What to Expect in an IFS Session

Lizbeth @ Multiple Mind
3 min readMay 15, 2023

Come as you are. You don’t have to prepare. I will ask questions to help you access issues that are bothering you. I know how to work with blocks when those issues are daunting to explore or even feel.

Every session is different, of course. There is no such thing as a typical session because it really depends on what parts are present in the client.

Sometimes, clients have a pressing issue demanding their attention. Often, they can’t help but blend with it, and then desperately look for strategies to solve the problem. They may never have experienced an alternative.

We can use techniques and tools to help parts unblend so the client can be with the part and understand it, rather than be overwhelmed by it.

Sometimes, clients are blocked by distractions or dissociation. Dissociating parts may keep us from being present with other parts especially if the pain is too much. I can hear their concerns about parts flooding the system with pain. I know tools and techniques to manage the emotional pain.

These blocks serve to protect us. By hearing protectors’ fears and concerns, we can reassure them so that they are willing to let us access other parts. Or we can be present with blocks and find out if there are deep issues caused by vulnerability with emotional pain.

An IFS session can often feel like meditation. There is more quiet than traditional talk therapy because in IFS, a client goes inwards and listens to their parts. Sometimes, just quietening the cacophony can be a relief as clients experience a way of dealing with all of that inner noise.

I help clients build relationships between their parts and their Self. I identify the different parts so they have a better understanding of how their inner system works. We might unburden protectors and exiles, and then there will be a huge shift as their inner system falls into more harmony.

Sometimes, when I have attended traditional therapy modalities as a client, I have felt I need to do something, have an issue, be prepared to talk about it, guide the conversation, and somehow help the therapist.

I once had a client who turned up for an IFS session with what he thought was pretty much nothing. Certainly not enough to pay for. Surely he had to bring something to talk about. But he decided to show up anyway. When he gave himself the time and space to inquire what was going on inside, he found that he was weary of life and how his life had turned out. He felt alone, lonely, and overwhelmed by the exhaustion of living in his current environment with the whims of traumatized people in positions of power, often unconsciously dictating the details of his life.

I was present with the different parts in him that came up. He was able to quieten the cacophony, set the distractions aside, and experience self-compassion for being in pain. His parts experienced his Self-energy and mine, and this opened him to healing and finding ways to move forward mindfully.

All you have to do is come as you are, and I can help you be present with what is going on inside.

Image: lovebymilov.com

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Lizbeth @ Multiple Mind

Certified Internal Family Systems practitioner, educator, conflict mediator, laughter-yoga leader. I blog about the multiple mind, applying IFS therapy to life.