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what is IFS therapy?

I’m proud to share this conversation with Richard Schwartz, PhD, the founder of the groundbreaking therapy known as Internal Family Systems

My own experiences with IFS have been extraordinary and life-changing. 

For more than nine years, I was practicing IFS with my therapist and didn’t even realize it until recently!

One day, I came across a podcast with a therapist named Richard Schwartz talking about a therapeutic process he developed called Internal Family Systems (IFS).

As he described the process I screamed out loud, “This is what my therapist has been doing for years!” 

Hearing him describe in detail the mission behind IFS and the promise of the practice helped me understand why and how it was working so well for me. 

I became obsessed with IFS. I read every book, went deeper in my own therapy and talked about it to anyone who would listen.

Why was I so obsessed with IFS? Because IFS has been life-altering for me. It’s helped me become a better teacher, a better wife, a better mother, and a better mother to myself. 

And that’s why it was such an honor to have Richard Schwartz come on Dear Gabby BIG TALK and describe his work. I had so many questions to ask him—I could have kept him on the show for hours!

what is IFS?

For those of you unfamiliar with IFS, I want to demystify it for you. IFS is based on the premise that we come into this world with our mind subdivided into a number of parts. 

You know how sometimes it feels like there are different parts of you that show up at different times? 

Like when you’re super annoyed with a loved one and you lash out. 

Or when you’re embarrassed you recoil into a fearful place. 

Or if you ever said, “A part of me wants to just {insert angry response here}.”

I have a controller part. This part has the ability to get a lot done and can take charge when she needs to. She’s an awesome part. She’s the part that wrote 9 books in 10 years.

But in her extreme state, this part of me was having meltdowns on calls with her team. This part was constantly protecting herself and becoming defensive.

In this episode, Richard explains how our parts can be forced into extreme roles through experiences of abuse or trauma. And then as we live out our lives, we try to protect ourselves from experiencing these parts again by placing them into exile. 

But … there are no bad parts. As Richard explains, “They’re all trying their best to keep us safe.”

there are no bad parts

IFS flips the script. Instead of going to battle against our wounded inner parts, we can get curious about them. We can get to know them. And we can connect with our true Self. 

It’s in that state of Self that we can heal those parts. In this way, IFS is a very spiritual practice, as well.

how self showed up for me

Listen now to hear a beautiful story of how SELF showed up for me to heal a wounded part when I was anxious and not able to fall to sleep. 

Plus, Richard and I cover so much more! This episode is packed full!

listen to this episode to learn:
  • An introduction to IFS 
  • How to explore SELF in your own life 
  • The 3 types of parts we all have
  • Why we are so reactive when we’re triggered
  • Why we sometimes turn to addictive behavior
  • The intersection between IFS and spirituality
  • What it means when we spiritually bypass 

special bonus meditation

You’ll want to listen all the way through this BIG TALK! 

We finish our conversation with Richard walking us through an amazing meditation. He guides all of our parts into an open space where healing can begin. It’s so beautiful!  

It was such an honor to be in dialogue with Richard. I’m so thankful for him spending time with me on Dear Gabby BIG TALK. 

His work has forever changed me in the most beautiful way. It’s brought me back to safety and therefore has brought me back to Self. 

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The following are helpful resources and books I mention in the episode. 


This podcast is intended to educate, inspire, and support you on your personal journey towards inner peace. I am not a psychologist or a medical doctor and do not offer any professional health or medical advice. If you are suffering from any psychological or medical conditions, please seek help from a qualified health professional.

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