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Internal Family Systems (IFS) and Ripple

Ever heard yourself say “A part of me wants to and another part doesn’t”?

This is revealing what is understood through Internal Family Systems (IFS) as your internal system. At Ripple Effect we have been exploring ways to integrate this model into our work with great success. It makes such intuitive sense to children to thinks of themselves as having parts within them.

Multiple aspects of this model fit with the Ripple approach. It promotes the relational approach in a truly unique way. The IFS perspective regards health as being achieved through a greater connection and understanding of our internal parts. When we can understand how that part operates, what its role has been, and what it needs then we are better able to live our lives in the full expression of our selves.

Confused? Here’s an example to help. Recently a young man and I were discussing his rage part. This part can get him into a heap of trouble at times. When trouble happens he ends up feeling stupid, shameful, or guilty.

We explored rage as a “part” – not the whole of him, just a part. Being curious about rage instead of shaming and blaming it allowed him to explore how rage protects him and how when rage gets activated it feels like no other part of him exists. Rage is running the whole show of his life.

Using IFS allowed him to start to experience that he can get a bit of distance between his self and this part of him. Practicing how to notice this part in the therapy room and not get ambushed by the part allows a greater degree of relationship within him. He can begin to see the situations where rage happens, notice how rage is protecting him, and begin to make decisions from his whole self not just from his rage part.

Which takes us to the other perfect fit between IFS and Ripple – all parts are welcome! Our approach is built on the premise that all behaviours and all emotions are there for a reason. No Shame. No Blame. Only when there is a deep understanding about our parts are we able to create the life we want.


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