IFS (Internal Family Systems)

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Internal Family Systems (IFS): A Non-Pathologizing Approach

Internal Family Systems (IFS) is a therapeutic approach developed by Richard Schwartz that emphasizes the multiplicity of the self and the idea that everyone has various "parts" within them. Here are some key points about IFS:


  • IFS identifies different parts within an individual's psyche, such as a "manager" part that helps them function in their day-to-day life or a "protector" part that helps them cope with difficult emotions.
  • These parts are not seen as pathological or something that needs to be eliminated; rather, they are seen as natural and necessary aspects of the self.


  • The goal of IFS is to help individuals become more self-led, meaning they can access their core sense of self and lead their life in a way that feels authentic and fulfilling.
  • This involves learning to recognize and work with the different parts within oneself.

Compassionate Exploration

  • IFS emphasizes a compassionate and curious approach to exploring the different parts of oneself.
  • This means that rather than judging or trying to eliminate certain parts, individuals learn to approach them with curiosity and empathy, seeking to understand the purpose they serve.

Collaborative and Non-Pathologizing

  • IFS is a collaborative and non-pathologizing approach, meaning that the therapist and client work together to explore and heal the client's psyche.
  • Rather than diagnosing or labeling clients, the therapist helps them understand and work with their various parts in a non-judgmental way.


  • IFS is a non-pathologizing approach that views the different parts of the self as natural and necessary.
  • By helping individuals become more self-led, approach their parts with compassion, and collaborate with their therapist, IFS can be a powerful tool for healing and growth.