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Internal Family Systems Theory
Dr. Dawn-Elise Snipes
~ Define Internal Family Systems Theory
~ Identify when it is used
~ Explore guiding principles

~ For more information and training programs in IFS, go to https://www.selfleadership.org/
~ IFS was developed in the 1990s by family therapist Richard Schwartz, Ph.D.,
~ It is based on the concept that an undamaged core Self is the essence of who you are, and identifies three different types of sub-personalities or “families” that reside within each person, in addition to the Self.
~ Wounded and suppressed parts called exiles (lost child)
~ Managers, that keep the exiled parts suppressed (enabler)
~ Firefighters, that distract the Self from the pain of exiled parts. (hero/mascot/scapegoat)
~ The Internal Family Systems Center for Self-Leadership conducts training programs
Basic Assumptions
~ The mind is subdivided into an indeterminate number of subpersonalities or parts.
~ Everyone has a Self which can lead the individual's internal system.
~ The non-extreme intention of each part (exile, manager and firefighter) is something positive for the individual.
~ There are no “bad” parts
~ 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
~ When the system is reorganized, parts can change rapidly.
~ Changes in the internal system will affect changes in the external system and vice versa.

~ Every person has within them a Self, exile, firefighter and manager
~ Each of these parts has a survival function
~ One goal is helping parts communicate and not overwhelm each other is essential
~ Another goal is helping the Self get back into a position in which it can listen and discern feedback from the parts to determine the best course of action