What is IFS?

"Whole life is a search of beauty. But, when the beauty is found inside, the search ends and a beautiful journey begins" Harshit Walia

Internal Family System (IFS) is a transformative talking psychotherapy with an empowering new way of looking at our ‘Self’. Developed by Richard Schwartz over the past three decades. IFS is a non-pathologizing, evidence-based approach that has been shown to be effective in a variety of conditions.

Bessel Van der Kolk one of the world’s leading expert in trauma says “for me, discovering internal family systems therapy was a breakthrough”

In IFS the view is that we all have a core Self, a Self that is undamaged and can become a leader, creating healing and harmony with the system. The Self is at the centre and knows how to heal and live a full and creative life.

Alongside this core Self we also have multiple parts - protective parts that carry roles or beliefs  that may want to control or protect us, or, for some, parts that carry our early wounds, all making up an internal family system.

A person can be seen to be made up of a system of internal parts and the Self, a bit like a conductor and an orchestra.

What can happen is that our core Self can become covered up by our internal parts, a bit like the sun being hidden by the clouds.

How does it work?


In IFS therapy my role is to support you getting to know and understand your parts, the protective parts and the younger wounded parts  and for you to access and connect with your core Self to resolve the inner conflicts and build trust.

Normally you will begin by identifying the protectors of your system, then the parts that need protection become known. Often these are younger parts from the past. Through this work parts can let go of their extreme and sometimes destructive roles or beliefs, they can be witnessed, retrieved and unburdened in order to enter into a more compassionate, caring and calm relationship with Self-led energy.

It is not about needing to fix the parts but for you to get curious to understanding the intentions of the parts better, each part often will have its own story, its own feelings, memories, and motivations and some parts will have taken on specific roles for us. Parts can show up as emotions, as internal dialogue, as thoughts, as body sensations, as images or as memories.

The Goals in IFS are to liberate parts from the roles and to connect with their qualities and to restore the trust of parts in Self-leadership with the aim of reharmonising the inner system.

What happens?

My role in IFS is to facilitate, to be there to help you ask questions so you will connect with these parts and to grow the relationship between Self and parts. IFS really supports and grows Self leadership within you the individual. It is you being with your internal family system and learning to love, respect and integrate all parts, as all parts are welcome.

This approach is client led and allows for and creates a sense of control and safety, both of which are important aspects of therapeutic change.

For more information on IFS here is a YouTube video

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