Learn to Love Every Part of You: Internal Family Systems Therapy (Part 1)
What is Parts Work or Internal Family Systems (IFS) Therapy?
Simply put, IFS therapy is a way of understanding the complexity of being human, and it’s a way of untangling ourselves from the negative impact of complex trauma.
Because of the aloneness and overwhelm we experience in traumatic circumstances, parts of us get frozen in those moments. And our internal systems reorganize in a way to mitigate harm in the future.
This works for a time. Until living life feels like walking through a field of landmines. The thing that happened back then still haunts you. You try to ignore it at all costs because you’re convinced it’s in the past and there’s nothing you can do to change it. But the symptoms, memories, or internal conflicts get louder. It takes up more and more space. You can’t ignore it, no matter how hard you try.
Transforming Trauma Through IFS Therapy
Parts work is a way of tending to the pieces of your life that feel stuck, fractured, disconnected.
It’s a way of understanding why you do the thing you don’t want to do.
Why you make yourself small instead of voicing your wants and needs.
Why you numb out with substances, activities, or work even though it deepens the disconnection you feel.
Why you say ‘yes’ to things that are really no’s.
Why your response feels disproportionate to the current event.
Why you feel stuck in patterns or behaviors that are just not serving you.
By understanding and working with your parts, IFS therapy aims to bring about healing, integration, and transformation. It helps you develop a greater understanding and relationship with the different parts of you. With a posture of curiosity and non-judgment, you can gain insight into the origins and functions of your parts, as well as the underlying factors that drive them.
Exiles, Managers, Firefighters, Oh My!
Thinking about being made up of different parts can seem a bit abstract. If you take a second look though, you’ll likely see a life filled with examples of how this practically shows up in your day to day.
For example, part of you recognizes your partner’s feedback to you is completely reasonable. Yet another part of you becomes defensive and critical.
Or maybe you took a risk and engaged authentically with your friend. But then you berated yourself the entire drive home even though you initially felt good about your interaction.
On the surface, your disjointed or disproportionate reactions may seem confusing. But a deeper look reveals you make perfect sense. We’ll break it down a bit further in part 2 of this series on IFS therapy.
Next Steps: Explore IFS Therapy In Denver
Stop feeling stuck in your trauma and start feeling free. Find healing through parts work by:
About the Author: Ali Arteaga, LPCC
Ali Arteaga (she/her) is a trauma therapist and the founder of Fio Counseling, a mental health therapy practice in Colorado. With a passion for connection, compassion, and curiosity, Ali is dedicated to helping her clients reclaim their lives from trauma and live abundant, authentic lives.
Embracing her own healing journey through complex trauma led Ali to devote her life to helping others feel at home within themselves. She’s been there (personally and professionally) and is a gentle, compassionate guide helping you find your way back to you.
Ali honors the uniqueness of your story and meets you where you’re at. She weaves in evidenced-based modalities such as Internal Family Systems (IFS) therapy and somatic therapy into her work with clients.