Internal Family Systems (IFS)
This resource page is part of an Online Course
Internal Family Systems: A Non-Coercive, Integrative Therapy Model for Individual and Couples Work
CE Credits for Psychologists. CE Credits (CEUs) for LMFTs, Social Workers, Counselors and Nurses.
CE Approvals by BBS-CA, ASWB, NBCC, NAADAC, CA-BRN & more.
Zur Institute is approved by the American Psychological Association to sponsor continuing education for psychologists. Zur Institute maintains responsibility for this program and its content.
Training and Workshops
People interested in obtaining IFS training or attending workshops can visit the IFS website.
The following materials are available on the IFS website store.
"Meditations for Self" by Richard C. Schwartz
The founder of the Internal Family Systems model of psychotherapy leads these meditations to help you develop more awareness and love for your parts. His confident, calm manner provides gentle guidance to your inner exploration. These meditations can become the foundation of a daily practice designed to bring more Self leadership to your life.
"Beneath the Anger: Healing the Bullied Boy"
Dr. Richard Schwartz demonstrates how IFS can help therapists work with different protective parts of the personality. Dr. Schwartz helps a 47-year-old man, who struggles with anger and depression, heal some of the pain he carries from being bullied as a child. Extra features include an advanced commentary track and a short classroom version.
"Recovering from Depression: All Parts are Welcome"
Dr. Richard Schwartz works with a 54-year-old woman who struggles with chronic depression. During the session, Dr. Schwartz helps her explore parts of herself she has disowned and then heal some of the underlying pain. Extra features include another session from 2 years earlier, an advanced commentary track, plus a short classroom version.
"Trauma Behind Rage,"
A demonstration with a Vietnam veteran who fears his rage but finds it's not what he thinks, Richard C. Schwartz (60 mins)
12th Annual Internal Family SystemsSM Conference, September 18-21, 2003
Plenary II: "Self-Led Parenting," R. Schwartz (90 mins)
10th Annual Internal Family SystemsSM Conference, October 5-7, 2001
Plenary I: "The Sexual Dance of Parts and Self," by R. Schwartz (38 mins)
Plenary II: "IFS and Spirituality," by R. Schwartz (70 mins)
"2011 IFS Annual Conference Plenary (1)"
This package of streaming videos includes:
The Buddha as an IFS Therapist Flint Sparks, Ph.D.
Siddhartha Gautama was interested in one fundamental question: How can we truly understand human suffering and how can we help end suffering for all beings? Through dedicating his entire life to spiritual practice he eventually had a shattering insight that resolved this question. In doing so, he became the Buddha, the Enlightened One. He taught what he had discovered and suggested that his followers engage in meditation practices to demonstrate, by their own experience, that liberation of the human heart and mind was possible. As IFS practitioners, we share this core question of the Buddha: How can we find freedom from unnecessary suffering for ourselves and for others? What if the Buddha had used the language of IFS? How would his teachings have sounded? Please join us in sharing the resonance of these transformative teachings and the profound possibility inherent in each.
The Way of Radical Compassion: The Spiritual Paths of Jesus and IFS Frank Rogers, Ph.D.
Contrary to historical development, Jesus did not intend to found a religion. He was a spiritual teacher who taught a profoundly transformative path of personal healing and social restoration. At the core of his spiritual path was a vision of radical compassion rooted in contemplative encounters with an all-inclusive compassionate Source and embodied in compassionate action that extends toward all—one's self, one's neighbor, even one's enemies—in ways that invite interpersonal healing and accountable reconciliation. The spiritual path of Jesus is profoundly harmonious with the spiritual path of IFS. This plenary summarizes the mutually enhancing connections between them.
"2011 IFS Annual Conference Plenary (2)--IFS in Mediation and Education"
This package of streaming videos includes:
Managing and Connecting Inner and Outer Conflict: Integration of IFS and Conflict Resolution Theory and Practice Leonard L. Riskin, JD
This presentation will explore, through a brief case study, the potential benefits and challenges of integrating IFS and conflict resolution practices, primarily in the context of negotiation, with an eye toward the practices of lawyers and other conflict resolution professionals.
Mediation, Multiple Minds,and the Negotiation Within David Hoffman, JD
Mediators, like most people, encounter ambivalence all the time. We encounter it in ourselves and, of course, we see it in the people who come to us with their conflicts. It is a rare dispute in which the parties do not pursue settlement while simultaneously resisting it. David Hoffman will talk about the applicability of IFS concepts in mediation—in particular, as a means of helping people in conflict understand their own ambivalence about settlement and resolution, and also as a technique that enables mediators to access their Self energy and maintain their curiosity, compassion, and courage on the fire of conflict.
Introducing IFS to an Urban School System Gail Tomala, MA, MSMFT, Ph.D.
What began as a focused effort to introduce IFS to physically aggressive middle-school boys in an urban preK-8 school in Hartford, Connecticut, has evolved into a long-term plan to introduce the IFS Model to the entire school community. Plans involve teaching IFS strategies to students and their families, ongoing IFS training for teachers, and the introduction of IFS activities in select classrooms where MFTs will work side by side with teachers. Examples of IFS parts work and expressions of Self-leadership from students and teachers will be shared.
2011 IFS Pre-Conference Institute - Psycho-Spiritual Underpinnings of Peace
This pre-conference intensive identifies psychological and spiritual perspectives, insights, and practices that can enhance (vs. obstruct) the potential to build greater peace within individuals as well as between those in conflict. The notion of Self within the IFS system, its unique qualities, and its profound role in facilitating healing within and between individuals and groups in conflict will be explored in particular depth.
Richard Schwartz You Are The One You've Been Waiting For, Bringing Courageous Love To Intimate Relationships
In this ebook, Richard Schwartz, the developer of the Internal Family Systems Model, introduces its basic concepts and methods in an engaging, understandable, and personal style. Therapists will find that the book deepens their appreciation of the IFS model and helps their clients understand what they are experiencing in therapy. Also included are user-friendly exercises to facilitate learning. Also available in PDF.
Richard Schwartz, Introduction to the Internal Family Systems Model
In this ebook, Richard Schwartz, the developer of the Internal Family Systems Model, applies the IFS Model to the topic of intimate relationships in an engaging, understandable, and personal style. Therapists and lay people alike will find this book to be an insightful exploration of how cultivating a relationship with the Self—the wise center of clarity, calmness, and compassion in each of us—creates the foundation for courageous love and resilient intimacy: the capacity to sustain and nourish a healthy intimate relationship. Self-leadership also allows us to embrace our partner's feedback and use it to discover aspects of ourselves that seek healing. The book includes user-friendly exercises to facilitate learning. Also available in PDF format.
Mp3 Audiobook: Richard Schwartz (narrated by David Baird) Introduction to the Internal Family Systems Model, together with Dr. Schwartz's Meditations for Self Audio/MP3
In this new audio version of his classic book, Richard Schwartz, the developer of the Internal Family Systems Model, introduces IFS basic concepts and methods in an engaging, understandable, and personal style. Therapists will find that the book deepens their appreciation of the IFS model and helps their clients understand what they are experiencing in therapy. Also included are user-friendly exercises to facilitate learning. Between each chapter you'll hear Dr. Schwartz's "Meditations for Self." These meditations will help you develop awareness and love for your parts and can become the foundation of a daily practice designed to bring abundant Self-leadership to your life.
Schwartz, RC (2001). Introduction to the Internal Family Systems Model
Oak Park: Trailheads Publications. Soft cover, 174 pgs w/exercises.
In this book, Richard Schwartz, the developer of the Internal Family Systems Model, introduces its basic concepts and methods in an engaging, understandable, and personal style. Therapists will find that the book deepens their appreciation of the IFS model and helps their clients understand what they are experiencing in therapy. Also included are user-friendly exercises to facilitate learning.
Schwartz, RC (2008). You Are The One You've Been Waiting For, Bringing Courageous Love To Intimate Relationships
In this book, Richard Schwartz, the developer of the Internal Family Systems Model, applies the IFS Model to the topic of intimate relationships in an engaging, understandable, and personal style. Therapists and lay people alike will find this book to be an insightful exploration of how cultivating a relationship with the Self—the wise center of clarity, calmness, and compassion in each of us—creates the foundation for courageous love and resilient intimacy: the capacity to sustain and nourish a healthy intimate relationship. Self-leadership also allows us to embrace our partner's feedback and use it to discover aspects of ourselves that seek healing. The book includes user-friendly exercises to facilitate learning.
Biggs, Alison. Polly: A Girl of Many Parts
Is a fanciful tale of self-discovery, following one girl's search to know and love herself -- especially those parts she considers unwelcome and unlovable. With the guidance and support of a trusted friend, Polly helps her more extreme parts become unblended and unburdened, finding that they have wonderful gifts to offer in the service of Self-leadership. In keeping with the playful and imaginative nature of IFS, this story is written and illustrated as a children's book, but it invites people of all ages to become curious about their own parts as they follow Polly's healing journey.
Kropp, Joseph. Nathan Meets His Monsters
One Night, a little boy named Nathan heard something that upset him...and suddenly he saw MONSTERS! Join Nathan on an adventure as he unravels the mystery of his monsters in Joseph Kropp's new picture book. Nathan Meets His Monsters is a playful introduction to the Internal Family Systems Model written and illustrated to introduce children to their parts and to help them overcome their fears. "Through Nathan's example in this simple story, children learn to listen to and ultimately love the parts of them that they fear or hate. Thus can begin a lifetime of compassionate and delightful inner relating. I am very grateful to Joe for creating this spark that will ignite the transformation of so many children." Richard Schwartz, Ph.D., Creator of the Internal Family Systems Model.
Cameron, Dorie. Why Did I Do That? How You Make Sense and Why There is Hope
A gentle introduction to the basic principles of IFS. Using simple language and engaging illustrations, this book is encouraging and inviting. It offers one way to understand some fundamental aspects of the IFS model. Though it contains some "big ideas", this colorful book can be read in a matter of minutes. It welcomes one to the IFS perspective that, when engaged, can greatly enrich one's life and relationships. If you have ever wondered "Why did I do that?", this book offers a warm, hopeful and comforting perspective.
Steege, Mary. The Spirit-led Life
Written in a highly personal and engaging style, The Spirit-led Life explores the connection between Christian spirituality and the Internal Family Systems model . A pastor and a therapist, Mary Steege draws on scripture, theology, IFS theory, and personal experience to illuminate the ways in which both IFS and Christianity draw us into the very heart of Christ and help us embody the Holy Spirit. This book does foundational legwork and addresses many of the issues that arise when considering points of congruence between these two spiritual paths. It will support your personal journey and serve as a resource for those who are introducing the principles of IFS to their own faith communities.
Holmes, Tom. Parts Work: An Illustrated Guide to Your Inner Life
This book presents an Illustrated Guide to the Internal Family Systems model.
The New 4th Edition of "Parts Work": It has all the new drawings and changes of the 3rd Edition plus a new cover and stronger binding.
What Dick says about the book "Parts Work": "This book brings IFS to life in an exceptionally clear and captivating way. Between the evocative and fun illustrations, the living room metaphor, and the integration with Buddhism, it presents a wonderfully creative vision of the way our parts dance with each other and with us in our minds. I highly recommend it for anyone wanting to learn about the IFS model or about their inner lives." Richard Schwartz, developer of the IFS model.
Cantor, David and Sabine Boots. A Guide to Integrating the Youniverse in Therapy
This 40-page Guidebook and teaching manual explains through theory and case examples how you can use the Youniverse as an IFS visual tool with your clients. Clinical applications for individuals, couples, children, as well as teens and their families, are illustrated. Among other bonuses, the Guidebook contains a highly practical "Youniverse Session Notes" page which can be reprinted for documentation purposes and/or ensuring continuity of sessions.
Cantor, David. The Youniverse Self Leadership Tool
The Internal Family System Made Visible. As featured at the 2010 Conference Plenary, the Youniverse is a "Self"-evident visual aid and tool for introducing your clients to the IFS model and guiding them through each stage of the IFS process. The Youniverse features a Big Bright Ball Center-Core Self and a multitude of Parts - a diversity of colored orbs, each attachable and moveable along three concentric rings. Center yourself and your clients with this Visual Mantra of the IFS model.
Cantor, David. The Big Bright Ball Answers the Call
Introducing IFS to Children and Inner Children. An illustrated Storybook narrated by none other than the Big Bright Ball Self reminding us of the healing power, wisdom, and leadership at the center of us all. Read independently, or as a companion story to the Youniverse Self Leadership Tool.
Earley, Ph.D., Jay. Negotiating for Self-Leadership in IFS
This professional booklet describes a method of helping an IFS protector to let go of its role that doesn't depend on first healing the exile it is protecting. You negotiate with the protector to allow the client to lead from Self in an upcoming life situation. "In this booklet Jay focuses on ways to improve the relationship between a client's Self and protective parts and to help those parts trust Self to lead in the outside world." -- Richard Schwartz, Ph.D.
Earley, Ph.D., Jay. Working with Anger in Internal Family Systems Therapy
Anger can arise in various ways in IFS, depending on which part holds the anger, what function the anger serves, and whether the anger is disowned. Each situation requires a different type of therapeutic intervention as part of the IFS process. This professional booklet discusses these various circumstances and the approach that is most effective in each. It includes a transcript of an IFS session that illustrates some of these points. "This is another good elaboration of an aspect of IFS and contains helpful categories and guidelines, as well as a powerful transcript of a session." -- Richard Schwartz, Ph.D.
Earley, Ph.D., Jay. Resolving Inner Conflict: Working Through Polarization Using Internal Family Systems Therapy
A detailed treatment of how to work with inner conflict in Internal Family Systems Therapy, including transcripts of actual sessions to show exactly how the technique works. Though written for psychotherapists, it is also accessible to people who want to deepen their IFS work on themselves. "I am very grateful to Jay Earley for putting my ideas about polarization into writing, which, up until now, have only been conveyed in trainings or workshops. He has added useful case examples and practical steps and, as usual, his writing is very clear. This is a substantial contribution to the literature on Internal Family Systems Therapy." -- Richard Schwartz, Ph.D.
Earley, Ph.D., Jay. Self-Therapy: A Step-By-Step Guide to Creating Wholeness and Healing Your Inner Child Using IFS, A New, Cutting-Edge Psychotherapy
This book provides a step-by-step guide to doing IFS sessions on your own or with a friend. It is also a manual for the IFS model that therapists are finding invaluable. "Through Jay's user-friendly description of IFS, you will begin to change how you do internal dialogue… His well-described experiential exercises and examples of actual IFS sessions will enable you to enter your inner world in such a way that your extreme parts begin to heal. I'm grateful that this book allows IFS to extend its reach." -- Richard Schwartz, Ph.D., creator of IFS.
Earley, Ph.D., Jay and Bonnie Weiss, LCSW Self-Therapy for Your Inner Critic: Transforming Self-Criticism into Self-Confidence
This book shows in detail how to use IFS to transform self-critical protectors in a way that is useful for both therapists and the general public. It identifies 7 types of inner critic parts and the cluster of other parts that become activated around self-judgment. It shows a step-by-step procedure for befriending critics and unburdening the exiles they protect. Comments: "extraordinarily helpful book" James Flaherty, "sparkling insights throughout" Donald Rothberg, Ph.D.
Weiss, LCSW, Bonnie Illustrated Workbook for Self-Therapy for Your Inner Critic: Transforming Self-Criticism into Self-Confidence
Delightful illustrations are used to elucidate the IFS Model as applied to Inner Critic work. This workbook is designed to provide supplemental learning opportunities via visual representations, thought-provoking questions, imagery exercises, and artistic opportunities. It can also be used by therapists, counselors, or teachers familiar with the IFS model. Classes, groups, or individuals can interact with the concepts through discussion and personal sharing. "Provides an innovative visual vocabulary for inner work." Andrea Gould Ph.D., "Helps people apply IFS concepts in a graceful, clear, and practical way." Marla Silverman, Ph.D.
Critique of IFS
The main critique of IFS is that there is no empirical data comparing IFS to other proven methods, and that there have been no follow-up studies to investigate the long-term success rate of IFS. Following is a resource that provides critique of IFS.
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