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


IFS is an approach for dealing with the different parts of ourselves that may have become damaged as a result of childhood trauma or relational injury (such as divorce). It is helpful in quickly identifying the source of our anxiety/fear or destructive behavior, then working toward effectively resolving the internal conflict so that we can operate from a healthier, more whole personhood.

— Aaron Potratz, Counselor in Tigard, OR

Internal Family Systems is the framework that works best for online therapy in my practice, with both couples and individuals. It is a natural fit for how I understand human struggles, imperfections and repetition of problematic behaviors. I love the non-pathologizing nature of this approach to therapy and it fits with my view of human struggle and transformation.

— Megan Zesati, Licensed Clinical Social Worker in Austin, TX

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

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

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

IFS is my primary modality for individual counseling because it is both highly effective and relatively easy for most people to work with, across a range of issues. It can help bring clarity to all the myriad parts of a complex human being dealing with complex life issues. I find that IFS also supports differentiation of self, which is key to personal freedom and relationship success.

— Kelly Arthur, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist Intern in Portland, OR