IFS Therapy for Anxiety
Using IFS Therapy to treat anxiety is perhaps one of the best-use cases of this cutting-edge form of psychotherapy.
How IFS Therapy Works
IFS stands for Internal Family Systems.
IFS Therapy teaches that our inner life is composed of different parts (feelings, thoughts, beliefs, behavior patterns or somatic sensations), sometimes called subpersonalities. By learning to focus on and work with your “inner family” of parts, IFS helps you develop emotional intelligence and emotional regulation skills.
For instance, one part of you might be feeling anxious, while another part of you judges your anxiety and wants it to go away.
Normally the secondary reaction of self-criticism might lead to an escalation of anxiety. But when we are able to relate to parts of our inner system from a mindset of genuine curiosity—for example it’s ok that I’m feeling anxious right now…I wonder what could be causing this?—the parts tend to relax and give you more space to see the big picture.
A Mindfulness-Based Approach to Anxiety with IFS Therapy
This ability to separate from the thoughts, feelings and beliefs of our parts is what Internal Family Systems calls Self. IFS therapy for anxiety is therefore a “mindfulness-based” approach. Self is curious, compassionate, calm, centered, courageous, creative and connected.
By linking these Self-qualities to moments of anxiety, you may discover how to shift your focus into states of mind that will bring you peace and greater resourcefulness.
Working with an IFS therapist for anxiety, you’ll find more ease even with distressing or anxious thoughts. You’ll learn how those parts of you are working hard and deserve respect. Most other approaches to anxiety teach that you should confront and battle your anxiety to keep it from encroaching on your life, but this can be burdensome to an already hard-working nervous system.
IFS therapy for anxiety is a novel and creative treatment that is increasingly evidence-based (meaning it is validated empirically in scientific studies of anxiety treatments).