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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What I like about IFS is that it's very intuitive. As we go through life, difficult experiences can lead us to create defense mechanisms that we put in place to protect ourselves from feeling vulnerable. Although those protective parts are necessary and helpful to our survival, sometimes they can go on overdrive and overtake our entire being. IFS can ease those protective parts so that we can feel more connected to our pre-traumatized selves and learn to once again, live a full & balance life

— Sayuri (Julie) Heinl, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist in Arlington, VA

I have completed training in Internal Family systems and find it is complementary to somatic work.

— Jessica Dyer, Licensed Clinical Social Worker in Oakland, CA

We each have experienced a unique journey in life and our relationships. As part of that journey, we develop strategies and adapt to situations to protect ourselves and others. As we grow, these adaptations may not longer serve us. As part of therapy, we'll examine the different coping strategies that may have once helped, but now stand in your way at times. Tension and conflict between inner parts of self may need resolving, leading to greater self-love and acceptance.

— Stacey Wright, Psychotherapist in Tucker, GA

IFS is learning about the different Parts within us and how they work to protect us while also maximizing how they can work together harmoniously to heal us. The modality is helpful for trauma, anxiety and depression.

— Regina Guzman, Licensed Clinical Social Worker in Rancho Cucamonga, CA

I have used IFS to treat a wide variety of mental health conditions and psychological wounds. I've applied it in relationship and individual counseling.

— Jules Allison, Professional Counselor Associate in Portland, OR

We are all made up of different parts that contain valuable qualities and we all have an inner Self that knows how to heal, allowing us to become integrated and whole. Together, we can get to know these different parts, hear their stories, and release their burdens all while establishing more trust in the Self allowing you to feel more integrated and whole.

— Lindsay Anderson, Licensed Professional Counselor Intern in Portland, OR

Advanced training in Internal Family Systems through the Center for Self Leadership and PESI.

— Janel Morey-Sassano, Psychotherapist in O'Fallon, IL

Aligning the parts of ourselves with loving, compassion, and acceptance of self.

— Denae Arnold, Licensed Professional Counselor in Wheatridge, CO

Everyone has lots of different parts that come up every day. Angry parts, scared parts, critical parts, procrastinator parts, people-pleasing parts, and funny parts are a few common examples. Together we can explore how these parts got to be the way they are and why they do what they do. The reason why these parts do what they do is often not what we initially thought! IFS comes with the understanding that all parts have good intentions. I am Level 1 IFS trained from the IFS Institute.

— Sammy Kirk, Licensed Clinical Social Worker

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

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

Internal Family Systems Therapy posits that your mind is multiple by design - that you have different aspects of your personality that arise at different moments and that you have various parts that help you move through the world. These parts often hold emotional pain, negative beliefs about yourself or the world, and the key to understanding your behavior. When we connect and build trusting, compassionate relationships with parts, you feel deeper clarity and more control in your life.

— Summer Forlenza, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist in , CA

I'm very grateful that Dr. Richard Schwartz came along and hugely upgraded the "inner child work" that many of us had been doing for decades. IFS tools allow us to work with immediacy to address what's happening and provide relief.

— Christine Bates, Licensed Professional Counselor in Oxford, MS

Most of my work with individuals and couples is centered around IFS in both my private practice and through my work with marital conflict at The Relationship Institute.

— Leticia Berg, Psychotherapist in Ann Arbor, MI

Internal Family Systems or IFS is a unique form of therapy that focuses on your internal “world” and how you interact with the different facets of yourself. It can be a helpful model to better understand patterns that you find yourself in and how to change your inner landscape. I have completed Level 1 training through the IFS institute as well as continue with ongoing supervision, practice and continuing education. IFS is a wonderful therapy treatment to heal from the inside out.

— Kristin Tand, Licensed Professional Counselor in Portland, OR

I use the book Self Therapy as a companion guide for working with clients in IFS sessions.

— Colleen Steppa, Therapist in Phoenix, AZ

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

I completed level 1 training for Internal Family Systems in 2016, and can utilize this modality to inform treatment, or by providing treatment in accordance with the IFS model. This method of therapy names strong emotions & memories as parts. Treatment involves getting all of the parts to talk with each other, without judgment of a part as 'good' or 'bad'.

— Lauren Millerd, Licensed Clinical Social Worker in , CT