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Internal Family Systems Model

The Internal Family Systems (IFS) model was developed by Richard C. Schwartz in the 1980s and describes an integrative, nonpathological approach to psychotherapy. Schwartz was initially trained in structural family theory, which, along with many other system and individual psychotherapies, influenced the creation of IFS. The premise of IFS is that similar to the complex external family system, individuals are composed of separate and multifaceted internal parts in relationship with each other. IFS’s primary focus is to work with individuals and help differentiate parts or subpersonalities in the mind. IFS is also used with couples and families to understand and explore intrapersonal dynamics that help clients better navigate interpersonal systems. This entry offers insight into the development of the internal family systems model and its ...

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