What is Internal Family Systems Therapy?

Internal Family Systems (IFS) therapy is an evidenced based model that works on the basis that each individual is made up of different sub personalities, or “parts”. These parts develop as an interaction between your personality and your life experiences. We all have many different parts – you may have a “parenting” part, an “employee” part, a “organizing” part. There may also be parts that hold more challenging feelings, such as anger, sadness or fear. Your system is unique to you – and in IFS there is always a reason a part develops, no matter how painful or challenging it may appear to be. There are “No Bad Parts” (a book by Richard Schwartz, founder of IFS) – the goal is not to eliminate any parts, but to develop a relationship with them.

IFS allows for the client’s system to take the lead – so the pace is exactly right for the client. IFS provides a space that is safe and compassionate, where deep healing can occur. Within this therapeutic modality many clients find improvements to their own emotional regulation, problem solving, relationships and understanding of self. IFS provides a framework where we can work with conflicting beliefs and emotions that, if left unattended, may get in the way of healing.

Internal Family Systems Therapy is an evidenced based therapy that has been found to help with the following issues:

  • Trauma
  • Physical, emotional or sexual abuse
  • Neglect
  • Compulsive behaviours
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Phobias
  • Substance dependency

Clare Pentelow is a social worker and psychotherapist with over 10 years experience in the mental health field. She has completed the Level 1 training through the IFS Institute.