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Internal family systems
(parts work)

About parts work

"A part of me feels [fill in the blank],

but another part of me feels [fill in another blank]."

If you've ever said or felt this before, you're already more familiar with parts work than you may have realized.

Internal Family Systems (IFS), or parts work, views a person as having: 1) a Self, and 2) multiple parts or sub-personalities (or internal family members).

(We know we are in "Self" when we feel one or more of the following 8 C's:

- curiosity

- calm

- confidence

- compassion

- creativity

- clarity

- courage

- connectedness)


Anything outside of these 8 C's (i.e., anger, sadness, paranoia, etc.), can be considered, then, a "part." These parts, typically born out of an intention to protect either the Self or another vulnerable and hurt part, can have different motivations, emotions, and experiences, and can sometimes clash with each other, leading to internal conflict and psychological distress.

In the same way that the emotional wellness of a family is dependent on how the different family members get along, in IFS, the goal is to help people listen to, understand, and heal their internal family members, creating a sense of harmony and balance within themselves, so that the Self is in the driver's seat, and all the parts have taken on new roles in service of the Self (and ultimately themselves).

Wholeness is not achieved by cutting off a portion of one's being, but by integration of the contraries.

- Carl Jung

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