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

— Coty Nolin, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist in Denver, CO

IFS welcomes all of you into the room. Your scared parts. Your bold parts. Your hedonistic, critical, joyful, depressed, shut down, sad parts. We are all complex humans. We have internal conflicts, coping strategies we’ve outgrown, deep hurts we’re carrying. As an IFS therapist, I support you in learning to embrace your whole being. As you connect deeply to your inner landscape, you will find more compassion, acceptance, and understanding for yourself.

— Augustin Kendall, Counselor in Minneapolis, MN

Have you ever been trying to make a decision where one "part" of you thought something completely different than another "part" of you? As an IFS-informed therapist, I guide clients in this gentle, non-pathologizing approach to understanding internal parts. This is just one of the self-discovery tools in my toolbox that helps develop self-compassion and heal shame.

— Julia Markovitz, Marriage & Family Therapist in Philadelphia, PA

I have been using IFS with myself and my clients for 5 years. I have completed both level 1 and level 2 trainings through the IFS Institute and have taken ongoing training with Institute lead trainers on working with self-criticism and polarities, self-led activism and somatic IFS. I work with my clients on getting to know parts of themselves, listening to internal needs and building internal connection and confidence.

— Ashley Thompson, Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor in San Francisco, CA

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

IFS therapy is based on the understanding that our psyche is made up of various “parts,” each with its own perspectives, emotions, and roles. These parts often develop in response to our life experiences and can sometimes be in conflict with one another. At the core of IFS is the belief that we all have a Self—a centered, compassionate inner leader capable of healing and harmonizing our parts.

— Samuel Irvine, Psychotherapist in Chicago, IL

I am newer to IFS, however parts work is incredibly useful for those who have experienced traumatic events, depression, anxiety, and a host of other struggles.

— Sarah Reijnen, Associate Marriage & Family Therapist in Bellingham, WA

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

Internal Family Systems (IFS) is a highly effective therapeutic approach. With its transformative framework, IFS helps individuals explore their inner world, understand different parts of themselves, and cultivate self-compassion. By developing a compassionate relationship with these parts, healing and integration occur, leading to lasting change and personal growth. IFS empowers individuals to navigate challenges, heal wounds, and discover their innate resilience, resulting in greater well-bein

— Rachelle Miller, Licensed Clinical Social Worker in Spokane Valley, WA

Internal Family Systems works to unveil the systems within your own self that have been developed over the years. This is often confused with involving other individuals in your own therapy. This is completely and totally about you and the "family" you have within your own being. We can use this as a way to help us understand the parts of you that are wounded and need additional support.

— Martha Higgins, Licensed Clinical Social Worker

I am trained in IFS and see humans as beautiful multi-faceted beings with different parts walking through life with them. I help you uncover the parts that manage and protect you, the loud parts, the quiet parts, the exiled parts, and underneath your True Self. Doing inner child work can feel scary. I provide you with a safe space to uncover your parts, learn how they show up for you, and how you can nurture and reparent them to help bring you closer to your True Self.

— Toni Richter, Licensed Clinical Social Worker in Saint Louis, MO

As an IFS-trained therapist, frightening and extreme behaviors are compassionately understood as sincere attempts to help restore balance and calm within ourselves. As a non-pathologizing approach to psychotherapy and understanding behavior, we can acknowledge and validate the parts of ourselves that desperately try to help soothe us, without degrading, criticizing, or invalidation . We can also safely help unburden our wounded parts that hold pain and keep us stuck in ineffectual patterns.

— Cameron Lewis, Licensed Clinical Mental Health Counselor in Redmond, WA

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. She has trained with the IFS Online Circle and engages in weekly consultation using an IFS perspective.

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

Internal family systems is a theory of personality that we are all composed of different "parts" of ourselves instead of one unified personality. This modality resonates with me after years of hearing clients naturally say "well part of me thought 'X' and part of me thought 'Y.'" IFS is an intuitive form of self healing that helps clients expand their self compassion and self awareness.

— Kate Breslin, Clinical Social Worker in Denver, CO

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.

— Self-Care Simplified, Clinical Psychologist in Atlanta, GA

Internal Family Systems (IFS) is my primary treatment modality for individuals. 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.

— Self-Care Simplified, Clinical Psychologist in Atlanta, GA