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


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 "Davi" Pettit, Marriage & Family Therapist in San Francisco, CA

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 Internal Family Systems in the therapy room for as long as I have been in mental health. I understand IFS from both the client and counselor perspective. I continue to educate myself on the most useful and appropriate ways to use IFS in session.

— Laura Wood, Licensed Clinical Mental Health Counselor in SEATTLE, WA

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 use internal family systems to help clients explore different "parts" of themselves, this is a compassionate, healing process.

— Coty Nolin, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist in Denver, CO

I include IFS to help you identify and reintegrate parts of yourself that you might have suppressed as a result of protection from childhood woundings. By integrating these parts you can feel a sense of balance and equanimity during challenging situations.

— Rachel Brandwene, Licensed Clinical Social Worker

I draw largely from Internal Family Systems therapy and the belief that we all have parts of ourselves that cause us to think, feel and behave. While good intentioned, these parts can take over, making us feel like we are flawed or broken. By learning their good intentions we can find new ways of relating to and interacting in the world. I find that each IFS session results in insight and growth and is a gentle way to move toward deep healing and observable change.

— Tierney McNulty, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist in ,

I completed Level 1 training in Internal Family Systems (IFS) through the IFS Institute. I integrate IFS with expressive arts.

— Julie Collura, Clinical Social Worker in Portland, OR

IFS aims to help individuals identify and work with these different parts in order to achieve greater self-awareness, self-compassion, and emotional healing. The therapy involves developing a relationship with each part, understanding its role and purpose, and exploring any conflicts or negative beliefs associated with it. By promoting self-leadership and self-compassion, IFS can help individuals integrate conflicting parts and cultivate greater emotional resilience and well-being.

— Sydney Phillips, Licensed Professional Counselor in Chandler, AZ

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

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

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 Burbank, CA

I have completed Level 2 training with the Internal Family Systems Institute.

— Bethany Haug, Licensed Professional Counselor in Portland, OR

I am trained in IFS, a new, empowering approach to therapy that focuses on our various "parts" and seeks to understand and harmonize the mind. I find this an extraordinarily powerful tool that is not pathologizing and helps create a trusted, healthy internal system with our best Self at the center.

— Rick Isenberg, Licensed Professional Counselor in Ridgway, CO

I am in the process of receiving training and certification in Internal Family Systems therapy.

— Julia Krump, Licensed Clinical Social Worker in Nashville, TN

Have a background working at a residential/outpatient treatment facility based in IFS, and continue to refer to the model. Thinking of true self and parts of the psyche has been helpful to most of my clients to move past many of their problematic behaviors/thought patterns and to get to how we can heal their attachment wound.

— Kelley Goodwin, Licensed Professional Counselor in Atlanta, GA

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