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  • Writer's pictureFiona Grignard

Internal Family System : the therapy model that actually worked for me!

Ok, so if you've known me for a while, you know I talk about Internal Family System (IFS) all the time. And many people are asking me about useful resources, so I thought I'd just share them here.


I discovered IFS when I started learning about traumas and read the book "The Body keeps the Score" by Bessel van der Kolk.


Something was different about that model, I could relate. (I'm not a big fan of typical talk therapy to be honest, often not concrete enough, not practical enough and mostly, I'm not convinced by the results, but that's very personal).


Richard Schwartz created the model 40 years ago, working as a therapist with people suffering from eating disorders and self-harm practices.

In a nutshell, IFS considers we don't have 1 mind, but rather we have different parts, with different objectives that explain why some of our behaviors can seem counterproductive at best, hurtful for ourselves or others at worst. The idea of IFS is to connect with these parts, to understand them, and to heal the ones that have been hurt, in order to recreate more balance in our lives.



Internal Family System Poster by Loluis

A couple of years ago, after reading and listen a lot about IFS, I started loosely using the concepts in my own coaching sessions with clients, and I was impressed by the results we got with the little experience I had.

Naturally, I knew it would be the next certification I would get. But since I don't want to be that coach that hasn't tried for herself the technique that she's using, I decided to take a few sessions for myself, maybe just 5 or 6, in order to have a personal experience.


1,5 year and 30-something sessions later, I am honestly shocked at how IFS has helped me and the results I am seeing in my daily life. And I'm not planning on stopping just yet, cause things keep getting better...


First, it has dramatically improved my relationship with my Dad (just 6 months before he unexpectedly passed, I was so grateful that the last memories I have with him are happy ones).

Another area where I've seen tremendous change is in my romantic relationships. I have an anxious attachement, stemming from a wound of abandonment, and though I had already worked on it, the wound was still there at my core, making some of my relationships really painful and insecure. But with the IFS therapy, I now feel so much more at peace and secure within myself, which in turn creates much more balance in my behaviors in relationships, especially during conflicts.


But ok, enough about me.


Here are some resources I can recommend if you're curious about IFS :


To listen


Since the model is quite different from usual talk therapy, it's very insightful to understand how it works but also to listen to a real-life session to understand how it works.


Glennon Doyle & Abby Wambach have covered the topic quite a few times on their podcast We can do Hard Things


Other podcasts :



To watch


Youtube is also full of IFS resources, like this one that is very clear and complete and includes a quick intro exercise:


The official IFS channel also has a special introductory playlist.



To read


Two of Richard Schwartz' books:


  • No Bad Parts Healing Trauma and Restoring Wholeness with the Internal Family System














If you're a therapist yourself, you can find his others books that are maybe a bit more directed towards health professionals.



Other


The official website - where you will see the list of trainings & workshops and find a trained therapist :



Intimacy From the Inside Out (IFIO)

If you're looking into couple counselling, IFIO is the model that focuses on relationships through the IFS model. It works in a very similar way to create closeness and connection.




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I hope this helps.

If you listened or read something and you found it useful, I would love to receive your feedback. For real, send me a message and let me know!



With Love,

Fiona



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