The Internal Family Systems (IFS) model of therapy recognizes that some clients hear competing, contradictory voices inside their heads. Under this system, three different parts of a person are recognized: managers, exiles, and firefighters. These different parts have a relationship to one another that can be either healthy or dysfunctional. Exiles are the parts of a personality that take on pain and trauma. Managers are the ones who help people function as adults. If the managers fail, firefighters step in to help people cope with their pain by using more extreme measures, including addictive and impulsive behaviors. The self is the head of this family. Recognizing these parts of each person can lead to a helpful and productive therapeutic experience.
- A teenager once confessed that she was tired of therapy and was not going back to it after trying out all the therapy sessions.
- When one’s therapy is not working for that individual as this teenager represents, the therapists would be obliged to try out medications.
- The author believed that the teenager in question would be a good candidate for a strategy called IFS and she was glad to try it out.
“Family systems is a theory which posits that our behaviors are related to our roles in our families and that the system determines a great deal.”