IFS (Internal Family Systems)
Internal Family Systems (IFS) is a psychotherapy approach that was developed in the 1990’s by family therapist Richard Schwartz, Ph.D. The goal of IFS is to identify and address the sub-personalities or families within each person’s mental system. These sub-personalities consist of wounded parts and painful emotions such as fear, anger and shame. These parts develop as defensive parts that try to control and protect the person from the pain of the wounded parts. The sub-personalities are often in conflict with each other and with one’s core Self, a concept that describes the confident, compassionate, whole person that is at the core of every individual.
IFS focuses on healing the wounded parts and restoring mental balance and harmony by changing the dynamics that create discord among the sub-personalities and the Self. IFS is used to treat individuals, couples, and families. It is an evidence-based approach that has been shown to be effective for treating a variety of conditions and their symptoms, such as depression, anxiety and physical health conditions with the goal of improving general functioning and well-being.
The Center for Self Leadership. Evolution of the Internal Family Systems Model by Dr. Richard Schwartz, Ph.D.