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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IFS is one of my favorite techniques because it is rapid and powerful. Using IFS takes time, trust, and patience. When I use this technique with my clients in therapy, at first they are judging it in their minds, not trusting the process. However, when they let go and enjoy the process, they find that it is incredibly powerful and deeply healing. My clients learn how to use IFS on their own at home as well, so they can continue to heal, grow, and relieve themselves of burdens and wounds.

— Shannon Mosher, Licensed Professional Counselor in Kingwood, TX

Internal Family Systems or IFS is a unique form of therapy that focuses on your internal “world” and how you interact with the different facets of yourself. It can be a helpful model to better understand patterns that you find yourself in and how to change your inner landscape. I have completed Level 1 training through the IFS institute as well as continue with ongoing supervision, practice and continuing education. IFS is a wonderful therapy treatment to heal from the inside out.

— Kristin Tand, Licensed Professional Counselor in Portland, OR

IFS was developed by Richard Schwartz PhD in the early 1990s and has since been listed in the National Registry for Evidence-Based Programs and Practices. In the model’s name, Internal Family Systems, lies the belief that we all have a psychological system made up of a constellation of parts (or family members) that are in need of reconciliation. We approach the following topics from an IFS framework: Chronic Stress, trauma, anxiety, depression, anger issues, self-esteem, grief.

— IFS Telehealth Collective, Therapist in New York, NY

I use the book Self Therapy as a companion guide for working with clients in IFS sessions.

— Colleen Steppa, Therapist in Phoenix, AZ

Everyone has lots of different parts that come up every day. Angry parts, scared parts, critical parts, procrastinator parts, people-pleasing parts, and funny parts are a few common examples. Together we can explore how these parts got to be the way they are and why they do what they do. The reason why these parts do what they do is often not what we initially thought! IFS comes with the understanding that all parts have good intentions. I am Level 1 IFS trained from the IFS Institute.

— Sammy Kirk, Licensed Clinical Social Worker

Advanced training in Internal Family Systems through the Center for Self Leadership and PESI.

— Janel Morey-Sassano, Psychotherapist in O'Fallon, IL

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

— Denae Arnold, Licensed Professional Counselor in Wheatridge, CO

Most of my work with individuals and couples is centered around IFS in both my private practice and through my work with marital conflict at The Relationship Institute.

— Leticia Berg, Psychotherapist in Ann Arbor, MI

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

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 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.

— Christine Bates, Licensed Professional Counselor in Oxford, MS

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, Clinical Social Worker in Auroa, CO

IFS is learning about the different Parts within us and how they work to protect us while also maximizing how they can work together harmoniously to heal us. The modality is helpful for trauma, anxiety and depression.

— Regina Guzman, Licensed Clinical Social Worker in Rancho Cucamonga, CA

I have completed training in Internal Family systems and find it is complementary to somatic work.

— Jessica Dyer, Licensed Clinical Social Worker in Oakland, CA

Internal Family Systems focuses on learning to listen to the different parts of our psyche. Often these different parts of ourselves are in conflict with one another due to wounds from past experiences. This can lead to any number of symptoms - anxiety, depression, deep-seated trauma, feelings of an internal battle within ourselves, etc. When using IFS, we discover that these parts of ourselves contain insight on how to heal when we learn to listen to them.

— Jack Rubin, Counselor

This approach is a creative deep dive into the often conflicting internal dialogues we all hold inside. Ever felt one particular way but also pulled in another direction? Ever wanted to work on building healthy connection to a person but anger and resentment seem to be driving the interactions? This approach engages directly the tensions that pull us apart and cultivates a deep centeredness in what we call "self" energy - the wise healing intelligence already within you.

— Leigh Shaw, Associate Clinical Social Worker in Tacoma, WA

People naturally understand that they have different parts of their personality. Internal Family Systems builds on this way of understanding ourselves. When I integrate this model into my work, my clients are able to bring more compassion, courage, calm and creativity to themselves and others. This helps bring more satisfaction into their lives and relationships.

— Beth Levine, Clinical Social Worker in Rockville, MD

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, Professional Counselor Associate in Portland, OR