Internal Family Systems Therapy (IFS)
Internal Family Systems is an innovative, powerful, and user-friendly approach to personal growth and healing. Many clients achieve powerful insights and results using IFS in therapy with a trained clinician, often after years of conventional therapy have fallen short.
The model assumes that our personality is made of distinct parts, e.g. that in a non-pathological way, we are all “multiple.” Perhaps you can think of an issue that troubles you, and then discern that you hold diverse feelings and attitudes and body sensations that shift and change, so that a part of you feels one way about it, and another part another. These parts are all assumed to hold positive intent for our survival, even though it may not seem that way at first. The model also assumes that we are “greater than the sum of our parts,” because we all have a “Self” that is completely whole, intact, and a source of peace and compassion, though we can blend so much with our parts that we do not know that Self is there.
The model promotes healing by helping us to get to know our parts, unblend from them, and with Self-leadership, to facilitate more cooperative interactions among our parts. The results of IFS work commonly include increased feelings of peace and confidence, wise decision-making, and the ability to form deeper and healthier connections with other people.
Dr. Richard Schwartz, a psychologist and family therapist , created IFS based on listening deeply to his eating disordered client’s descriptions of their internal conflicts. His Center for Self-Leadership provides rigorous and experiential training to therapists who wish to practice the model which is rapidly gaining popularity and exposure. Patricia Rich and Luis Infante are trained in IFS which has transformed both of their clinical practices. For more information about Internal Family Systems, visit www.selfleadership.org.