What is IFS (Internal Family Systems) ?

What is IFS (Internal Family Systems) ?

What is IFS?

Internal Family Systems Therapy (IFS) is an exciting new model of psychotherapy that is accelerating and deepening the healing and growth of many people.

Introductory video by the creator of IFS, Richard Schwartz, Ph.D.

Here are some of the basic ideas:

1) All people are born with and continue to have an inner wisdom and strength. A place that is compassionate, caring, curious, calm, creative, and so much more. This place is called the Self.

2) We also all have many different feelings, thoughts, and sensations, which IFS calls parts of ourselves. Parts that are anxious, sad, playful, numbing, logical, critical, etc. All of these parts together create an inner system (much like a family – thus the name Internal Family System) which aim to keep us feeling calm inside.

3) Some parts are protective while others hold the pain of past trauma and hurt (called exiles).

4) All parts of us have a job and a positive intention – even if their actions cause negative effects. (ie. the urge to drink can be a part trying to numb another strong feeling – this is the good intention – even though repeatedly covering up feelings with substance use can cause many emotional and physical problems)

5) In IFS therapy I help client’s to better access their Self and then bring this compassion into your inner relationship with all parts of yourself. In particular we focus on helping the parts that hold trauma from the past to create a profound healing and lasting transformation of painful patterns and feelings.
To learn more check out:

Introduction to Internal Family Systems by Richard Schwartz, Ph.D. (Creator of the IFS Model)

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