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Inner Parts artwork to represent IFS Therapy

What is IFS Therapy 

        IFS therapy conceptualizes the psyche as a system comprised of different inner parts. According to this approach, individuals possess various internal parts that hold different emotions, beliefs, and perspectives. These parts are organized in a complex system where some parts may dominate while others remain hidden or suppressed. IFS therapy emphasizes the belief that each part has a positive intention and a valuable role to play within the individual's internal system. By acknowledging and exploring these inner parts with compassion and curiosity, clients can find results through the unburdening process. Unburdening and other IFS concepts were discovered and developed by the founder of Internal Family Systems Therapy (IFS), Dr. Richard Schwartz, in the 1980s. 

        In Patti Bee's experience working with clients within the IFS Therapy Model the past 10+ years, there are three areas of "access expertise" that IFS Therapy offers and that IFS Therapist's hold.   IFS Therapy offers 1) Deep Subconscious Access. This is the deep subconscious material that is unknown and most often contributing to the motivation of thoughts, behaviors and patterns of an inner part, which are driving the old pattern.  2) Dialoguing Access, which is the inner dialogue that happens with an inner part. This is done slowly and with skill, to create space for inner parts to be able to take in new updates. This is when an inner part changes its mind, change its feelings and or change its behaviors, and this is one of the ways issues get resolved. And then, 3) Deep Nervous System Access, which ensures you are not just in your head as you do this deep work, trying to figure this out from a cognitive place. That would just be more of the same thing when trying to do this all on your own. If you could have resolved the old issue from trying to think your way out of it, you would have healed this already. 

        What's unique in IFS Therapy is that the deep subconscious dialogue builds trust with inner parts, and that trust is what allows the inner part to take in new updates about previous inaccurate conclusions from long ago. But this has to be done with precise timing and expertise to first honor the immediate needs of the inner part. Again this is the Dialoguing Access expertise, that will then ensure that the therapy is properly guided to where the inner part will reveal the hidden motivations, and skewed conclusions that are fueling the stuck pattern; staying stuck.  


Patti Bee, LPC, is an IFS Therapist that has this type of tenure within this psychotherapy model, to guide that process.  Patti's previous personal growth work has included Professional Intuitive Training and practice the past 20 years, Shamanism study & practice the past 30 years, and her own inner parts work in various other inner parts models for 30 years, prior to finding IFS; 13 years ago. Patti combines those skill areas with her professional training as Licensed Professional Counselor, as well as the numerous Trauma-Informed trainings for  nervous system repair, right along side of her seasoned IFS Therapy work.


IFS Therapy ushers you to be connected inwardly to your deep subconscious, while simultaneously being connected to your nervous system, while guiding a productive inner dialogue. This way the therapy is truly depth therapy that keeps you present in the process where real change can occur.  In Patti's opinion, the combination of those three levels of inner connection are the reason IFS therapy garners real results and resolves old patterns of those "last hanger-on issues." 


A study by Guay et al. (2018) found that IFS therapy was effective in reducing symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and depression among individuals who had experienced childhood trauma. Another study by Price et al. (2019) indicated that IFS therapy was effective in reducing symptoms of anxiety and depression in a sample of adults. These findings suggest that IFS therapy can be beneficial in addressing a wide range of mental health concerns.


Clients who engage in IFS therapy often report various positive outcomes and results. One of the key benefits is the development of self-compassion and self-acceptance. Through the process of exploring their parts, clients learn to embrace and integrate different aspects of themselves. This leads to a greater sense of wholeness and reduces self-judgment. Clients also gain better emotional regulation skills as they learn to navigate their internal conflicts and manage overwhelming emotions more effectively

Because of this, IFS is considered one of the premier mental health treatment services available. Even clients that began with IFS Therapy criticism, once offered IFS Therapy training on how to engage with their inner parts; have successfully embarked on a transformative journey towards better mental health and well-being. 



Guay, S., Billette, V., Marchand, A., & Drapeau, M. (2018). A randomized controlled trial of an individual internal family systems–based therapeutic intervention on posttraumatic stress disorder and depressive symptoms in a sample of adult survivors of childhood sexual abuse. Journal of Traumatic Stress.

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