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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Internal Family Systems therapy comes from the belief that we are all made up of "parts". We all have parts of ourselves that fulfill healthy and unhealthy roles. Have you ever had an internal argument with yourself? IFS takes each "part" and processes what it is trying to do. Most parts are simply trying to protect us in some way, and again I bring in work on self-compassion toward each "part" of ourselves.

— Heather Kalso, Clinical Social Worker

IFS composts much of what we've been told about who we are and what we know about healing. IFS insists that your inner world is complex; that there is literally an internal family system within you. You have parts who want to protect you from harm and parts who have been harmed who they intensely protect. You also have a Self, an energy of calm interconnectedness.

— Ashley Gregory, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist in East Bay, CA

I have training and ongoing consultation in the Internal Family Systems (IFS) protocols. I am actively pursing a Certificate in Applied IFS Therapy through As we learn to approach our different parts from a place of openhearted compassion, we can experience insight and deeper healing. The outcome of IFS therapy techniques include the unburdening and transformation of our parts bringing a sense of inner freedom and peace.

— Cherie Mills, Psychotherapist in Austin, TX

Internal Family Systems, or parts work, helps us to gain awareness into the different parts of ourselves and what functions they serve. IFS also helps us to see how our internal parts are communicating with each other, such as when we are having an inner conflict, or a defense mechanism comes up to protect us from pain. As a "Fun IFS Fact", the Pixar movie "Inside Out", although more simplistic, has been deemed to have some parts work credibility from the found of IFS himself.

— Angela Shankman, Therapist in Agoura Hills, CA

I utilize internal family systems as a framework for therapy. This is to get to know your inner child, inner critic, shadows, and other internal committee members. When we know our internal family, and can communicate with them, the internal world can live in more harmony.

— Chris Lombardo, Licensed Professional Counselor in ,

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

With the IFS model, we will look at all the different parts or aspects of your personality that make up who you are today. We will develop an understanding of your deep internal world, and through self compassion, release the burdens you carry. This model is very powerful in healing childhood trauma.

— Cyla Fisk, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist in Pasadena, CA

Internal Family Systems (IFS) is my primary treatment modality. I help clients recognize internal conflicts that are keeping them paralyzed and holding them back from healing. IFS helps me identify root cause issues that can persist for years and through this identification, clients can learn to self-soothe and move forward.

— Catherine Reynolds, Clinical Psychologist in Atlanta, GA

Internal Family Systems is by far my favorite approach to therapy. By getting to know your inner parts and how they function as a system influencing your behavior and emotions, you can gain harmony and mastery of your self! I have attended training with the creator of IFS, Richard Schwartz, and have been using IFS with clients for over two years. Together, we will use a variety of expressive modalities, narrative therapy, and mindfulness to get to the root of your inner protectors and exiles.

— Safrianna DeGroat, Counselor in Frederick, MD

I use IFS to help you understand parts of yourself and how they are working as resources in response to life stress. We will use IFS together to help your parts work as resources towards your emotional wellness.

— Mariah Jeremiah, Clinical Social Worker in LAS VEGAS, NV

Level 1 & 2 Trained with IFS Institute, pursuing full certification

— Erika Barrington, Licensed Professional Counselor

IFS views the mind as being made up of many different minds or sub personalities, called “parts”. Many of my clients will learn to better understand their emotions and the parts that make up themselves; the inner-critic, the inadequate part, the people pleaser, the perfectionist, the inner child. When we gain an understanding of our parts we can begin to recognize “who” is showing up at any particular moment and making our life’s decisions. We begin to offer our vulnerable parts attention and ca

— Lia Schaefer, Therapist in Seattle, WA

I have training in Internal Family Systems, which is a beautiful technique for identifying and coming to understanding the many different parts of us which make up our whole. We build the ability to witness different parts of ourselves, which may play different roles. For example, perhaps one part of you worries constantly, while another part of you tends to make impulsive decisions. When we befriend and build compassion for each part of ourselves, we have more choice and feel more integrated.

— Danielle Weiss, Licensed Clinical Social Worker

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

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 Aurora, CO

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

Internal Family Systems Therapy posits that your mind is multiple by design - that you have different aspects of your personality that arise at different moments and that you have various parts that help you move through the world. These parts often hold emotional pain, negative beliefs about yourself or the world, and the key to understanding your behavior. When we connect and build trusting, compassionate relationships with parts, you feel deeper clarity and more control in your life.

— Summer Forlenza, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist in , CA

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