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Internal Family Syststems (IFS)

Internal Family Systems (IFS) is the therapy I apply most in my work.  I have engaged in many trainings on how to implement IFS with different populations and how to embed IFS in EMDR therapy.  IFS is one of my most effective approaches in my work with any client addressing a wide variety of issues, such as:

Anxiety and/or Panic
Substance Use and Addictions
Bi-Polar & Borderline Personality

Eating Disorders
People Pleasing

Obsessive Behaviour
Depression and Suicide Ideation
Loss and Grief


IFS is a forgiving and non-judgemental approach to understanding how you function in the world and the parts of you that are working hard to protect you from your past wounds.  We all do our best to protect ourselves from those emotional or physical wounds (i.e. I’m unlovable, I’m bad) by creating parts that distract and help us move on with life.  Some parts are productive and helpful, while others still being helpful in different ways may be more reactionary and defensive. IFS sees all parts are having good intentions and are protective because they are keeping us from feeling the pain of the exiled part (wound).  IFS believes you already have everything you need to heal and survive, and together we work to understand the path to healing the wounds the parts protect. The goal is to build understanding and compassion about the parts, and help the parts separate from and trust the Self, so healing can take place. 


IFS is learning to be with the part, not be in the part.  IFS believes there is no bad parts.

IFS is a tool that rewires the neural network of stress, fear and trauma and fosters in-depth and meaningful change in your nervous system and how you live your life.


The goal of IFS is not to eliminate parts, but instead help them find a new role in the system and trust the Self leadership which brings peace and harmony to your life.

Not sure about parts?

We understand more about the brain in the last 20 years than ever before, and what we know now is that it is the nature of the mind to be subdivided into subpersonalities or parts. The subpersonalities interact internally and also in daily functioning depending on stressors, or specific skills needed. Everyone has parts, and everyone has a Self- the Self should lead your internal system. The Self is capable of healing and does not get destroyed by trauma. It may take getting used to talking about your parts, but it doesn’t take time for it to feel right, and for you to notice the changes that this therapy can bring about. My experience of IFS in practice, is that being curious about parts and focusing on the intention of the part, the parts want to be seen, heard, and understood. When this understanding happens, the behaviour, thoughts, and feelings of the parts that felt extreme and out of control changes and healing happens.

White Structure
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Leaf Pattern Design

How does healing happen in IFS?

People come to therapy to address patterns of behaviours that feel chaotic or are causing problems in their life. Sometimes the parts that help us cope with an upsetting experience become extreme over time and carry “burdens”. These parts work hard to ensure you don’t connect the pain of the part that holds the wound that is exiled in the system. Healing happens in IFS because once the parts are understood, the parts get support to unburden, and gives us permission to work with the wounded exiled part. Once this happens, the parts trust in Self-leadership, understanding and compassion is present, and there is balance internally and externally. IFS is a process that relies on getting permission to proceed with any step, and this safety and trust is what brings about understanding, compassion, and integration.

Want to learn more about IFS Therapy

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