Internal Family Systems-

A compassionate way to be with ourselves.​​

Internal Family Systems (IFS):

We are complex creatures with multiple parts.

Imagine your inner world comprised of many different parts, almost like different family members. Each part has something to offer, including opinions, memories, beliefs and energies. All of our parts hold wisdom and are looking out for us in the ways they know how. But sometimes, when not acknowledged or cared for, a part can become quite loud or persistent. Or other times, we lose touch with some of our parts, and have to become reacquainted. Other parts have been wounded from earlier experiences, and may recruit other parts to help distract us or numb our pain.

The True and Untainted Self

IFS also suggests we have an openhearted and spacious place inside-a true and untainted Self. We can access this compassionate energy--and often do--perhaps when we are being creative, enjoying a connected conversation with another, or when we are meditating, hiking, dancing, playing, listening to music or watching a beautiful sunrise. We know when we are accessing Self-energy when we feel compassionate, curious, connected, calm, creative, clear, courageous and confident- the 8 "C" words.

Connecting to our Core Self becomes a reliable and trustworthy resource. With strong Self energy "on board", we can create a loving relationship with our parts and attend to their challenges, thoughts or emotions. We can even unburden our wounded parts who may cling to often outdated beliefs or feel stuck in past traumas. The work of IFS is to heal the injured parts and restore balance within our system by attending to our often child-like parts who need loving care. In this way, we are able to manage difficult emotions with less reactivity, more intention and awareness.

To hear more about this method of therapy, you can:

--Watch this short and earnest interview with Dr. Richard Schwartz, the creator of the model:

 --Listen to this playful podcast with Queer Eyes' Jonathan Van Ness and Richard Schwartz as they chat about IFS:!94d3b

Here is a You Tube channel address containing a host of information about IFS:

Illumination Counseling and Gayle Waitches offer Internal Family Systems (IFS) informed Individual and couple's therapy in Southeast Portland.  

Gayle has completed Level 1 and Level 2 of IFS training.


More about Internal Family Systems

Illumination Counseling


4531 SE Belmont Street #104

Portland, OR 97215

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