About Parts Work (IFS)
Internal Family Systems, also known as "Parts Work," is a method for getting to know, love, heal, and make the most of every part of who you are.
What is "Parts Work?"
IFS is an evidence-based method that is respected in the clinical world and well-sought-after in wellness communities because of its non-pathologizing and holistic outlook on personal change. It sees the symptoms and problems that are bothering you as “parts” of you that are protecting you from suffering.
IFS is not just a method for healing, it can also be thought of as a paradigm for living. It helps you live in a state of more presence, react more skillfully even in moments of stress, and have compassion for yourself and others. It helps you experience healing, self-love, and inner harmony.
I can confidently say that it is the most effective, deep, rewarding, and down-to-earth approach I have found! Some of my own most profound insights and experiences have happened while I was experiencing IFS as a client, and I have witnessed rapid, deep transformation in my own clients using this model.
Theory of Parts Work
Being multi-faceted is a healthy part of being human. However, things start to go awry when “parts” of ourselves get wounded or take on extreme roles to protect us from getting wounded, like over-achieving to avoid failure, or isolating to protect from rejection. IFS gets its name from seeing these “parts” as a family, like the characters in the Pixar movie Inside Out!
According to IFS, you can heal by tapping into your Core Self, the center of you that is naturally curious, compassionate, and calm to help these parts of you relax and heal. IFS is an inherently non-pathologizing approach. It sees even the most “extreme” behaviors, such as suicidal ideation or addiction as your unconscious best attempt to cope with and avoid pain.
Along their IFS journey, many clients find that their “extreme” parts relax into more balanced ones (for example, over-achieving becomes healthy work ethic, the inner critic becomes an inner coach), and they feel more comfortable in their own skin.
“Emma is an incredible therapist and person. She is highly intuitive, empathetic, and is able to hold the space for you as you process your emotions and situations in your life. She is able to sort through different experiences and help you find clarity in the chaos. I highly recommend Emma as a therapist, especially using the Internal Family Systems model.”
-PAST THERAPY CLIENT
What It's Helpful For
IFS is effective all along the spectrum of change, whether you are looking to recover from trauma and mental health issues or just looking to understand and love yourself better. It can be used to reduce stress, maintain healthy habits, and live a more conscious and harmonious lifestyle. It can also help relieve symptoms of depression, anxiety, trauma, chronic pain, and other mental health complaints.
Through IFS, you learn how to become your own healer and the hero of your own life by loving and understanding every part of your psyche with gentle guidance. It is especially helpful if you feel torn, disconnected, at war with yourself, or are experiencing uncomfortable thoughts, emotions, or behaviors that you don’t understand or struggle to stop.
It often includes working with the inner critic, inner child, and many other parts that make you unique. It is an experiential, imaginative, trauma-informed, and body-based approach grounded in mindfulness. It can be deeply transformative, emotionally touching, and sometimes even fun!
Emma Donovan, MA, LPC, LCPC, has completed the highest level of official IFS training (level 3) in Barcelona, Spain. She has also completed an IFS-inspired Coaching course.
She is deeply passionate about the model. She practices what she preaches and uses it regularly on herself, and enjoys sharing it with others.
She has created several IFS meditations that have been played over 30,000 times, and has led dozens of students through an online course she created based on Parts Work.
“This review is for my experience with “Inner Harmony”, a six week course in IFS, as well as a private IFS session with Emma: Firstly, it seems to me that Emma clearly shares her practice from a place of personal results and healing. The tools and concepts that she shares are shared with an intimate understanding that tells me that she utilizes them regularly. Maybe more importantly, this tells me that she believes fully in what she is sharing.
Secondly, IFS as a practice seems to me to hold infinite healing/therapeutic potential. The framework that IFS provides to explore the mind is simple to navigate and, if one is willing, powerful to behold. I enjoy seeing the world through the lens of IFS on occasion.
Lastly, with the help of Emma, I am successfully navigating these challenging times of Covid-19. In this time, I have experienced doubts and fears and anxieties. Emma, through the lens of IFS, has assisted my process of healing some of the roots of these emotions so that I may live life with more clarity. Thank you, Emma.”