Internal Family Systems Therapy (IFS) in Oakland

Internal Family Systems is a powerfully transformative, evidence-based model of psychotherapy. IFS is a movement. A new, empowering paradigm for understanding and harmonizing the mind and, thereby, larger human systems. One that can help people heal and helps the world become a more compassionate place.

The world’s religions teach that there is an untarnished essence within us, a Self from which wisdom, healing, and spiritual energy flow. We rarely experience this Self because it is obscured by self-protective psychological mechanisms, or lost in the fear, pain, and shame of past trauma. Learn to bring the essence of yourself forward with natural compassion and confidence through Internal Family Systems.

The Internal Family Systems (IFS) model helps you access the Self and bring its natural compassion and confidence into daily life. People who have used IFS report profound shifts in previously constraining feelings and beliefs. IFS introduces you to a detailed map of your psyche, including all subpersonalities (parts) and their inner conflicts. The Self then forms healing relationships with each of them. Our inner parts contain valuable qualities and our core Self knows how to heal, allowing us to become integrated and whole. In IFS all parts are welcome.

IFS Resources:

No Bad Parts, by Richard Schwartz

Internal Family Systems Institute 

How an IFS Therapist in Oakland Can Help

Internal Family Systems (IFS) therapy is an evidence-based approach to psychotherapy that recognizes and addresses multiple sub-personalities or parts within each individual. Richard Schwartz, Ph.D., developed it in the 1980s. According to IFS, each individual possesses a core Self that is compassionate, curious, calm, and confident. Alongside this core Self are various parts that have taken on extreme roles in response to life experiences, particularly trauma. IFS aims to restore balance and harmony within the internal system by promoting the leadership of the Self. Here is how IFS therapy can help with various mental health issues:

  • Trauma IFS directly addresses trauma by identifying the parts of the self that are stuck in traumatic memories and helping to heal them. By accessing these wounded parts and listening to their stories and needs in a safe, compassionate space, individuals can begin to unburden or release the extreme roles taken on due to trauma, thus fostering healing.
  • Anxiety: In IFS therapy, anxiety is often seen as coming from parts that are trying to protect the individual from perceived threats. These protector parts may be working overtime to keep the person safe from harm or from re-experiencing past hurts. IFS works by negotiating with these protectors, helping them to relax and trust the Self’s leadership, which can reduce anxiety levels.
  • Chronic Pain: While IFS is not a physical intervention, it recognizes the mind-body connection and understands that emotional pain can manifest physically. Chronic pain can be related to burdened parts that carry emotional wounds. By addressing these burdens and the associated emotional pain, IFS can help alleviate some aspects of physical discomfort.
  • Panic: Panic attacks can be seen as manifestations of parts that are overwhelmed with fear or that are stuck in past situations where the person felt terrified. Through IFS therapy, individuals learn to compassionately approach and soothe these frightened parts, potentially reducing the frequency and intensity of panic attacks.
  • Depression: IFS therapy views depression as often resulting from parts that carry burdens of worthlessness, hopelessness, or overwhelming sadness. These parts may also be trying to protect the individual from feeling these intense emotions. By helping these parts unburden and by reconnecting them with the core Self, IFS can alleviate depressive symptoms.
  • Phobias: Phobias in IFS therapy are seen as protective responses from parts that are trying to keep the individual safe from perceived danger. These parts hold onto beliefs formed from past experiences that have been generalized to current situations. Through IFS, individuals can negotiate with these protective parts, helping them to update their beliefs based on the present reality.
  • Substance Abuse: IFS treats substance abuse as a strategy employed by parts to numb or distract from painful emotions or memories. By identifying and addressing the underlying pain and helping these parts to release their burdens, individuals can find healthier ways to cope and reduce their reliance on substances.
  • Self-Esteem Issues: Low self-esteem is often the result of parts that carry negative beliefs about the self, usually as a result of harmful experiences. IFS helps individuals to unburden these parts and cultivate a more compassionate relationship with themselves, which can improve self-esteem.
  • Emotional Distress: Emotional distress can arise when parts are in conflict or are overwhelmed by their burdens. IFS therapy aims to bring harmony to the internal system by promoting understanding and compassion among parts, thereby reducing emotional distress.

In all these cases, the core tenet of IFS is to foster the leadership of the Self, to approach each part with curiosity, compassion, and care, and to facilitate the healing of burdens so that each part can fulfill its preferred and valuable role within the internal system. This process helps individuals achieve greater mental health and well-being.

How To Get Help From an Oakland IFS Therapist

Are you looking for help from a IFS therapist in Oakland. To see if IFS Therapy is right for you, we work with clients locally in Oakland and throughout California virtually. Visit our contact page or give us a call today to start on the path to happiness and overall well-being.

Onward Leading:
4154 Piedmont Ave #5,
Oakland, CA 94611
(510) 543-0323