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  • Writer's pictureLisa Barrett

Understanding Inner Conflicts: A Deep Dive into IFS Therapy

In today's fast-paced world, inner conflicts and struggles are often misunderstood. They are seen as a sign of weakness or a reason to be shamed. However, as renowned psychologist James Hillman aptly puts it, "a symptom suffers most when it doesn’t know where it belongs". This sentence brings forth the idea that our struggles and conflicts are a part of us and understanding where they belong in our psyche can lead to better mental health.

One of the therapeutic approaches to understanding and resolving our inner conflicts is Internal Family Systems (IFS) therapy. IFS is an evidence-based approach that provides a clear, non-pathologizing, and empowering method of understanding human problems. It helps us understand that our inner conflicts and struggles are not a sign of weakness, but rather a natural part of the human experience.

IFS therapy is based on the premise that our minds are comprised of multiple "parts," each with its unique perspective, interests, memories, and viewpoint. Some parts might be in conflict with others, leading to inner turmoil. By identifying these parts and understanding their roles, one can achieve harmony and peace within themselves. It's like having a family within ourselves, each member with its own qualities and characteristics. The goal of IFS therapy is to bring these "family members" to a place of understanding and cooperation.

IFS therapy is not just about identifying these parts and understanding their roles. It's also about developing a relationship with each part, understanding its intentions, and eventually leading it to a healthier role within our mind. This process of self-discovery and self-understanding can be profoundly healing. It can transform our relationship with ourselves, with others, and with the world around us.

We can use IFS as a powerful tool in our journey towards mental health and wellbeing. It’s a journey of self-discovery, self-understanding, and self-compassion. As Dr. Gabor Maté, a renowned author and speaker on addiction and mental health, says, the conflicts and struggles within us are not signs of weakness but rather a natural part of the human experience. Embracing this understanding can be a powerful first step towards healing and growth.

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