Study shows IFS helps with internet addiction

22 May 2023

In a study published online on 21 Mar 2023 (Mehrad Sadr et al., 2023), an Iranian researcher and his supervisors found through a mixed methods study involving 35 participants assigned randomly to a test or control group that a therapy programme based on the internal family systems (IFS) therapy approach is "valid and reduces Internet addiction symptoms". 

The participant cohort encompassed people aged 18 to 58, with an average age of 29, who were addicted to "social networks" like Whatsapp, Telegram and Instagram in Iran. Those in the test group showed a statistically significant reduction in internet addiction symptoms compared to the control group. Comparisons were carried out pre- and post-test, and two months after the completion of the therapy programme. 

According to the researcher, the reduction of addiction symptons in the IFS-based therapy programme was through working on the underlying emotions of vulnerable or exiled parts, such as the shame and worthlessness exiled parts often feel. The researcher also pointed out that the therapy can be used to treat not just internet addiction in adults but modified for "other behavioural and substance addictions".

The visuals below, created by the IFS Institute, provide an infographic on the study. 

This study joins a growing evidence base for IFS therapy, which works in a gradual and gentle way to bring one's Self presence to the protective and vulnerable parts. In building a relationship with the protective parts, the client often starts experiencing micro shifts of having more choice in their actions or feeling a slight easing of the inner tensions or stuckness. 

When the client eventually starts building relationships with the vulnerable parts or exiles, the protective parts would have been consulted and given their permission, and the client can safely be there for their own exiles and relieve their pain, be it of shame, worthlessness, abandonment, neglect or in other areas. 

To receive IFS therapy, you could reach out to Hope and Heart Counselling to find out more. 


Mehrad Sadr, M., Borjali, A., Eskandary, H., & Delavar, A. (2023). Design and validation of a therapy program based on the internal family systems model and its efficacy on internet addiction. Journal of Psychological Science, 22(121), 19–35.

#internalfamilysystemstherapy  #IFStherapy  #partswork  #helpwithaddiction  #helpwithshame