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Internal Family Systems (IFS) Therapy

Understanding and nurturing the various parts within us can lead to profound healing, growth, and lasting positive change.


What is Internal Family Systems (IFS) Therapy?


Internal Family Systems (IFS) Therapy, developed by Dr. Richard Schwartz, is a cutting-edge therapeutic model that proposes our minds are comprised of multiple parts, each with its own beliefs, emotions, and desires. These parts often influence our thoughts, emotions, and behaviours and often contribute to the symptoms that bring us into counselling in the first place.


IFS invites us to bring curiosity and compassion towards the parts of us, rather than trying to get rid of them. When a relationship is formed with each of these parts, there is often space for parts to shift our of their stuck, rigid beliefs and symptoms. Healing can then be offered towards the parts stuck in experiences that caused the symptoms and beliefs to form in the first place. 


How Does IFS Therapy Work?


In IFS Therapy, your therapist will help you connect with your internal parts and understand their unique roles. Through compassionate exploration, we'll identify the "exiled" parts carrying unresolved emotions or traumas and the "protective" parts that attempt to shield you from feeling those "exiled" parts.


As we engage with your internal parts, we'll work at accessing self-compassion, curiosity, and understanding, inviting each part to express its feelings and needs in a safe way. By building a relationship with these parts, we can gradually access the burdens that they are protecting and facilitate healing. Often the burdens that parts carry directly relate to symptoms that bring us into therapy in the first place. 


IFS Therapy encourages you to tap into your "Self," the core essence within you that is naturally calm, compassionate, curious, and confident. As you build access to "Self", parts start to become more Self-led. When parts feel Self inside, they don't have to work as hard to react in their old ways. They typically feel more space to allow you to respond from a place of calm, compassion or curiosity. Over time, your capacity to show up and be with your parts from this place of Self will grow, which means an improved capacity to be with difficult emotions, increased self awareness, and greater access to compassion for yourself and others in and outside of the therapy space.

What Can IFS Therapy Help With?


IFS Therapy is an evidence based, effective approach that can benefit individuals facing a wide range of challenges, including but not limited to:


  • Healing from Trauma: IFS Therapy can help individuals heal from past traumas by providing a safe space to process and integrate traumatic memories. Accessing Self inside becomes a key healing modality in IFS therapy. It is believed that we all have access to what Richard Schwartz calls "Self energy."

Internal Family Systems Therapy

  • Anxiety and Depression: By identifying and addressing the underlying causes of anxiety and depression, IFS Therapy supports individuals in finding relief and a changed relationship to their anxiety and depressive symptoms. 

  • Relationship Issues: IFS Therapy can improve communication and understanding in relationships by exploring and resolving internal conflicts that may be affecting interactions with others.

  • Self-Esteem and Self-Identity: Through IFS Therapy, you can develop a deeper sense of self-compassion, build a stronger self-identity, and enhance self-esteem. Shame and deep-seated beliefs about oneself that were often adopted from childhood can be released, with greater space to take in new more affirming beliefs about oneself. In IFS, one learns how to access their inherent self-worth.

  • Embodiment: Through getting to know parts that want to disconnect you from your body (dissociate) or distract, you can learn how to be more in touch with your body and what it is communicating to you. In IFS, parts are often looked at as being connected to sensations in the body.

  • Chronic pain and Illness: IFS therapy offers an alternative way to look at chronic conditions by listening to the parts of ones system and what they are communicating about the reasons for the pain or illness. The IFS process can either improve ones relationship to their pain and illness or can actually relieve symptoms related to the condition.

Experience IFS Therapy at Revive Counselling


Natalie Dressler is a Certified Internal Family Systems (IFS) Therapist with a deep commitment to guiding individuals towards healing and growth. If you're interested in exploring IFS email to find out more information.

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