Internal Family Systems (IFS)

Reconnect with your authentic Self and restore inner and outer harmony.

IFS is a powerfully transformative, evidence-based model of understanding the human mind. It is based upon the understanding that the mind is naturally multiple, consisting of a system of inner parts. Just like an external family system, these parts interact with one another, form relationships, and take on roles. Also present within us is an energy called the Self, a presence that carries qualities of compassion, curiosity, calmness, creativity, courage, connectedness, and confidence. Our Self is the natural leader of our inner world.

However, if we encounter trauma, our Self may not have enough inner resource or outer support to navigate what is happening to us or around us. Overwhelming life experiences can cause our parts take on burdens in the form of painful emotions (e.g., shame, hopelessness), limiting beliefs (e.g., “I am worthless”, “I am unlovable”), and/or unhelpful roles (e.g., inner critic, people pleaser). As a result of trauma, some of us lose touch with our Self and begin to live from our parts, believing that their burdens are who we are. We may find ourselves struggling with life and relationships. 

When we have the experience of reconnecting with our Self, we come to realize that this is our authentic nature – who we truly are. Our Self inherently knows how to help our parts and what they need to heal.  

 

Healing involves reconnecting with our Self, befriending and unburdening our parts, and restoring inner and outer harmony. When our parts are liberated from their burdens, they are free to reclaim and embody their unnique gifts and wonderful qualities. 

“Self is in everybody, can’t be damaged, has all these great qualities… and that person in there, once released, knows how to both heal internally and also externally…”

– Dr. Richard Schwartz

Click here to learn more about IFS.

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I acknowledge that I am an uninvited settler on the traditional, ancestral, and unceded territory of the Coast Salish peoples, including the Xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Skwxwú7mesh Úxwumixw (Squamish), and Sel̓íl̓witulh (Tsleil Waututh) First Nations. It is with deep gratitude that I live on this land and I am committed to doing my part to advance truth and reconciliation.