IFS Therapy

One of the main modalities or styles of therapy I use is IFS Therapy. This modality focuses on life issues by looking at the entire system that makes up You and on gently discovering and resolving old pains so that your system runs smoothly. IFS Therapy is the brainchild of Marriage and Family Therapist, Dr. Richard Schwartz. It is a therapy that is remarkably effective, regardless of, “What seems to be the problem?”

IFS Therapy is about becoming aware of and learning how to maintain presence in that state described by the 8 Cs:

  • Calm
  • Clear
  • Compassionate
  • Confident
  • Connected
  • Courageous
  • Creative
  • Curious

When a person is able to understand what certain “parts” of themselves are feeling or wanting and why they behave the way they do, it becomes easier to Calm down and become more Clear.  

Dr. Schwartz found that clients he was working with often spoke in terms of “parts.” For example, “Part of me wants to do this, and part of me wants to do that.” Having been trained in family systems theory, he chose to apply that theory to the idea of “parts” and found that oftentimes parts are in certain roles, as are family members, these parts can get triangulated, as do family members, and that untangling parts and their roles enables the whole internal system to settle down.

Oftentimes we get pulled out of that state of being defined by the 8 Cs, which in this model is called “Self,” by other parts of ourselves that may feel angry or anxious, scared or worried.  The more extreme the level of these types of feelings, the harder it is to re-find the state of the Cs. IFS Therapy is about gently exploring what is causing the anxiety or fear, finding out how to reassure and resolve, so that C-ful-ness can be one’s normal state.  

All parts are welcome. And all parts are attempting to do something that will help. Sometimes parts get in fights for control with each other. IFS Therapy is about learning how to mediate between parts and facilitate harmony in your system, in the system that is You, with the goal of being C-full, or “Self-Led.”

The goal is that your parts should not be in the role of driving your proverbial bus, but that your larger Self should. This is called Self Leadership in this model.

You can read more about the theory at the Center for Self Leadership.  

I have had the following training in IFS Therapy:

  • IFS Therapy Level 1 – 2010-11
  • Understanding Addictions through an IFS Lens – 2015
  • Celebrating the Unburdened System – 2016
  • IFS Therapy Conference – 2018