INTERNAL FAMILY SYSTEMS


Internal
Family Systems


At 1A Wellness, it is not uncommon that clients report both relief and surprise when they begin IFS sessions, and quickly learn that with self-leadership, the wounded and polarized parts of their internal system can become powerful allies and resources toward well-being.

Kristina Harter, Ph.D.


The Guest House
This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.
A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.
Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they are a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still, treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.
The dark thought, the shame, the malice.
meet them at the door laughing and invite them in.
Be grateful for whatever comes.
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.

— Jellaludin Rumi,

Internal Family Systems (IFS) is an evidence-based therapy that focuses on improving our capacity to become more self-led and regulate our emotions. This approach, which has gained momentum in recent decades, was developed by Dr. Richard Schwartz, a family systems and addiction counselor. The method draws from developmental and systems theories and puts emotions, thoughts, defenses or coping mechanisms under the umbrella of ‘parts’, the assumption being that since all living things are part of a larger system, so too are our internal and emotional worlds.


This self-empowering approach focuses on internal attachment relationships and emphasizes the role of the therapist as a guide or a coach, rather than as a medical professional treating pathology or illness.


It is highly interactive and works directly to help people better connect what they know with what they feel. Clients often turn to IFS when they grow weary of talking about problems because intellect can actually become a barrier to making new discoveries (I know the problem. I can see it from 100 different angles. But I just can’t seem to do anything about it.) IFS is incredibly effective for many who engage it because its success depends less on the language surrounding past emotional injury and more on the immediate experience conjured when recalling events (or even just feelings) of the past. Defense mechanisms or coping strategies are no longer seen just as hindrances, but are understood as outdated adaptations, forms of memory, or parts of a larger self, that once allowed us to navigate difficult situations but are no longer helpful. 
At 1A Wellness, it is not uncommon that clients report both relief and surprise when they begin IFS sessions, and quickly learn that with self-leadership, the wounded and polarized parts of their internal system can become powerful allies and resources toward well-being.

"The place in history of Richard Schwartz’s IFS model and the Multiplicity of the Mind Theory that it validates, is not unlike that of biology before publication of On the Origin of Species."


John B. Livingstone, M.D., Harvard Medical School,
Department of Psychiatry and Medical Director,
Gaffney and Livingstone

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Learn more about IFS and the Center for Self Leadership.

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IFS in research

A peer-reviewed study on the efficiency of IFS

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Want more?

Learn more about IFS and the Center for Self Leadership.

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IFS in research

A peer-reviewed study on the efficiency of IFS

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Meet our
IFS providers

Each of our clinicians is a specialist. Learn more about our our providers to find out which one is best for you.

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Meet our
IFS providers

Each of our clinicians is a specialist. Learn more about our providers to find out which one is best for you.

Learn More

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