SUBSCALES

The IFS SCALE has 10 subscales, derived by means of factor analysis (n = 1174):

 

SELF:

This scale reflects the degree of access that the individual currently has to the IFS concept of “Self” (compared to others in this relatively high-trauma population).  A factor analysis supported the IFS theoretical concept of Self, i.e., that Self is a separate dimension, not simply an absence of Parts nor a reversal of the Parts dimension.  Two dimensions of Self were revealed.  The first factor (Self-Qualities) contained items relating to the experience of being “in Self,” i.e., feeling calm, balanced, worthy, connected, confident, joyful, peaceful, etc.  The second factor (Self-Leadership) contained items relating to the ability to bring oneself back to balance when one has been hurt or stressed, i.e., the ability to resolve inner conflicts, to remain calm under pressure, to self-soothe, etc.  (a = .93; item to total correlations: .70 to .80)

 

EXILES:

These are the Parts that are feeling fragile, helpless, hurt, sad, hopeless, scared, in pain, powerless, alone, worthless, etc.  These are the most commonly found sorts of Exiles in a traumatized system.  It must be kept in mind, however, that any Part (strong, independent, artistic, angry, etc.) may be exiled if it is shamed, frightened, or devalued by the familial or cultural context. (a = .96; item-to-total correlations: .79 to .87)

 

ADDICTIVE/IMPULSIVE:

This subscale reflects Parts (usually Firefighters) that use various kinds of addictive strategies (such as alcohol, drugs, sex, spending, impulsive behaviors, stealing, eating, etc.) to distract from or numb out the Exiles. Feelings of being out of control are common. (a = .83; item-to-total correlations: .56 to .71)

 

ANXIOUS/PESSIMISTIC:

These are the Managerial Parts that are always “on guard.”  They keep other people at a distance, have a hard time trusting, are uncomfortable with intense emotions, and won’t allow themselves to hope (due to fears of being disappointed).  It is extremely important for a clinician to gain the trust of these Parts in order to be able to progress in the work. (a = .89; item-to-total correlations: .60 to .76)

 

DISSOCIATING:

These are the Parts (Managers and Firefighters) that protect the system by disconnecting from thoughts, feelings, the body, and from threatening situations (which obviously may include therapy).  This includes a wide range of behaviors, including foggy thinking, “zoning out” or “disappearing” oneself, and experiencing oneself outside one’s body. (a = .86; item-to-total correlations: .57 to .79)

 

PLEASING/ABANDONED:

These are the Parts (usually Managers) that focus on anticipating what other people want.  They are anxious to please, and anxious about being criticized, rejected, or abandoned. (a = .89; item-to-total correlations: .59 to .78)

 

SELF-CRITICAL:

These are the internal voices that criticize the individual, that “beat her up,” that say she could have done better, etc.  They are often protecting Exiles that feel unworthy. (a = .87; item-to-total correlations: .51 to .76)

 

SELF-HARMING:

*Please note: any individual with a Self-harming (SH) score over 5 should be carefully assessed for self-harming behaviors, including suicidality.  These Parts can be either Managers or Firefighters.  The Firefighters may use self-harming (e.g., cutting or head-banging) in order to distract from the pain that the Exiles are holding.  The Managers may use the possibility of suicide as a “last line of defense” in order to protect the individual from pain if it is perceived that there no other way out.  It is essential for the clinician to honor these Parts, to understand their protective role, to negotiate with them, and to give them hope that there is a better way to be safe from the pain. (a = .93; item-to-total correlations: .77 to .87)

 

RAGING:

These Parts feel irritable and angry.  Raging Managers attempt to control others with their irritability or the threat of rage.  Raging Firefighters flare into rage when threatened, frustrated, or hurt. (a = .84; item-to-total correlations: .63 to .73)

 

TOTAL PARTS:

This scale sums the totals of all eight Parts subscales, and gives a general indication of how strongly the internal system is dominated by Parts, compared to others in this relatively high-trauma population. (a = .98; item-to-total correlations: .44 to .85)