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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Meet the specialists

 

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

Parts Work! I talk about parts of ourselves that "fill up the living room" and crowd out other parts.

— Saren Craig, Licensed Professional Counselor in , OR
 

Our minds are actually made up of sub-personalities. We may have our "work part" or "romantic part" and our work will be to get to know these different parts and understand what they do for our internal system. IFS believes we have an inherent self that can lead these parts in healthy ways by showing them compassion and a sense of self-leadership. This therapy will help the parts begin to trust the self. *IFS Informed

— Joshua Bogart, Professional Counselor Associate in Beaverton, OR

I have been practicing Somatic IFS for the past seven years in various contexts. I have received both education and specified training in IFS.

— Liberty Flidais, Psychotherapist in SANTA CRUZ, CA
 

I frequently use the non-pathologizing "all parts are welcome" techniques in my sessions. While not yet officially trained in IFS, i have self studied the concepts extensively and love the non judgmental approach this method offers.

— kaseja wilder, Psychotherapist in Eugene, OR

I often work from an Internal Family Systems perspective. This really just means that I welcome all the contradictory parts of a person that may show up in navigating life's struggles. We work together to understand both the parts you know well and the parts that you might often try to avoid. Better understanding all the parts of yourself, and having compassion for them can be a powerful first step in healing, finding peace and a path forward.

— Arah Erickson, Professional Counselor Associate in Portland, OR
 

This is my primary mode of practice. IFS helps clients really understand what's happening internally, bringing hope and healing to those places within us that live in distress, fear, anger, pain, and grief. It's gentle and healing. It's also a great way to bring more harmony to your daily living and relationships with others.

— Crystalyn Jass Kirkpatrick, Licensed Professional Counselor in San Antonio, TX

Parts work is an essential component of treating trauma as a whole, due to our human tendency to dissociate to varying degrees. This is a gentle, respectful, yet powerful approach.

— Anya Surnitsky, Licensed Clinical Social Worker in ,
 

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

I utilize IFS with EMDR to promote internal healing and improved sense of self. IFS is an approach that allows understanding and healing parts of ourselves to promote self-compassion and integration.

— Maureen Bethea, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist in Fairfax, VA
 

IFS is a way of looking at the different parts that make up each one of us. When we get to know those parts, both the protective ones and the ones that are hurting, we can help them heal. IFS helps us get to know our Self and understand the capacity our Self has to heal those parts and let the protectors move on to find other jobs.

— Jenny Larson, 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
 

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

Think of the movie Inside Out. Now, imagine Riley being able to talk to her emotions throughout the movie. That's a very simple way to think about IFS. If you've ever said "a part of me feels.... but another part of me thinks....." that's an even more accurate way to view IFS. It's all about building a relationship with ourself, and healing through that internal relationship.

— Jordan Wolfe, Licensed Clinical Social Worker in Portland, OR
 

IFS takes the approach that we all have an inner world made up of of parts that want to help us, but who have taken on extreme roles in an effort to keep us safe. These extreme parts become less disruptive and more cooperative once their concerns are addressed and they feel safer. IFS is a research-supported therapy with established efficacy. It feels like doing family therapy in your head! When you listen to all your parts, and access your core Self, you can heal your wounded parts.

— Bobbi Ballard, Psychologist in Marietta, GA

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
 

With this potent approach, my clients could fully understand their recurring, difficult inner conflicts, and move forward with more ease and alignment. IFS has equipped my clients with tools to use their minds and hearts to bring healing and resolution to longstanding traumas and emotional wounds. IFS has helped my clients feel significantly less afraid to face certain aspects of themselves. I’ve also seen my clients form their own roadmaps towards lasting healing and change.

— Jonathan Lee, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist