IFS therapy holds the belief of a plural mind consisting of "parts". Have you ever said to yourself, "A part of me wants to go out but a part of me wants to stay home?" or "A part of me knows I should be productive but another part of me wants to sit down and do nothing"? Then you've witnessed your parts. There is also the Self - which is the part of you that is not a part. It is you to your core. In therapy, we work on befriending our parts and being Self-led, so that we can respond to parts that are coming up for us, rather than reacting to them.
The idea of a plural mind is often pathologized but at it's core, a simplified way of thinking about it relates to meta-cognition; the idea of thinking about thinking. Oftentimes we will think about our thoughts but won't stop to ask ourselves which part of us is speaking. Permitting ourselves to do so allows us to view our inner psyche objectively. We are not an angry person, a PART of us is angry. We are not an anxious person, a PART of us is anxious.
Click to watch a brief, 17-minute introduction into parts work from Richard Schwartz, the founding developer of IFS therapy.
This highly relatable video shows parts work in action. Please note that this video is not a substitute for psychoeducation on IFS therapy, but rather is used to introduce the topic of parts work non-pathologically.
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