About Internal Family Systems (IFS)

Fran is one of only a handful of therapists on Vancouver Island who are trained in Internal Family Systems (IFS), an innovative approach developed by psychologist Dr. Richard Schwartz. While she uses other approaches as well, an explanation of IFS is offered by way of introduction to a new way of thinking about therapy.

IFS is a non-pathologizing and hopeful style of therapy that recognizes a competent and compassionate core Self within every person. This model of therapy assumes that each person also has within them any number of other parts which may show up as anger, anxiety, fear, judgment, and so on, and that once these parts are relieved of their suffering, they are transformed.

Internal Family Systems provides a clear, step-by-step approach for exploring and resolving many different kinds of personal issues:

  • Get to know and begin to name your various parts
  • Target specific problems or issues you’d like resolved
  • Get to know and experience your Inner Self, with its competence, stability, and calm
  • Access deep emotional healing of your parts through experience with your Inner Self
  • As parts experience relief, they transform into inner resources of strength, creativity, and energy.

Here’s what Fran says about IFS:

I’ve found that IFS provides a refreshing and new way to look at myself, others, and the therapeutic relationship. The process is respectful of the individual’s experience of the problem, and trusts the person’s Inner Self to know what needs to happen. Clients have responded so well to IFS that I’m now using the process extensively in my practice. I find it highly effective in both individual and couples therapy.

For people living in remote communities, or anyone who can’t attend the office in person, IFS is suitable for long-distance counselling.  Fran uses the secure OnCall Health videoconferencing platform which partners with Zoom, which many people are already familiar with.  IFS sessions can be set up anywhere internet is available.

If you want to learn more about Internal Family Systems, check out an article that Fran wrote for “Insights,” the magazine of the B.C. Association of Clinical Counsellors.  You’ll find it at http://bc-counsellors.org/app/uploads/2015/07/Finding-Self-How-Internal-Family-Systems-has-Transformed-Me-and-My-Practice-Fran-Ferguson-Fall-2017.pdf

You can also check outwww.selfleadership.org (where you’ll find a video by founder Richard Schwartz on how he came to develop the model), or this short you-tube video created by Bruce Hersey…