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~ 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.
~ Subpersonalities are aspects of our personality that interact internally in sequences and styles that are similar to the ways in which people interact. (exile and the manager or the firefighter and the Self)
~ 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 that become extreme are carrying “burdens” — energies that are not helpful, such as extreme beliefs, emotions, or fantasies.
~ Parts can be helped to “unburden” or recognize their role 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.
~ Young parts that have experienced trauma and become isolated or suppressed in an effort to protect the individual from feeling the pain, terror, fear, and so on, of these parts
~ Exiles are often young parts holding extreme feelings and/or beliefs that become isolated from the rest of the system (such as “I’m worthless,” “I must be successful to be lovable,” “I am a failure”)
~ Exiles become increasingly extreme and desperate as they look for opportunities to emerge and tell their stories
~ Want to be cared for and loved and constantly seek someone to rescue and redeem them
~ Can leave the individual feeling fragile and vulnerable

~ Managers are proactive and try to avoid interactions or situations that might activate an exile’s attempts to break out or leak feelings, sensations, or memories into consciousness.
~ Different managers adopt different strategies controlling, perfectionism, co-dependency
~ The primary function of all mangers is to keep the exiles exiled….
~ Common managerial symptoms: Emotional detachment, panic attacks, somatic complaints, depressive episodes, hypervigilance

~ The self is the “moderator” that the parts are talking to, that likes or dislikes, listens to, or shuts out various parts
~ When differentiated, the Self is competent, secure, self-assured, relaxed, and able to listen and respond to feedback. (afraid/wounded; should and avoidant)

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