Internal Family Systems (IFS)

Internal Family Systems (IFS) was developed by psychologist Richard Schwartz who had observed patterns in the way that people described their inner lives: “What I heard repeatedly were descriptions of what they often called their “parts”—   He began to conceive of the mind as a family, and the parts as family members interacting with one another.

The IFS approach to psychotherapy identifies and addresses multiple sub-personalities or families within each person’s mental system. These sub-personalities could consist of wounded parts or painful emotions such as anger and shame, and other parts that try to control and protect a person from the pain of the wounded parts.

IFS focuses on healing these wounded parts and restoring mental balance and harmony by changing the dynamics that create discord among the sub-personalities and the self.

IFS therapy can treat individuals, couples, and families. It can effectively treat a variety of conditions and symptoms. These include:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Panic
  • Phobias
  • Trauma
  • Substance use
  • Physical health conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis
  • General functioning and well-being


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