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What is Internal Family Systems therapy?

Updated: Aug 7, 2023

IFS is an evidence-based psychotherapy modality that views human minds as consisting of a system of inner parts led by a core Self.

The internal family system includes parts that protect the person from feelings of hurt (called Managers), parts that hold painful emotional experiences (Exiles), and parts that distract the person from Exiles (Firefighters).

When these parts are in the driver's seat, they are in control over one's thoughts, emotions, and physical sensations.

An IFS therapist supports clients in accessing their core Self in order to connect with and heal their wounded or protective parts.

This is done by demonstrating the '8 C's of Self' towards one's parts: confidence, curiosity, compassion, care, clarity, courage, calmness, creativity, and connectedness.

Curious whether Internal Family Systems therapy is the right fit for you? Schedule a free consultation with a therapist on our team!

The internal family system circle, breaking down the parts of the system. Managers are protectors of the system and attempt to keep the person in control of every situation and relationship in order to protect them from feeling hurt or rejected. Firefighters protect the system but act to soothe or distract from activated exile parts. Exiles hold painful emotions that have been isolated from the core Self. The Self is one's core or centre of the person, and acts as an active, compassionate leader.

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