Internal Family Systems (IFS) Therapy

What is IFS Therapy?

Internal Family Systems is a transformational and evidence-based approach to therapy, which posits that each of us possesses a wise, self-compassionate, and unflappable Self. We feel our best when we are “Self-led” and filled with “Self-energy.” This is called Self-Leadership.

But then life happens… things happen that cause us shame, fear, and other painful emotions. We adapt by burying the parts that feel pain (known as Exiles in IFS) and by developing armor to protect us from further pain. These adaptations are called “Parts” in IFS. Some Parts, known as Managers in IFS, serve us relatively well (ambitious or people-pleasing parts, for example). Other Parts, known as Firefighters in IFS, harm us in the long run (addicted, numb, or self-critical Parts, for example).

All of our Parts have good intentions: to protect us from emotional pain. When Parts take over or become extreme, however, they tend to run the show and define us (think: “I AM failure” vs. “a part of me feels like a failure”). They undermine Self-Leadership, governing our everyday behavior, and unintentionally paving the way for anxiety, depression, reactivity, relationship challenges, and other issues. Furthermore, they keep the Exiles, who are holding the pain of the original experience, from receiving the Self-compassion they need in order to heal.

IFS therapy is about gaining a deep understanding of our parts and how they came about, attending to and healing underlying wounds, and restoring self-leadership.

IFS therapy can help you to:

  • Understand yourself better
  • Develop self-compassion
  • Get relief from self-criticism, anxiety, depression, and other symptoms
  • Recover from neglect or trauma
  • Make better choices
  • Be more authentic, and less reactive and vulnerable, in relationships
  • Feel more peaceful and grounded

For more information on IFS, visit The IFS Institute.

Internal Family Systems (IFS) Therapy

In IFS, the Self is like the sun. It is always there. Parts are like clouds blocking the sun. When Parts take over, we lose touch with Self.

What I love about IFS is its compassionate and depathologizing conception of mental health symptoms and concerns. I value the fact that IFS presumes we all have a constellation of parts that make up the unique individuals we are, as well as a benevolent, wise, and undamaged Self that can guide us towards healing. I have found IFS transformational in bringing about insight, self-compassion, and peace.

In-Person Therapy & Virtual Therapy