soundLiving_final (1).png

internal family systems


Have you found yourself sometimes starting your sentence with: “There’s a part of me that….?” According to the Internal Family Systems (IFS) model, a person contains many sub-personalities each with their qualities, beliefs, and roles within the system. We have parts that because of painful experiences in our past may feel shame and fear. We have parts that help us manage our lives and protect us from these feelings. These are called managers and are our controlling, critical, perfectionist parts, among others. We also have parts that appear when our managers are not successful in keeping the painful feelings away. These parts are more reactive and lead us to extreme behaviors such as binge drinking, driving too fast, or even obsessively cleaning as a means of keeping the feelings at bay.

In IFS all parts are welcome. The work of IFS is that of an archeologist, discovering our parts within, getting to know and appreciate each part, seeing the world through its lens, and learning the role it has played in our lives. A fundamental concept of IFS is the belief that, in addition to all these parts, there is at the center of every human being, a Self that is compassionate, courageous, curious, connected, creative, confident, calm, and clear. The ultimate goal of IFS is to learn to lead our lives from Self.

This psychotherapy model was developed by Richard Schwartz twenty years ago and in the last few years has become increasingly popular. In this era of evidence-based models, IFS research suggests that the approach is quick and efficient in working with trauma and pain.

To learn more about IFS go to

“The only journey is the journey within.” - Rainer Maria Rilke