The Center for Self Leadership

'Internal Family Systems

Year Founded: 1980

Model of Therapy: Internal Family Systems

Available training types: Web-based training

Internal Family Systems (IFS) is a model of therapy developed by Dr. Richard Schwartz. The IFS approach gives comprehensive ideas and guidelines for working with families, individuals, and couples. This model is synthesized from two paradigms--systems thinking and multiplicity of the mind. Built upon already existing approaches, the IFS model views individuals as containing various and equally important "parts", each of which has valuable insight and serves a unique and important purpose. Through various life experiences and family dynamics (to name a few examples) these parts can be forced out of their valuable roles and can reconfigure themselves into an unhealthy mode. Through a process of open-minded, safe, and guided self-discovery and curiosity, IFS works to help the transformation process of naturally returning these parts to more moderate and functional roles. Within the IFS framework, Dr. Richard Schwartz has also observed eight C's of self leadership:  confidence, calmness, creativity, clarity, curiosity, courage, compassion, and connectedness.

About the Founder(s)

  • 'Richard Schwartz, PhD

    Richard Schwartz, PhD

    Dr. Richard Schwartz earned his doctorate in Marriage and Family Therapy at Purdue University. Over the past thirty years, he has researched individuals, families, marriages, and other relationships, as well as developed Internal Family Systems (IFS). The goal of Internal Family Systems is to help people reconnect with their core self--the state of confidence, calmness, creativity, clarity, curiosity, courage, compassion, and connectedness. IFS also helps people work in a compassionate and holistic way with the protective parts of themselves that interfere with embodying the emotional and physical state of self.

    Dr. Scwartz is the founder of “The Center for Self Leadership,” which is located in Oak Park, Illinois. The Center offers three levels of training, as well as workshops and multinational workshops for individuals and professionals. A great speaker, Dr. Schwartz is an American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy fellow. He is a featured speaker in many psychotherapy organizations and an editor for four journals. He has published more than 50 articles and four books: Introduction to Internal Family System Model, Internal Family Systems Therapy, Metaframeworks and also The Mosaic Mind. Additionally, Dr. Schwartz runs a private practice in Oak Park.

  • Founder / Lead Developer: Richard Schwartz, PhD
  • Executive Director: Jon Schwartz, MEd
  • Address: PO Box 3969, Oak Park, IL 60303
  • Phone: 708-383-2659
  • Website:

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