Internal family systems (IFS) – reading list

Internal family systems (IFS) is a revolutionary form of psychotherapy developed by Dr. Richard Schwartz in the 1980s. This approach views the human mind as a complex, interconnected system of “sub-personalities” or “parts,” each with its own unique perspective, emotions, and behaviours.

While IFS and ACT have distinct theoretical foundations and techniques, they can be effectively combined in clinical practice to provide a comprehensive and holistic approach to mental health and personal growth. Here are some books that you may find useful to learn more about internal family systems (IFS) therapy.

  • “Internal family systems therapy” by Richard C. Schwartz and Martha Sweezy. This is the primary textbook on IFS covering the theory, principles, and application of IFS in depth.
  • “Self-therapy: A step-by-step guide to creating wholeness and healing your inner child using IFS, A new, cutting-edge psychotherapy” by Jay Earley. This is considered one of the seminal books on IFS, providing a comprehensive overview of the model and a step-by-step guide for self-application.
  • “No bad parts: Healing trauma and restoring wholeness with the internal family systems model” by Richard Schwartz and Josette ten Have-de Labije. A more recent book that provides an updated perspective on using IFS to heal trauma and encourage wholeness.
  • “The adolescent and adult neuro-diversity handbook: Asperger’s syndrome, ADHD, dyslexia, dyspraxia and related conditions” by Sarah Hendrickx. Explores how IFS can be applied to work with neurodivergent clients.
  • “Parts work: An illustrated guide to your inner life” by Tom Holmes. A practical, illustrated guide that introduces the IFS model and how to work with different personality parts.
  • “Greater than the sum of our parts: Discovering your true self through internal family systems therapy” by Richard Schwartz. Provides an accessible overview of the IFS model and how to apply it.

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