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 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

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

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

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

— Colleen Steppa, Therapist in Phoenix, AZ

IFS identifies and works with the sub-personalities or “families” that exist in each person’s psyche. These sub-personalities — for example, the Inner Critic — represent the places within us that are wounded and store painful emotions that conflict with each other and our core, or divine, essence. I received over a year of individual supervision and consultation to guide my growth and ability to use IFS well.

— Thaeda Franz, Licensed Professional Counselor

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

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

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

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

— Denae Arnold, Licensed Professional Counselor in Wheatridge, CO

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

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

IFS is one of my favorite techniques because it is rapid and powerful. Using IFS takes time, trust, and patience. When I use this technique with my clients in therapy, at first they are judging it in their minds, not trusting the process. However, when they let go and enjoy the process, they find that it is incredibly powerful and deeply healing. My clients learn how to use IFS on their own at home as well, so they can continue to heal, grow, and relieve themselves of burdens and wounds.

— Shannon Mosher, Licensed Professional Counselor in Kingwood, TX

This approach is a creative deep dive into the often conflicting internal dialogues we all hold inside. Ever felt one particular way but also pulled in another direction? Ever wanted to work on building healthy connection to a person but anger and resentment seem to be driving the interactions? This approach engages directly the tensions that pull us apart and cultivates a deep centeredness in what we call "self" energy - the wise healing intelligence already within you.

— Leigh Shaw, Associate Clinical Social Worker in Tacoma, WA

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 have been using the concept of "parts" and "inner voices" since before beginning my clinical practice, based on the work of Hal and Sidra Stone. The additional structure and training in IFS has helped me refine and strengthen this helpful tool. I've attended workshops and trainings, as well as online classes and readings to deepen my understanding and use of IFS.

— Kirsti Reeve, Licensed Professional Counselor in Ferndale, MI

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

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 am trained in Ego State and I use IFS (parts work) to treat most individuals. This is a powerful concept that most of my clients identify with.

— Anna Schäfer Edwards, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist in Cooper City, FL