I. BASIC ASSUMPTIONS OF THE IFS MODEL
- It is the nature of the mind to be subdivided into an indeterminate
number of sub-personalities or parts.
- Everyone has a Self, and the Self can and should lead the individual’s
- The non-extreme intention of each part is something positive for the
individual. There are no “bad” parts, and the goal of therapy is not to
eliminate parts but instead to help them find their non-extreme roles.
- As we develop, our parts develop and form a complex system of
interactions among themselves; therefore, systems theory can be
applied to the internal system. When the system is reorganized, parts
can change rapidly.
- Changes in the internal system will affect changes in the external
system and vice versa. The implication of this assumption is that both
the internal and external levels of system should be assessed.
II. OVERALL GOALS OF THERAPY
- To achieve balance and harmony within the internal system.
- To differentiate and elevate the Self so it can be an effective leader in the
- When the Self is in the lead, the parts will provide input to the Self but
will respect the leadership and ultimate decision making of the Self.
- All parts will exist and lend talents that reflect their non-extreme
III. PARTS IN IFS
- Sub-personalities are aspects of our personality that interact internally
in sequences and styles that are similar to the ways in which people
- Parts may be experienced in any number of ways – thoughts, feelings,
sensations, images, and more.
- All parts want something positive for the individual and will use a
variety of strategies to gain influence within the internal system.
- Parts develop a complex system of interactions among themselves.
Polarizations develop as parts try to gain influence within the system.
- While experiences affect parts, parts are not created by the experiences.
They are always in existence, either as potential or actuality.
- Parts that become extreme are carrying “burdens” – energies that are
not inherent in the function of the part and don’t belong to the nature of
the part, such as extreme beliefs, emotions, or fantasies. Parts can be
helped to “unburden” and return to their natural balance.
- Parts that have lost trust in the leadership of the Self will “blend” with or
take over the Self.