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.

Need help finding the right therapist?
Find Your Match

Meet the specialists


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

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

My work is informed by Internal Family Systems. This means that I'll help you with exploring the different parts of yourself & how they all work together to both serve you and potentially keep you from your overall goals. I aim to help you have compassion and understanding towards the parts of yourself, while building up your ability to live from your most authentic Self.

— Lindsay Moldovan, Associate Marriage & Family Therapist in Portland, OR

In 2017, I received my Level 1 certificate after studying with Dr. Richard Schwartz, Dr. Martha Sweezy, and Nancy Sowell, LICSW.

— Katy (Kathryn) Allen, Licensed Clinical Social Worker in Cambridge, MA

I find that incorporating IFS or "parts work" into the EMDR preparation to be incredibly helpful.

— Charlotte Jarvis, Licensed Clinical Mental Health Counselor Associate

IFS essentially views all aspects of the person as a "part" of the whole self. So when we have aspects we don't like about ourselves, we are asking what "part" is this and what is its job (a lot of times it's trying to protect us). When we are kind to these parts of us, we can normally figure out better ways for this part to do its job.

— Erin Wrape-Cabe, Therapist in Franklin, TN

We are all made up of different parts that contain valuable qualities and we all have an inner Self that knows how to heal. 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. I have completed my Level 1 IFS Training through the IFS Institute.

— Lindsay Anderson, Professional Counselor Associate in , OR

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

Imagine the movie by pixar "Inside Out," this is IFS. We all have different parts inside of us that are doing battle to see which one will lead. This type of therapy helps us regulate our system and feel more in control of our parts and in turn feel more balanced and at peace. IFS was developed by psychologist Richard Schwartz. In his work as a family therapist, Schwartz began to observe patterns in how people described their inner lives:

— Melissa Frick, Licensed Professional Counselor in Longmont, CO

I am an internal family systems informed therapist and have been using the IFS modality to assist clients with many issues including anxiety, depression, and impacts of trauma.

— Lacey Buckingham, Licensed Professional Counselor

I utilize an approach which in informed by the wisdom of Internal Family Systems (IFS). I use this model to support clients in identifying the various parts of themselves which inform their behaviors and attitudes. Once identified, I provide a forum for these parts to be understood compassionately. This process allows for the resolution of inner conflict, and increased self-compassion and inner unity.

— Jack Dickey, Counselor

Imagine you show up for dinner with your family. Everyone is there, including your mom who asks inappropriate questions, your nephew who wants to talk all night about sports, and your uncle who hasn’t spoken to your brother since the fiasco at your aunt’s funeral. It can get chaotic quickly. The inside of your mind has different parts too that interact in complicated ways. With IFS we work to bring these parts into balance, so the inside of your mind feels like a safe place to be.

— Katie Bautch, Psychologist in Sacramento, CA

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

Internal Family Systems is a powerfully transformative, evidence-based model of psychotherapy. We believe the mind is naturally multiple, and that is a good thing. Our inner parts contain valuable qualities and our core Self knows how to heal, allowing us to become integrated and whole. In IFS all parts are welcome.

— David Yellen, Licensed Clinical Social Worker - Candidate in brooklyn, NY

Internal Family Systems (IFS) is a person centered therapy which validates the multifaceted nature of human experience. By tapping into our self system we can resolve long standing internal conflicts, synchronize our internal energy and heal deeply. Ego state work can arise naturally in therapy or be a intervention to a road block. Many people find IFS an intuitive and powerful modality to work in.

— Lila Sideras, Licensed Professional Counselor in Tucson, AZ

I am a Level 1 graduate of the Internal Family Systems training.

— Jessica L Packman, Clinical Social Worker in Marietta, GA

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

— Denae Arnold, Licensed Professional Counselor in Wheatridge, CO

We are all made up of parts as well as a core, nuclear self. Some parts develop in response to difficult experiences from our past to protect us from the dangers of the world. These parts can remain active for years, trying to protect us in ways that no longer work to promote our wellbeing. Learn how to manage these parts and support your core self through IFS.

— Michael Germany, Licensed Professional Counselor Associate in Austin, TX