Internal Family Systems

The Internal Family Systems Model (IFS), first developed by Richard C. Schwartz, is an integrative approach to individual psychotherapy that combines systems thinking with the view that mind is made up of separate subpersonalities, each with its own viewpoint and qualities. The focus of IFS therapy is to get to know each of these subpersonalities and understand how they work as a whole in order to better achieve healing. IFS can be used to treat individuals, couples, and families and it has been shown to be effective for treating a variety issues, including depression, anxiety, and panic. Think this approach might be right for you? Reach out to one of TherapyDen’s Internal Family Systems specialists today.

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As a therapist practicing Internal Family Systems (IFS) therapy, I guide clients through a compassionate exploration of their inner emotional parts. By fostering self-awareness and understanding, individuals can integrate conflicting emotions, promoting healing and a more harmonious relationship with themselves. In a safe and supportive space, I facilitate the process of navigating their internal family dynamics, leading to profound personal growth and lasting positive change.

— Rachel Ryan, Licensed Clinical Social Worker in Long Beach, CA

I have taken several trainings by top clinicians in the field and have integrated this approach into many of my sessions throughout my time as a counselor.

— Martin Avellaneda, Licensed Mental Health Counselor

Jordan finds that IFS pairs well with EMDR, psychedelic-assisted therapy, and treatment-resistant disorders as a way of normalizing clients' diverse inner experience and holding space for parts of self that may be hurting.

— Jordan Dobrowski, Licensed Clinical Social Worker in Chicago, IL

People naturally understand that they have different parts of their personality. Internal Family Systems builds on this way of understanding ourselves. When I integrate this model into my work, my clients are able to bring more compassion, courage, calm and creativity to themselves and others. This helps bring more satisfaction into their lives and relationships.

— Beth Levine, Clinical Social Worker in Rockville, MD

I utilize internal family systems as a framework for therapy. This is to get to know your inner child, inner critic, shadows, and other internal committee members. When we know our internal family, and can communicate with them, the internal world can live in more harmony.

— Chris Lombardo, Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor in Rio Rancho, NM

Working together in this very powerful model of psychotherapy, which brings a depth of self-awareness and self-compassion I have not seen in other models, you will be guided to recognize, accept, and unburden all parts of yourself and become the leader of your own internal system. I have completed a six-month-long, highly experiential Level 1 course from the IFS Institute, and continue to deepen my understanding and embodiment of the model through ongoing training and consultation.

— Daniel Fulton, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist in Oak Park, IL

Each individual contains multiple parts, each of which play an important role in the makeup of who someone is. Each part must be acknowledged, understood, and integrated into a person's whole and true self in order to heal.

— Kirsten Cannon, Counselor in Memphis, TN

We are made up of many parts that guide us, protect us, and walk along side us throughout our lives and relationships. Sometimes, these parts are loud while other important parts remain hidden, yet to be given an invitation to come out of the shadows and join us in our life journey. By engaging in inner child work, exploration of our parts, and promoting the Self, we can come closer to who we are, what we need, and how we access belonging in the intricacies of our internal and external world.

— Eden Baron-Williams, Marriage and Family Therapist Associate in Portland, OR

Sometimes part of you wants to do something, and part of you doesn't. It can feel like a battle in your head! You may feel frozen or indecisive. Additionally, it can lead to feeling like part of you "takes over" and leaves you feeling ashamed or upset that you didn't handle something the way you wanted to. We can get a better idea of what all parts of yourself want, and get them communicating kindly, so you feel integrated in your choices, and like you're acting in your own best interests.

— Colleen Hennessy, Licensed Professional Counselor in , CA

I have been through years of my own therapy in Internal Family Systems and am part of ongoing IFS supervision and consultation. I have been through Level 1 and Level 2 IFS training and am signed up for Level 3. I have been part of continuity programs that focus on somatic IFS, trauma and IFS, sexuality and IFS, addictions and eating disorders.

— Caroline Whisman-Blair, Licensed Clinical Social Worker in , CO

I've received additional training on IFS and found this to be quite a powerful intervention for most individuals.

— Christina LaBond, Licensed Clinical Social Worker

IFS is a transformative, evidence-based model of psychotherapy that creates an inner dialogue between a person's core Self - the part in each of us that carries our wisdom, self-compassion and knowing - and the many protective "parts" a person develops over a lifetime. Some parts carry painful beliefs, emotions, thoughts, sensations and memories that may be negatively impacting us in our current lives. IFS builds a compassionate relationship between these parts and the Self.

— Jennifer Bearden, Licensed Clinical Social Worker

Using IFS therapy, I aim to help my clients to get to know and negotiate with the different parts that constitute their whole self, and achieve an understanding of the ways in which they can best interact.

— Isha Kumar, Licensed Mental Health Counselor in New York, NY

All of us have experiences where a part of us wants one thing while another part of us wants another. One part of us wants to devour the snacks while another says we need to watch our weight. Internal Family Systems (IFS) gives language to these common experiences and teaches us how to recognize and reconcile quarreling parts within us. It allows us to transform parts of us that enact harmful patterns into the best version of them(our)selves.

— Phillip Coulson, Therapist in Seattle, WA

Internal Family Systems (IFS) is a type of therapy that sees our minds like a family with different parts. Some parts are like protectors, some hold our painful memories, and others try to manage our emotions. The goal is to understand these parts, be kind to ourselves, and let our inner "wise" part guide healing. IFS helps with issues like stress, anxiety, and past hurts by making our inner world more balanced and harmonious.

— Chris Lombardo, Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor in Rio Rancho, NM

Internal Family Systems (IFS) is a method of therapy that helps you develop deep self-understanding and develop compassion for all aspects of who you are by learning about the different "parts" of yourself and their origins. IFS helps you understand your reactions and thought patterns more deeply so that you can develop self-trust and be most fully who you are, along with moving past symptoms, difficult emotions, and relationship difficulties.

— Maggie Dungan, Marriage & Family Therapist in Fort Collins, CO

This approach is a creative deep dive into the often conflicting internal dialogues we all hold inside. Ever felt one particular way but also pulled in another direction? Ever wanted to work on building healthy connection to a person but anger and resentment seem to be driving the interactions? This approach engages directly the tensions that pull us apart and cultivates a deep centeredness in what we call "self" energy - the wise healing intelligence already within you.

— Leigh Shaw, Licensed Clinical Social Worker in Tacoma, WA

I am not certified; but, I have lots of education into IFS and use it frequently with patients to work, address and diffuse ego state/ defenses, and attachment wounds.

— Lauren O, Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor in Cincinnati, OH

I primarily work from an Internal Family Systems orientation. I am level 1 trained in IFS through the IFS Institute. IFS is an evidence-based practice that can be used for pretty much any type of issue, but it is especially useful for working through trauma. Using IFS, I can guide the process but my clients really lead us in whichever direction they need. IFS explains people in terms of "parts" rather than being single-minded, which tracks for people with religious trauma and eating disorders.

— Brian Jones, Licensed Mental Health Counselor in Seattle, WA