Articles

Evolution of The Internal Family Systems Model By Dr. Richard Schwartz, Ph. D.

The Internal Family Systems Model (IFS) has evolved over the past twenty years into a comprehensive approach that includes guidelines for working with individuals, couples, and families. The IFS Model represents a new synthesis of two already-existing paradigms: systems thinking and the multiplicity of the mind. It brings concepts and methods from the structural, strategic, narrative, and Bowenian schools of family therapy to the world of subpersonalities. This synthesis was the natural outcome that evolved after I, as a young, fervent family therapist, began hearing from my clients about...

The Internal Family Systems Model Outline

I. BASIC ASSUMPTIONS OF THE IFS MODEL

  • It is the nature of the mind to be subdivided into an indeterminate number of subpersonalities or parts.
  • Everyone has a Self, and the Self can and should lead the individual's internal system.
  • The non-extreme intention of each part is something positive for the individual. There are no "bad" parts, and the goal of therapy is not to eliminate parts but instead to help them find their non-extreme roles.
  • As we develop, our parts develop and form a complex system of interactions among themselves; therefore, systems theory can be applied to the...

The Larger Self

By Richard Schwartz, Ph.D.

We all know about those luminous moments of clarity and balance, in our own lives and in those of our clients, which come briefly now and again. However we get there, we suddenly encounter a feeling of inner plenitude and open heartedness to the world that wasn’t there the moment before. The incessant nasty chatter inside our heads ceases, we have a sense of calm spaciousness, as if our minds and hearts and souls had expanded and brightened. Sometimes, these evanescent experiences come in a bright glow of peaceful certainty that everything in the universe is truly...

Couples & Marriage Counseling with Internal Family Systems Therapy

Internal Family SystemsSM (IFS) therapy, in addition to being a powerful and effective approach with individuals, is also often used by couples and marriage counselors to promote harmony in relationships and support intimate partners in developing Self-leadership. Since IFS is generally focused on an individual’s inner system of Self and parts, people may have confusion about how it can be used in couples and marriage counseling. Hence, we asked IFS Senior Trainer Toni Herbine-Blank (MS, RN, CS-P) to shed some light on how married and unmarried couples can benefit from IFS. Toni, a successful...

Child Counseling with Internal Family Systems Therapy

Although Internal Family SystemsSM (IFS) therapy is most commonly associated with adult clients, child counseling is another effective application of this form of therapy. Child counselors, as well as others in the counseling field, may not be familiar with ways to apply the IFS Model to child and play therapy, so we asked Pamela Krause (LCSW, ACSW) to write an introduction to IFS child counseling. Pamela is an IFS lead trainer in private practice, where she works with children and adolescents in addition to adults. One of her specialties is the adaptation of the IFS Model to child therapy...