Experiential therapies are therapeutic modalities that foster emotional healing though creative expression. Experiential therapies include psychodrama and drama therapy, Internal Family Systems therapy, dance and movement therapy, music therapy, journal and poetry therapy, and art therapy. One need not be an artist or performer to benefit from these methods.
What is Internal Family Systems?
Internal Family Systems (IFS) therapy is an evidence-based experiential therapy that was developed by Richard Schwartz, Ph.D. about forty years ago. According to IFS theory, we are all born with a multiplicity of mind and have parts or sub-personalities. This is a normal and natural human experience. We all are also born with a Self that cannot be harmed, no matter what happens to us in our lives. Self embodies essential qualities such compassion, curiosity, connectedness and creativity.
In response to traumatic events, however, our parts can get stuck in extreme roles, frozen in the past, and we can lose connection to our essential qualities of Self. IFS therapy aims to heal or transform parts burdened with extreme roles, by building trust in the Self, and creating connection and harmony between the Self and one’s parts. When we develop a relationship between Self and our parts, healing will spontaneously occur.
One of the key beliefs of IFS is that all parts are welcome, and no parts are inherently bad. In fact, we believe they are all good in intention and have tried to help us. When parts take on extreme roles, they can inadvertently cause harm both internally and externally, even if they are well intentioned. In these cases, the parts need to be unburdened of their beliefs that their intense roles are needed. When a person identifies and explores these parts, they are able to understand them better and develop deeply healing internal relationships.
Just as all parts are welcome in IFS, people of all identities and backgrounds are welcome too.
Valerie is a Level III trained IFS practitioner who has trained with the creator of the method, Richard Schwartz, Phd as well as Cece Sykes, LCSW and Pamela Krause, LCSW. She supervises all Inner Stage practitioners through an IFS lens and practitioners have training in the method.
Please contact Valerie at (917) 572-8114 for further information.