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What can an Internal Family Systems therapist help with?

An Internal Family Systems (IFS) therapist can help people identify and address parts of themselves that might be feeding mental health conditions such as depression, anxiety, panic, phobias, or substance use disorders, or just generally holding them back. IFS treatment involves talk therapy focused on sub-personalities, or “families,” within a patient, which may be made up of wounded “parts” and difficult emotions like anger and shame. Through healing these parts of an individual’s core “Self,” a therapist aims to restore balance and bring on positive change.

Who is a certified or qualified Internal Family Systems therapist?

Potential patients should seek a licensed mental health professional who has received specific training in IFS therapy. A successful therapy experience also depends on a strong and trusting connection between patient and therapist so it is important to find a professional with whom a client can feel comfortable.

What conditions can Internal Family Systems therapy treat?

IFS therapy has been found to help individuals, couples, or families deal with a range of conditions and concerns, including depression, anxiety, panic, fears and phobias, trauma, and substance use disorders. It has also been used to help with the effects of some physical health conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis. There are some conditions for which IFS treatment may not be appropriate, such as schizophrenia or other states that involve psychosis or paranoia.

How can I recognize a good Internal Family Systems therapist?

A good Internal Family Systems therapist will work with a patient identify, accept, and release their particular sub-personalities, helping them become free to address the underlying problems from which those sub-personalities may have been trying to protect them. It is also important for the therapist to teach a patient techniques to manage their internal and external conflicts independently, through relaxation exercises, journaling, visualizations, and other proven approaches.