Developed by Dr Richard Schwartz, Internal Family Systems (IFS) therapy views the mind as a complex system composed of various "parts" or sub-personalities, each with its own distinct thoughts, emotions, and beliefs. He considers your mind as a family and how different parts of it are family members that influence one another. IFS therapy helps you heal from inner wounds using 8 Cs: confidence, calm, compassion, courage, creativity, clarity, curiosity, and connectedness. 

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How Does Internal Family Systems Therapy Work?

In IFS therapy, you are guided to identify and communicate with various parts of themselves, such as the “inner child,” “inner critic,” or “protector” parts. According to Dr Schwartz, these identities are in conflict with one another, which impacts your confidence and overall personality. 

In IFS therapy, you and your therapist explore these different parts and listen to feelings and concerns that stem from them. You work like a detective and understand why you function the way you do, how you get rid of it, and replace it with a more balanced approach. 

In the initial sessions, it’s common to experience strong emotions. It’s good to have people you love nearby. Your therapist can also teach you ways to stay calm and deal with your feelings.

Imagine someone struggling with low self-esteem. Through IFS therapy, they might explore the part of themselves that feels unworthy and discover its underlying fears and motivations. With a therapist’s help, you acknowledge the struggle and find a way to heal, and eventually integrate it into your overall sense of self. 

What Can Internal Family Systems Therapy Help With?

IFS therapy can help you with various mental health conditions and life challenges, including:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Trauma
  • Obsessive compulsive disorder 
  • Relationship issues
  • Self-esteem issues
  • Anger management
  • Stress management
  • Addiction recovery
  • Eating disorders
  • Chronic pain management
  • Decision-making difficulties

I’m here to support your healing journey. Take the first step today. 

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Jennifer Pinto
Registered social worker, MSW, RSW

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    IFS: Parts Mapping Exercises(PDF)

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    Curious about IFS Therapy? This free guide is a simple introduction to this powerful therapy.

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