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Internal Family Systems (IFS) for Addiction Treatment

By December 28, 2022No Comments
IFS for addiction recovery

Internal Family Systems (IFS) can be extremely helpful in addiction treatment and recovery. IFS is a form of psychotherapy that focuses on the idea that each person’s mind is made up of multiple parts or subpersonalities, each with its own unique characteristics, values, and motivations. In the context of addiction, IFS can be used to help individuals better understand and address the underlying emotional and psychological issues that may be contributing to their addictive behaviors.

The History of IFS

Internal Family Systems (IFS) is a form of psychotherapy that was developed by Richard C. Schwartz in the 1980s. Schwartz, who was a family therapist and a professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago, was inspired to develop IFS after noticing that many of his clients seemed to have multiple conflicting parts or subpersonalities within their minds.

Schwartz believed that these different parts, which he referred to as “subpersonalities,” were often in conflict with one another and that this internal conflict was a key contributor to psychological distress and dysfunctional behaviors. He also believed that these subpersonalities could be thought of as being like members of a family, with each part having its own unique characteristics, values, and motivations.

To address this internal conflict and help his clients find greater balance and harmony within their minds, Schwartz developed a therapeutic approach that focused on helping clients to identify and distinguish between different parts of the self, and to explore the relationships and dynamics between these parts. This approach, which he called Internal Family Systems, was designed to help individuals develop a sense of self-leadership and take control over all of the different parts of the self, rather than being controlled by any one part.

Since its development, IFS has gained widespread recognition as an effective treatment approach for a variety of psychological and emotional issues, including addiction, anxiety, depression, and trauma. It is now used by therapists around the world to help individuals better understand and address the underlying emotional and psychological issues that may be contributing to their problems.

What is IFS for Addiction Treatment Like?

During IFS sessions, the therapist helps the client to identify and distinguish between different parts of the self, and to explore the relationships and dynamics between these parts. The therapist may also help the client to develop a sense of self-leadership, which involves taking a leadership role over all of the different parts of the self, rather than being controlled by any one part.

One key aspect of IFS is the concept of “self-energy,” which refers to the energy that is needed to maintain a sense of balance and harmony within the internal system. When self-energy is low, it can be more difficult for individuals to effectively manage their emotions and behaviors, which may increase the risk of engaging in addictive behaviors. By increasing self-energy through IFS therapy, individuals may be able to better regulate their emotions and behaviors, and reduce the risk of relapse.

IFS can be an effective treatment approach for addiction, as it helps individuals to better understand and address the underlying emotional and psychological issues that may be contributing to their addictive behaviors. It can also be used in combination with other forms of treatment, such as medication-assisted treatment and support groups, to provide a comprehensive approach to addiction recovery.

If you or a loved one would like to learn more about holistic addiction treatment, contact us to learn more about our programming.

Author Flatirons Recovery

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