Internal Family Systems Therapist / Practitioner
If you are considering IFS therapy you will inevitably be faced with the question of where to find an Internal Family Systems therapist or practitioner, and how to choose a therapist that will support you best.
Internal Family Systems therapist – how to find a good one?
The Internal Family System Institute (IFSI) as well as individual national IFS organizations keep a register of IFS trained practitioners and therapists grouped by education level. You can find contact details there.
You might choose a few persons from the list, contact them and ask what kind of educational background they have. (Keeping in mind that holding a degree in psychology or being qualified as the therapist does not guarantee higher quality IFS sessions). You may want to know if they use regular supervision if they themselves are in the process of IFS therapy and if they use pure IFS or combine it with other methods.
You may want to take a few appointments and have a few introductory meetings to see how you and your Parts feel in the presence of a particular therapist or practitioner. Ultimately it is important for you and all your Parts to feel supported, and safe enough to dive inside. You have no reason to trust the therapist. It is the therapists’ job to earn your trust.
The Internal Family Systems therapist or practitioners’ role is to lend their Self energy and help you unblend when one of your parts is strongly activated and is overwhelming. The therapist/practitioner is there to help you welcome all the parts and give you hope along the way, so you can unburden your Parts and allow them to choose their preferred strategy to support your system under the leadership of Self. Read more about an IFS therapy session.
Internal Family Systems therapist – 5P
The supportive traits of the therapist are summarized as “5P”: presence, patience, persistence, playfulness, and perspective.
And there is the 8C of Self energy calm, clarity, compassion, connectedness, curiosity, courage, confidence, creativity. Both 5P and 8C are important indicators of a good therapist. You will notice that Self energy is contagious.
Transparency is important. The Internal Family Systems therapist/practitioner is a human being hence they have Parts that can become activated. Activation is not an issue, but it is important for the therapist to be able to recognize and voice it and allow themselves to pause to come back to Self energy.
I would look for accepting presence, curiosity, and a beginner’s mind.
Do you want to learn more about IFS therapy?
Get access to our free 3-day IFS Online Intro Course.