Internal Family Systems Parts Map


IFS therapy is focused on improving our wellbeing by building strong relations of trust between our subpersonalities and the core of our being called Self, and gradually increasing Self leadership. The purpose of Parts mapping is to identify the Parts in our individual system. It can also serve to identify the relations between the Parts. So let’s take a closer look at Internal Family Systems parts map.

Internal Family Systems parts map – how to do it?

We usually have a few main Parts and a few dozen less active Parts. During the exercise, we may identify the Parts that are currently active, the main Parts of our system, or choose a topic and identify Parts that come up around that specific topic or experience.

Parts mapping can be done as an individual exercise with a pen and paper or by an IFS therapy therapist/practitioner during a session. Read more about an IFS therapy session.

You can start with inviting Self energy evoking the 8C qualities: curiosity, creativity, compassion, calmness, courage, confidence, clarity, connectedness. And once you feel grounded in those qualities invite parts to manifest.

You may want to focus inside and invite Parts to appear in their preferred order relative to a specific question, listen until they have expressed everything they wanted you to know about them, see them walk away, and invite the next part.

Internal Family Systems parts map – 6F’s

With each part, you can go through the 6F’s.

Find the part – listen for a thought, feeling, gesture, energy, word and see if you can locate it in your body.

Focus – Focus on that specific element, the place in your body, and see what emerges.

Flesh it out – Notice how you feel the Part in your body. Are there any thoughts or emotions emerging? How far are you from that part? How old do you think it is?

Feel – How do you feel towards this part? Here you check for self-energy and the 8C’s.

Befriend – What would the Part like you to know? What is its role? What is its purpose? How old does it think you are? How old is it?

Fears – What is it afraid would happen if it stopped doing what it’s doing?
Each time you may note the answers until nothing more comes.

Then ask questions like “Are there parts concerned with this part? What would need to happen so they could trust you and trust each other?”

Whatever pattern you choose, IFS Parts mapping consists in identifying Parts and writing the information on a piece of paper. It can be a list of names. It may include the characteristics of each part. You may collect more information, like when and how the Part manifests, its name, age, its role, and intention.

Keeping this information as you work with the Parts and completing it with new information as Parts change can help you track your evolution on the IFS path. Read more about Parts work in IFS therapy.

Do you want to learn more about IFS therapy?
Get access to our free 3-day IFS Online Intro Course.

Founder of Life Architect
Michael Pasterski is founder of Life Architect, Planets and Foundation for Conscious Education He is also the author of the “Insight. Road to Mental Maturity” book and blog about psychology and personal development which are read by more than a million people a year. You will find English version of blog on Every day he works as a coach and personal development trainer.

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