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.

Meet the specialists

I have completed Level I of Internal Family Systems training through the IFS Institute and practice this work regularly. I find that IFS incorporates the best insights of psychodynamic therapy in a pragmatic, accessible, and transformative relationship between the self and our conflicting parts. It is a different way of doing therapy than most are used to doing, in that the relationship between client and therapist becomes secondary to your relationship with your own "parts" of self.

— Anthony Rella, Licensed Mental Health Counselor in SEATTLE, WA
 

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 Hagerstown, MD

Completed IFS Level 1 training and additional trainings through the Center for Self Leadership.

— Erica Thompson, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist in San Diego, CA
 

I received specialized training and certification to practice Internal Family Systems therapy.

— Rhea Parks, Marriage & Family Therapist in Syracuse, NY

What looks like controlling, judgmental, perfectionistic tendencies is actually a way of managing fear. Addiction, avoidance, and panic are other ways we try to run from fear. They are a well developed defense mechanism learned early on to keep you feeling safe. Recognizing that these parts (or Internal Family Systems - IFS) are all trying to protect you and keep you from feeling your feelings is the first step. You don't have to be afraid of your feelings. IFS work will teach you how .

— Cynthia Goeller, Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor in ,
 

I've completed two years of training in Internal Family Systems. This style of therapy acknowledges that we all have a variety of "parts." Walt Whitman captured the essence of this approach in his poem Song of Myself: Do I contradict myself? Very well then I contradict myself; (I am large, I contain multitudes.) Welcoming the many multitudes we all contain is the heart of this style of therapy.

— Kerry Ogden, Licensed Professional Counselor in Portland, OR

IFS is an incredible approach that helps us to look at our painful emotions and honor them so that we are able to truly let them go. Our positive, negative feelings and thoughts are all a variety of parts that reside within us. Why not look at all of our different hurt feelings and allow them to express themselves and finally be released.

— Nina Kelly, Marriage & Family Therapist in Santa Cruz, CA
 

I am Level 2 trained in Internal Family Systems, which is the primary orienation/approach I work from.

— Sean Daughtry, Licensed Clinical Social Worker in Beverly, MA

IFS is an evidenced-based approach to therapy that is grounded in the belief that we all have multiple parts within ourselves that can create internal conflict, pain, and confusion. These parts may be strong, confident, and secure or afraid, angry, sad, and insecure. IFS therapy focuses on healing the wounded parts of ourselves that cause us pain in order to restore a sense of internal peace and emotional balance.

— Emily Franchi, Psychotherapist in Chicago, IL
 

Please see www.krystinaptasinski.com for more details.

— Krystina Ptasinski, Licensed Mental Health Counselor in Seattle, WA

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, Counselor in Eugene, OR

"Parts Work" involves accessing positive aspects of the self that were wounded at different times in our lives. Early wounding, in particular, necessitated those parts to go into hiding in the unconscious for survival. For protection, those parts may appear to us now as negative aspects, e.g., as the critic, the undeserving one, the shamed one, so we won't want to look at them. Through dialogue, we can find out how these part have served us, what they need, and how we can help them heal.

— Renee Beck, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist
 

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.

— Christie Bates, Licensed Professional Counselor in Oxford, MS

While completing this training, I am slowly introducing these methods into my practice. Utilizing IFS, I can help clients identify their "parts" and learn to help understand their different roles. IFS can help clients identify their different needs and learn to love and accept their true selves, and all of their "parts".

— Marie Sloane, Associate Professional Counselor in Scottsdale, AZ
 

I'm a Level 3 Certified Internal Family Systems Therapist and find IFS as organic, intuitive and effective. We are a multiplicity of parts and in getting to know them, we develop internal coherence and comfort. After all, as people, we all want to be seen, heard, understood and acknowledged. What holds for others, also holds for our internal parts. Working with your parts allows you to honor "the holes within the whole" of your being and thus honor all that you are.

— Benita Silver, Licensed Mental Health Counselor in Asheville, NC

All humans all different parts or voices or aspects; we are complex creatures. IFS creates space for us to explore, understand, and have compassion for all parts of you, while figuring out how all these parts can work together in greater harmony, led by your inner voice of wisdom. It is a non-judgemental path to great self compassion and understanding.

— Elizabeth Pettit, Marriage & Family Therapist in San Francisco, CA
 

Through my readings I began utilizing Internal Family Systems in my work with trauma clients. The theory speaks of externalizing symptoms, ways of thinking, patterns of behaving into particular modes or states. Central to each individual is the concept of Self-a wise, calm state of being that is able to think and see clearly. In assessing Self and these different modes, I help clients to see the context of each of their symptoms and to not be flooded by any particular emotion.

— Jeremy Cooper, Licensed Professional Counselor in Richardson, TX

IFS is an approach that work to identify all the different parts of ourselves. IFS focuses on healing wounded parts and restoring mental balance by changing the dynamics between the various parts. The ultimate goal of IFS is to regain control of our true inner voice and find clarity that was once distorted by the wounded parts of ourselves.

— Morgan Ticum, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist in Lenexa, KS
 

I fell in love with the practice of IFS as soon as I learned about it in graduate school. I align with the strengths-based belief that we all have a courageous, compassionate, creative core, known as the Self, that is able to be accessed with curious exploration into our internal world of parts. Through IFS, the Self can serve as our guide to creating the life we desire. I have received trainings over the last 8 years by some of the leading IFS innovators and utilize it in work with clients.

— Melanie Taylor, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist in Philadelphia, PA

I've completed two years of training in Internal Family Systems. This style of therapy acknowledges that we all have a variety of "parts" within us. Walt Whitman captured the essence of this approach in his poem Song of Myself: Do I contradict myself? Very well then I contradict myself; (I am large, I contain multitudes.) Welcoming the many multitudes we all contain is the heart of this style of therapy.

— Kerry Ogden, Licensed Professional Counselor in Portland, OR
 

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
 

My knowledge of Internal Family Systems (IFS) was initially built through supervision and educational trainings and has evolved through my work with clients in my practice. I have been able to successfully integrate IFS with practices such as EMDR and Art Therapy to treat issues such as: PTSD, sexuality/gender-related stress, depression, anxiety, family & relationship stress, and substance abuse.

— Martha Cowley, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist in Carmichael, CA

As trauma informed therapists, Internal Family Systems is a useful model for shifting the relationship we have to certain parts of ourselves (ie anxiety, depression, self-critic, etc). One of the things we like most about this model is it's non-pathologizing nature. This modality helps clients look closely at a part of themselves without judging the whole. Not only can this shift the way they see themselves but can help develop compassion for others in their family systems.

— Mara Hirschfeld, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist in New York, NY
 

I utilize IFS to help quickly help create a safe space where internal dynamics and traumas can be explored and healed.

— Adam Richardson, Counselor in Boulder, CO

This theoretic approach is intertwined into the underpinnings of my foundational education and are a main part of my working with clients. My supervision mentors worked directly with Mr. Richard Schwartz in his years developing this theory. Further trainings were in person with Dick Schwartz where I participated in level one and two.

— Amy Belval, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist in Columbia, CT
 

I'm a Level 3 Certified Internal Family Systems Therapist and I find IFS is organic and effective. We are a multiplicity of parts and in getting to know them, we develop internal coherence and comfort. After all, as people we all want to be known, seen, heard, understood and acknowledged. What holds for others, also holds for our internal parts. Working with your parts is honoring of "the holes within the whole" of your being and honors all that you are.

— Benita Silver, Licensed Mental Health Counselor in Asheville, NC