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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IFS composts much of what we've been told about who we are and what we know about healing. IFS insists that your inner world is complex; that there is literally an internal family system within you. You have parts who want to protect you from harm and parts who have been harmed who they intensely protect. You also have a Self, an energy of calm interconnectedness.

— Ashley Gregory, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist in ,

One way of thinking about IFS is any time you’ve said, “Part of me wants to go to a party this weekend, but part of me wants to catch up on some sleep.” In IFS, this is a normal expression of the different motivating aspects of your being that drive internal conflict. In other words, the part of you that wants to go to the party is in conflict with the part that wants to catch up on sleep. If this example seems simplistic, you’re right. IFS is applicable to a broad range of concerns.

— Evan Powers, Mental Health Counselor in Loveland, CO

Sometimes it feels like we have many conflicting parts of our internal world. This can lead to feeling a lot of confusion and self doubt. Using Internal Family Systems, I can help you untangle what may feel like a jumbled mess in your mind so that you can get to know your true Self and all the “parts” of yourself, especially the protective parts of you that can sometimes get in the way of your goals.

— Taylor Kravitz, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist 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 am an Internal Family Systems (IFS) therapist with training through the IFS institute. We all have parts of us that feel angry, hurt, sad, critical, scared, etc. These parts sometimes cause us to react rather than respond to life. Developing a relationship with these different aspects of ourselves can help to balance our lives to increase the self energy used to navigate life.

— Evonne Jenkins, Licensed Clinical Social Worker in Charlotte, NC

I am trained in IFS and find this to be a wonderful tool for my clients to learn to have self-compassion. I have attended intensive trainings and engage in IFS in my own personal therapy.

— Dr. Nikki Blakesley, Clinical Psychologist in Colorado Springs, CO

Have you ever told someone "One part of me wants this, but the other part..." We all have different "parts" within us. One part of us craves change, while another part fights it to feel safe. One part wants us to be self-critical, before others can, while another part of us wants to hold self-compassion. Sometimes it can be a little hard to hold these all. I love to hear each of these parts out, and help you become more fully and genuinely you without crushing or dismissing parts of who you are.

— Emily Chavez-Nguyen, Professional Counselor Associate in Portland, OR

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

Sometimes we repeat patterns or behaviors that we don't like, that don't seem to make sense. Whether it's emotional eating, perfectionism or overwork, the struggle feels intractable. We may feel conflicted, like part of us wants to do one thing or be a certain way, while another part of us wants to go the opposite direction. IFS offers a framework for understanding these inner conflicts, and support a return to harmony within that honors the wisdom of your True Self.

— Kim Torrence, Licensed Clinical Social Worker in Rockville, MD

IFS is an evidence-based type of therapy that believes the mind is naturally multiple and that is a good thing. Our parts are the unique parts of our personality. This system also believes that each of us has a core self that knows how to heal, knows what we need, and is compassionate, loving, confident, and creative. In IFS, these parts of our personality take on the role of protector when bad things happen. Healing involves reconnecting parts with our core self allowing our parts to relax.

— Tara Beardsley, Licensed Clinical Mental Health Counselor in Asheville, NC

IFS was developed by Richard Schwartz PhD in the early 1990s and has since been listed in the National Registry for Evidence-Based Programs and Practices. In the model’s name, Internal Family Systems, lies the belief that we all have a psychological system made up of a constellation of parts (or family members) that are in need of reconciliation. We approach the following topics from an IFS framework: Chronic Stress, trauma, anxiety, depression, anger issues, self-esteem, grief.

— IFS Telehealth Collective, Therapist in New York, NY

I use internal family systems to help clients explore different "parts" of themselves, this is a compassionate, healing process.

— Coty Nolin, Sex Therapist in Denver, CO

Becoming certified in IFS has become a really challenging endeavor. Fortunately, I have found many wonderful opportunities for training and experience. I have my own IFS Level 3 therapist and am working peer to peer with a long time LCSW. I currently use IFS with all my clients who are willing. Hands down it is the most amazingly magically fantastic way to heal trauma from current life experiences and intergenerational trauma.

— Sabrina Hanan, Licensed Clinical Mental Health Counselor Associate in Bozeman, MT

Internal Family Systems (IFS) is my primary treatment modality. I help clients recognize internal conflicts that are keeping them paralyzed and holding them back from healing. IFS helps me identify root cause issues that can persist for years and through this identification, clients can learn to self-soothe and move forward.

— Catherine Reynolds, Clinical Psychologist in Atlanta, GA

Internal Family Systems is a framework for speaking to the range of your complex experiences that exist in your life. In session we will use parts language to begin to get to know 'the family' that exists in your internal world. In my experience, letting the different parts of your experience speak leads to greater acceptance of past events and present circumstance, increased sense of efficacy in work and relationships, and greater joy in one's experience of one's own life.

— Andrew Fontana, Licensed Clinical Mental Health Counselor Associate in Seattle, WA

Internal family systems, or IFS, is a transformative type of therapy that believes we are all made up of several parts or sub-personalities, some of which are wounded. These wounded parts can carry painful emotions such as anger and shame. The goal of IFS therapy is to restore balance and harmony within the internal system by healing the wounded parts and learn to manage inner conflict in healthier ways.

— Carmen F Juneidi, Licensed Clinical Social Worker in Chicago, IL

IFS views multiplicity of mind as normal. You have different parts and so does your partner. You also have Self, an inner wisdom. Partners' parts meeting adds to the complexity of inner emotions, desires and vulnerability, all of which need to be tapped into in order to facilitate deep connectedness. It is important to address the parts that are triggered by their issues. Those parts are trying to protect us from hurt and trauma. The angry part of you can turn into a resource for change.

— Adela Stone, Associate Marriage & Family Therapist in San Jose, CA