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

We are trained in parts work, mindfulness, neurobiology, and helping clients find their SELF and wisdom energy to guide them. We offer IFS-informed EMDR. IFS is extremely effective in working with trauma.

— Stacy Ruse (Founder), Licensed Professional Counselor in Longmont, CO

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, Licensed Professional Counselor Intern in Portland, OR

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, Counselor in East Hanover, NJ

Strange name and a wonderful experience, truly one of the best. This style of therapy respects all parts of you. It is evidence based and offers a way to understand our internal drives, fears and tap into our internal wisdom to heal. If you have talked about an issue many times without change or feel two ways about the same thing, this is a great option for you. This therapy is a great way to address anxiety in relationships, addiction, trauma, "codependency," and therapist burnout.

— Beth Magee, Counselor

Nearly seven years of clinical experience using the Internal Family Systems approach.

— Ross Kellogg, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist in Carlsbad, CA

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

I completed an intensive IFS training with Richard Schwartz, the founder of Internal Family Systems, in 2018 and am presently wrapping up a year-long training through the IFS Institute. I had weekly supervision with an IFS therapist who completed Level 3 training for over one year and have done my own IFS work as a client. I honestly cannot say enough positive things about IFS. My clients tell me that it is more helpful than anything they have tried before and I agree! All parts welcome!

— Lara Dubowchik, Licensed Clinical Social Worker in Highland Park, NJ

"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

12-hour Internal Family Systems certificate program

— Sarah O'Keefe, Counselor in Kansas City, MO

We are trained in parts work, mindfulness, neurobiology, and helping clients find their SELF and wisdom energy to guide them. We offer IFS-informed EMDR. IFS is extremely effective in working with trauma.

— Stacy Ruse (Founder), Licensed Professional Counselor in Longmont, CO

IFS is an approach that uses a systems type of model that understands our minds via different parts. Understanding our experiences through this model can help us speak to and understand our parts, communicate with and honor our parts and then integrate our parts to create a more harmonious inner world.

— Jesse Kahn, Sex Therapist in new york, NY

We use a signature take on the IFS model that looks at deep shame stories and behavioral responses to early trauma, memories and belief systems.

— Kerry Biskelonis, Licensed Professional Counselor in Plymouth, MI

Been using IFS since I started private practice and have done their online training. Enrolled in the full training this coming fall. Consider IFS to be the foundation of my work and the lens with which I see the human psyche and experience.

— Michelle Raine, Mental Health Counselor in Seattle, WA

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

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

In IFS, we take a look at the different parts of you - even the parts that can be challenging, like parts that feel worried or depressed or angry. The goal is not actually to get rid of these parts. Instead, we seek to understand the parts: how they are trying to help, what they are afraid of, and what they are communicating. Much like a relationship with a person, you develop a relationship with your parts, which allows them to naturally and easily quiet down or take on new roles.

— Paul Abodeely, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist in Seattle, WA

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