IFS is a treatment model created by Richard Schwartz, Ph.D., that I have found to be useful in numerous situations. It is based on the idea that we all have parts and we also have a “self”. Sometimes a part takes over ones’ system instead of allowing the “self” to lead. Some words that describe the “self” are compassionate, creative, curious, confident and connected. The over-arching goal is to lead from “self”.

By getting to know our respective parts, we can work with the tension that arises when we are conflicted. I sometimes use IFS before doing EMDR, because it helps get ones’ system in alignment. For example, a young man came in to process a disconcerting experience with his father. A part of this man felt ambivalent about doing the trauma process because he loves his dad and didn’t want to be disloyal. IFS helped him better understand the part of him that was reluctant to allow the trauma processing, and he was able to reassure the reluctant part that he still loved his father and wanted to continue having a relationship with him even though he wanted to process the disturbing experience.

Some clients do better processing with EMDR and others have excellent results using only IFS and still others do well using a combination of both.