What is IFS?
“Neuroscience research shows that the only way we can change the way we feel is by becoming aware of our inner experience and learning to befriend what is going on inside ourselves.” –Bessel van der Kolk, MD, psychiatrist, PTSD researcher, IFS advocate and author of The Body Keeps the Score
IFS helps us respond to life’s challenges from an innate source of wisdom, compassion and calm. This framework helps us be less reactive, more patient and loving towards ourselves and one another. IFS teaches us how to build relationships with aspects of ourselves that may be overwhelming or out of control, parts we may dislike, be afraid or ashamed of. This non-pathologizing approach teaches us that all parts truly are welcome and have a positive intent. Our responses and behaviors are just trying to help us, in their not-so-perfect way. It’s a life-changing journey I can’t wait to share with you!
The Internal Family Systems (IFS) model of psychotherapy offers an empowering method of understanding human problems, as well as an innovative and enriching philosophy of practice that invites both therapist and client to enter into a transformational relationship in which healing can occur. IFS is an evidenced, attachment, systems and mindfulness-based framework and approach to self-awareness, acceptance and long-lasting healing.
IFS was developed by Dr. Richard Schwartz, LMFT, in the 1980s during his work with families of bulimic, self-harming clients. The model evolved as he listened to the inner workings of his clients’ protective systems of parts (i.e., traits, sub-personalities, thoughts, behaviors, feelings). IFS is now taught and practiced world-wide in a wide variety of contexts (mental health practices, schools, medical settings, legal and corporate sectors, in reconciliation efforts in the Middle East, by spiritual leaders, bodyworkers, yoga and mindfulness teachers). IFS is an effective, efficient, and empowering framework for working with issues such as depression, anxiety, trauma, addiction, eating disorders, dissociation, personality disorders, anger, relationship challenges, perfectionism and self-criticism.
Click here to read Dr. Schwartz’s article “The Larger Self,” his inspiring first-hand account of how he developed and uses the IFS Model and the extraordinary, transformative effect it had on him and his clients.