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

— Denae Arnold, Licensed Professional Counselor in Wheatridge, CO

Many (or maybe most) people probably view themselves as individuals with a unified mind and a single personality. IFS, on the other hand, recognizes that every mind consists of sub personalities that come into conflict with one another and create inner turmoil. We will work to reconcile these inner differences and reach a state of harmony.

— Evan Powers, Mental Health Counselor in Loveland, CO

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 received ongoing training from the IFS Institute in this very powerful model of psychotherapy, which brings a depth of self-awareness and self-compassion I have not seen in other models. When we work together in this way, you will work to recognize, accept, and unburden all parts of yourself and become the leader of your own internal system.

— Daniel Fulton, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist in Pasadena, CA

You may not know what is keeping you stuck in the feedback loop of anxiety and depression. As an IFS oriented therapist, I will help you identify the parts of you that are keeping you stuck and help you return to self-leadership. Like coaching a team, I will help you learn the players (parts) on your team, teach them how to work well together in connection and flow and ultimately lead them to victory. That victory will be indicative of healed trauma, strong self-knowing and authenticity.

— Heidi Bailey, Clinical Social Worker in Ocean Isle Beach, NC

I discovered IFS when I was a graduate student almost a decade ago, when it was still not well known or widely used. I read the text book for an assignment, and I immediately began using IFS principles on myself. It is the single most useful tool I use for my own growth and healing. I love sharing "parts work" with others! We all have "parts" inside us: the inner critic, the hurt child, the part that compulsively puts out the bad feelings. Working with these parts can bring revolutionary change.

— Melissa Walker, Therapist in Whitesboro, TX

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.

— Roberta Ballard, Psychologist in Marietta, GA

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

IFS is a relatively new approach that's been found to be very effective for trauma. It involves "parts work" or finding and exploring parts of ourselves that can show up as feelings, emotions, thoughts, sensations, personality traits, and opinions. Working through these parts' protective qualities will take you to more vulnerable parts that carry the trauma. IFS uses a process called "unburdening" to help you heal those parts.

— Anna Khandrueva, Therapist in Broomfield, CO

Integrative with Jungian psychology and shadow/parts work- i have favored this approach for many years in private practice; my bookshelf is heavily speckled with Dr. Schwartz and Jung literature.

— Camden Huber, Licensed Clinical Social Worker in Winter Park, FL

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 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

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

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

IFS is my favorite model of therapy these days, and I find it to be a more effective and accelerated model of healing than traditional talk therapy methods. Although the experience of turning inward and directly connecting with your internal world can be unfamiliar, it is incredibly valuable and enlightening work. I look forward to helping you take a deeper dive and discover what lies under the surface of your conscious awareness.

— Joy Linn, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist in Santa Rosa, CA

Sometimes we repeat patterns or behaviors that we don't like, that don't seem to make sense. Whether it's emotional eating, perfectionism or overwork, the struggle feels intractable. We may feel conflicted, like part of us wants to do one thing or be a certain way, while another part of us wants to go the opposite direction. IFS offers a framework for understanding these inner conflicts, and support a return to harmony within that honors the wisdom of your True Self.

— Kim Torrence, Licensed Clinical Social Worker in Rockville, MD