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The internal family systems (IFS) model is an integrative approach to treatment that focuses on healing wounds associated with individual, couple, and family trauma. Developed from the foundational principles of Sigmund Freud’s ego states, transactional analysis, and psychosynthesis, this approach uses enactments, recognition of active parts, direct access, and a multitude of imaging techniques to improve the clients’ internal and external relationships.

Historical Context

The IFS model was developed in the mid-1990s by Richard C. Schwartz, marriage and family therapist and founder of the Center for Self Leadership in Illinois. IFS has been researched in multiple studies and has been shown to be effective for treating trauma in individuals, couples, and families. With divorce rates in Westernized societies reported to be high (more than 50% in ...

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