Internal Family Systems (IFS)


Internal Family Systems Therapy (IFS) seems to be taking the world of therapy by storm at the moment, and for good reason! It is a wonderful therapy that is very effective at calming internal conflict, healing trauma, managing anxiety, depression and shame; it deepens our capacity to connect to aspects inside ourselves that can support us through the challenges that life brings. 


In his book ‘The Body Keeps the Score’ Bessel Van Der Kolk writes ‘at the core of IFS is the notion that the mind of each of us is like a family in which the members have different levels of maturity, excitability, wisdom and pain. The parts form a system in which change in any one part will affect all the others’. In IFS parts are viewed as distinct personalities with their own beliefs, core memories, emotions and needs. Just as in our external lives personalities clash, it is the same in our inner world.


Internal Family Systems UK describes the IFS therapist’s job as being ‘to help the client disentangle themselves from their parts and access their core Self. The Self can then connect with each part and heal it. This allows the parts to let go of their extreme or destructive roles and enter into a harmonious collaboration led by the Self.’ By strengthening our relationship with a core, compassionate, wise aspect of our nature, which IFS calls Self, life feels easier, difficult emotions and traumas become more manageable. Those of you in the spiritual world may also know this as Buddha nature or True Nature; I also see it as whatever it is that is ‘bigger’ than us. IFS is an effective and powerful therapy that is gaining an increasing evidence base.


Chrissie is member of BACP and a qualified Internal Family Systems (IFS) Therapist. Sessions are held at Seale-Hayne, on the outskirts of Newton Abbot, Devon or online. She can be contacted on 07840 069075 or