IFS Treatment Plan

Download Carepatron's free PDF example of an Internal Family Systems (IFS) treatment plan. Learn how to create a comprehensive treatment plan using IFS therapy techniques.

By Wynona Jugueta on May 15, 2024.

Fact Checked by Ericka Pingol.

Use Template

What is Internal Family Systems (IFS)?

Internal Family Systems (IFS) is an innovative psychotherapeutic model introduced by Dr. Richard Schwartz during the 1980s. This approach conceptualizes the mind as an assortment of distinct subpersonalities or "parts," each with its perspectives, emotions, and behavioral patterns. These parts are typically organized into different categories: managers, firefighters, and exiles, reflecting their functions or roles within the psyche.

At the heart of the IFS model is the understanding that these parts form adaptive responses to life's adversities, shielding the individual from psychological pain and trauma. Nevertheless, these adaptive strategies may evolve into counterproductive patterns, sparking internal turmoil and emotional suffering.

In the IFS therapeutic process, individuals are encouraged to approach their internal parts with curiosity and empathy. During this introspective journey, they develop self-awareness and learn to navigate their inner landscape compassionately, promoting internal cohesion and psychological well-being.

The pivotal concept within IFS is the "Self," regarded as the individual's intrinsic, undisturbed self-energy or core. The therapeutic goal of IFS is to enable the individual to access this Self and lead from this grounded, cohesive state rather than being hijacked by extreme or distressed parts.

Renowned for its versatility, IFS has been applied successfully across various psychological issues, such as anxiety, depression, trauma, and interpersonal conflicts. It champions a non-stigmatizing perspective, encouraging individuals to embrace self-leadership and embark on a transformative path toward inner peace and self-reconciliation.

Printable IFS Treatment Plan

Download this IFS Treatment Plan

Categories of self in IFS

The IFS model, developed by Richard Schwartz, posits that the mind comprises multiple internal parts, each with distinct roles, perspectives, and characteristics. At the core of IFS is the concept of the Self, which is viewed as the essence of an individual's being and is characterized by compassion, curiosity, calmness, and clarity. Understanding the different categories of Self is crucial for healthcare professionals to apply IFS principles in therapy effectively.

The true self (or core self):

The True Self is the central concept in IFS, representing an individual's inherent wisdom and healing capacity. It is not a part but rather the person's core or essence. The True Self is marked by the "8 Cs":

  • Compassion
  • Curiosity
  • Calmness
  • Clarity
  • Confidence
  • Courage
  • Creativity
  • Connectedness

In therapy, guiding clients to access and operate from their True Self allows them to engage with their internal parts in a more non-judgmental healing process.

The exiled parts

Exiled parts carry painful emotions and memories from past experiences, often from childhood. Other parts typically hide or suppress them to protect the individual from pain. However, in increasingly extreme terms, when exiled parts are triggered, they can cause intense emotional reactions.

IFS therapy aims to help the True Self form compassionate connections with these exiled parts, understand their pain-healing trauma, and eventually heal them, thus transforming their roles within the system.

The manager parts

Manager parts attempt to maintain control of the individual's internal system and protect the exiled parts from being exposed. They are responsible for proactive protective strategies and often manifest as perfectionism, pleasing behaviors, or hyper-vigilance. Managers are concerned with maintaining normalcy and stability.

In therapy, the aim is to help clients recognize these parts, understand their protective intentions, and foster a collaborative therapeutic relationship between them and the True Self.

The firefighter parts

Firefighter parts react when an exiled part becomes activated, often engaging in impulsive or destructive behaviors to extinguish emotional pain or distract the individual. These parts might lead to substance abuse, self-harm, or other risky behaviors. The therapeutic process involves helping clients become aware of their firefighters, understanding the urgency behind their actions, and finding healthier ways for these parts to fulfill their protective roles.

The 6Fs: Distinguishing protective parts from the self in IFS

In the context of IFS therapy, distinguishing between protective parts and the core Self is pivotal for therapeutic progress and self-understanding. The 6Fs framework provides a structured approach to identify and differentiate these aspects of the psyche, facilitating a deeper connection with the Self. Here's a breakdown of the 6Fs:

  1. Find: The first step involves identifying and acknowledging the presence of different parts. Clients are encouraged to notice and observe their thoughts, feelings, and behaviors to recognize which emanate from protective parts and which are expressions of the Self.
  2. Focus: Once a part is identified, the next step is to focus on it with curiosity and without judgment. This involves paying close attention to the part's perspective, emotions, and underlying intentions, fostering a deeper understanding of its role within the internal system.
  3. Flesh out: In this phase, clients work to understand the part in more detail, exploring its history, role, and relationship to other parts. This exploration helps to clarify the part's protective function and the specific ways it has been trying to help, even if its methods are no longer effective or are causing distress.
  4. Feel toward: Developing a compassionate attitude toward the part is crucial. This step encourages clients to cultivate empathy and appreciation for the part's efforts to protect and its place within the system, even if its actions are problematic.
  5. Friend: The goal is to build a relationship between the Self and the protective part. By befriending the part, clients learn to interact with it respectfully and caring, acknowledging its contributions and importance while guiding it toward more adaptive behaviors.
  6. Fear less: As clients develop a better understanding and relationship with their protective parts, they become less controlled by fear and reactivity. This final step involves integrating the newfound knowledge and relationship into everyday life, allowing clients to respond to situations with more awareness and less automaticity from protective parts.

By systematically working through uncomfortable emotions through these steps, individuals can learn to identify and differentiate the Self from protective parts, leading to greater self-awareness, inner harmony, and personal growth. This process enhances the therapeutic journey and empowers individuals to navigate life's challenges with increased resilience and self-compassion.

How to use our IFS Treatment Plan template

This downloadable template equips healthcare professionals with a structured approach to incorporating IFS principles into their practice. Whether guiding clients on a personal growth journey or through therapy, this guide provides a roadmap for navigating the client's internal family system.

Step 1: Client information

Begin by gathering basic client information in the designated sections, including name, date of birth, and contact details.

Step 2: Presenting issues and assessment

Assist the client in outlining the difficulties or areas they hope to address with IFS therapy in the "Presenting Issues" section. After that, include your assessments in light of the issues the client is currently experiencing.

Step 3: Treatment goals and IFS integration

Set short and long-term treatment objectives based on your assessment. Then, proceed to the template's core: "Internal Family System Parts." Here, assist the client in identifying and exploring the components of their internal system, categorizing them according to their role (e.g., Manager, Protector, Exile).

Examine each part's characteristics, such as emotions, beliefs, and associated behaviors. There's also room to explore the part's desires and needs, which will help you understand its underlying motivations.

Step 4: Strategies, progress monitoring, and plan updates

Create intervention strategies to carry out the treatment evidence based approach using goals and information from the IFS components. Then, proceed to the "Progress Monitoring" section to track the client's progress throughout IFS therapy. As therapy progresses, use the "Plan Updates" section to record any changes to the treatment plan based on the client's progress and changing needs.

Step 5: Client consent and agreement

Make sure the client completes the consent and agreement section. Once completed, fill out the endorsement section.

By following these steps and utilizing the various sections of the IFS Treatment Plan template, you can guide clients in effectively exploring their internal world, fostering self-compassion, and achieving their therapeutic goals.

IFS Treatment Plan example (sample)

This downloadable IFS Treatment Plan Template from Carepatron empowers individuals and mental health professionals. Whether on a personal growth journey or in therapy, the template guides you through exploring your internal world using IFS principles.

Structured sections help you identify your "inner family" – the different parts influencing your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. You'll also learn to connect with your core Self, characterized by compassion and authenticity. Prompts and exercises throughout the template facilitate self-discovery and empower you to take charge of your healing journey.

Download this free IFS Treatment Plan example here:

IFS Treatment Plan example (sample)

Why use Carepatron as your therapy software?

Unleash the full potential of your therapeutic practice with Carepatron's comprehensive therapy software suite. Designed for both therapists and clients, Carepatron streamlines administrative tasks, enhances communication, and empowers a more collaborative healing journey.

Therapists can leverage features like appointment scheduling, automated billing, and secure messaging, freeing valuable time to focus on client care. Clients benefit from a user-friendly patient portal for appointment management, secure communication with their therapist, and access to helpful resources – all in one place. Carepatron even offers a secure telehealth platform for convenient and flexible video sessions, making therapy more accessible.

Experience the difference Carepatron can make in your practice. Sign up for a free trial today and see how we can empower your therapeutic journey!

therapy software
What are the core principles of the Internal Family Systems Model (IFS)?
What are the core principles of the Internal Family Systems Model (IFS)?

Commonly asked questions

What are the core principles of the Internal Family Systems Model (IFS)?

The core principles of the Internal Family Systems (IFS) model include the concept of diversity of mind, the belief in the existence of inner parts and a core Self, and the understanding that all parts have positive intentions.

What are the goals of the IFS treatment plan?

The goals of an IFS treatment plan include promoting self-awareness, healing past traumas, integrating and harmonizing internal parts, and fostering connection with the core Self.

Who can benefit from Internal Family Systems therapy?

Individuals struggling with a range of mental health concerns, relationship issues, trauma, mental health conditions, and personal growth challenges can benefit from Internal Family Systems therapy. It suits people of all ages and backgrounds seeking greater self-understanding and emotional healing.

Join 10,000+ teams using Carepatron to be more productive

One app for all your healthcare work