heal and helps the world become a more compassionate place.”
We also have many ‘parts’ that help us through life and protect us. Sometimes these parts can become extreme because of our experiences in the world and it can then be harder to access the calm core Self. These parts can also make us behave in ways that cause conflict, distress or unhappiness in ourselves or those around us.
"We are compassionate with ourselves when we are able to embrace all parts of ourselves and recognize the needs and values expressed by each part.”
Therefore, IFS is a systemic approach to our inner word and our outerworld, both at a level of close relationship as at a wider community level. IFS is a vehicle for personal and social change.
In my coaching work with clients and in my Lead Your Life courses I support people to disentangle themselves from their parts and access their core Self. The Self can then connect with each part and heal it. This allows the parts to let go of their extreme or destructive roles and enter into a harmonious collaboration led by the Self within bot the inner and outer world.
IFS explicitly recognizes the spiritual nature of the Self, allowing the model to be helpful in spiritual development, psychological healing and interpersonal relationships.
Similar to NVC, IFS is about compassion for ourselves and others.
"Trauma can block love, but love can heal trauma”