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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If you have ever said "there's a part of me that feels..." then you are already on track to work with me. You have a whole world of thoughts, feelings, and behaviors bundled into your 'parts'. These parts are their own entities within us, that you can build a relationship with and get to know. Together we can explore how they got their jobs, what their goals are, and working to help continue doing their best to help us.

— Timothy Kelly, Clinical Social Worker in Aurora, CO

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

IFS is a wonderful blend of psychotherapy and spirituality. It combines Eastern notions of Self with the self psychology of Freud and Jung, and the everyday experience we all have of our "parts." You know, the feeling that part of you wants one thing, but part wants another. One part of you wants more cake, another part says no, cake bad. And whenever one part wins out, another gets hacked off and grumbles. IFS restores balance and harmony to our inner world, so the Self can shine.

— Michael McVey, Marriage and Family Therapist Associate in Fort Worth, TX

I have studied the classic Internal Family Systems Model as taught by Dr. Richard C. Schwartz. I hold to the belief that humans have various parts that are activated depending on the situation. If we address these parts with compassion, our true self surfaces and we live in congruence and with self love and honor. I have practiced this model with clients, and have experienced it is my own healing journey over the last decade, and see the power in this orientation.

— Marc Heuser, Counselor in Golden, CO

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 virtual only, CT

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.

— Catherine Reynolds, Clinical Psychologist in Atlanta, 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

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

I am trained in IFS and find this to be a wonderful tool for my clients to learn to have self-compassion. I have attended intensive trainings and engage in IFS in my own personal therapy.

— Dr. Nikki Blakesley, Clinical Psychologist in Colorado Springs, CO

I utilize internal family systems as a framework for therapy. This is to get to know your inner child, inner critic, shadows, and other internal committee members. When we know our internal family, and can communicate with them, the internal world can live in more harmony.

— Chris Lombardo, Licensed Professional Counselor in ,

I have training in Internal Family Systems, which is a beautiful technique for identifying and coming to understanding the many different parts of us which make up our whole. We build the ability to witness different parts of ourselves, which may play different roles. For example, perhaps one part of you worries constantly, while another part of you tends to make impulsive decisions. When we befriend and build compassion for each part of ourselves, we have more choice and feel more integrated.

— Danielle Weiss, Licensed Clinical Social Worker

Internal Family Systems is by far my favorite approach to therapy. By getting to know your inner parts and how they function as a system influencing your behavior and emotions, you can gain harmony and mastery of your self! I have attended training with the creator of IFS, Richard Schwartz, and have been using IFS with clients for over two years. Together, we will use a variety of expressive modalities, narrative therapy, and mindfulness to get to the root of your inner protectors and exiles.

— Safrianna DeGroat, Counselor in Frederick, MD

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 Associate in Redmond, WA

It is deeply transformational to connect with the parts of ourselves consciously. Through this "parts work," we explore the fragmented Self to reintegrate the Whole Self by understanding the presence and influence of all aspects of the archetypes and personas that make us who we are. Through experiential processes, we engage the many parts of the Self to resolve unfinished business that may plague the Ego-Self and create significant limitation, pain, and suffering in our lives.

— Roderic Burks, Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor in Pacific Palisades, CA

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

I practice IFS and Ego State Therapy, both systems that address the parts or facets of the personality that interact to shape our behavior. In these treatments, you get to better know and understand these parts of the self, and how and why they exist to protect you. You'll work to get all of you "on the same team" which can greatly reduce the conflict and distress you experience, particularly if you dissociate a great deal.

— Allison Gilson, Clinical Psychologist in Ann Arbor, MI