What is IFS or Parts Work?

IFS (Internal Family Systems), also known as Parts Work, allows us to identify and explore our mixed feelings or “different parts.”   At one time or another, we’ve all said to ourselves something like, “Part of me wants to go out to the party tonight, and part of me wants to stay home and just crash.”  Or “Part of me wants to eat this whole gallon of ice cream right now, and part of me doesn’t.”  or “Part of me wants to yell, and part of me wants to cry right now.”

The old thinking that we have one mind is out of date.  Today we know we are not just one mind, we’re made of different parts, each with its own jobs and beliefs.   All our parts serve a purpose; they’re there to try to meet our needs.  Our parts evolved at a time when we had limited options on how to cope with the ups and downs of life.  By exploring our different parts, we can give a voice to, and learn from, all the parts of us.  And truly heal from the past, and make the best decisions for our selves.

Some examples of our different parts include:  

Our Inner Child– The innocent part of us who feels awe and wonder but was forced into hiding.  Learned to present a false self to cope with the stress or trauma from childhood.  This part of us interpreted the way we were treated to mean we were unlovable, unworthy, or didn’t matter (or our feelings or needs didn’t matter).

Our Inner Adolescent or Teen– They can be rebellious, angry, and react quickly.  May turn to compulsive behaviors and/or use substances to numb uncomfortable feelings.  May do something and later regret it.

Our Critical Parent voice– We can sometimes spot the Critical Parent from self-talk, such as “You are so stupid!” or “Why did you do that?!” or “Don’t take a chance.  You’ll fail.”  (When we think to ourselves, I should/shouldn’t feel this way…)

Our Loving Parent voice– What??!  Most of us don’t know what this is.  IFS or Parts work is where we get to know our own Loving Parent voice.  If one doesn’t exist, we get to develop one and benefit from its unconditional love and acceptance, and learn from its wisdom.


IFS or Parts Work is a powerful and effective way of learning about and practicing exquisite Self-Care.  It is used for healing traumatic wounds and alleviating Anxiety, Depression, Trauma, Addiction, and more.