​Phone: 631.332.2213
Email: Suezola@me.com
Licensed in New York and Florida


Internal Family Systems (IFS) 

What is Internal Family Systems (IFS)?
The IFS Institute defines Internal Family Systems as, “a transformative, evidence-based psychotherapy that helps people heal by accessing and loving their protective and wounded inner parts.”

What are Parts?
Everyone has an unknown number of parts and a Self. Parts are functional, and all parts are good. There are two types of parts: protective parts and vulnerable parts.

Vulnerable parts are the parts that hold painful emotional states and negative beliefs about themselves from experiences that hurt them in the past. Exiles are these vulnerable parts that allow us to continue to be able to function rather than being overwhelmed by the pain. Exiles are stuck in the past.

Protective parts are the parts that work to protect vulnerable parts from being activated/triggered. In this way they attempt to protect us from the pain of the vulnerable parts. Managers and Firefighters are the two types of protective parts. Managers work in a pre-emptive way and look ahead to the future to keep the vulnerable parts back. Firefighters operate in a reactive way and shove vulnerable parts down when they try to show themselves. Firefighters are only concerned with the present.

Traits of each Part:

- Pre-Emptive
- Proactive
- Future-oriented
- Focused on planning and controlling

- Reactive
- Present-Oriented
- Only spring into action when an Exile is triggered
- Uses impulsive, compulsive, or addictive behaviors

- Past-Oriented
- Overwhelming
- Painful

What is the Self?
The core of one’s being. Its qualities are listed as the “8 C’s”.
1. Calmness
2. Curiosity
3. Compassion
4. Confidence
5. Courage
6. Clarity
7. Connectedness
8. Creativity

How does IFS work?

IFS works by helping the individual identify and understand the different parts of yourself. The goal is to have the person in treatment focus on their parts and identify how they feel about those parts, and the reason for the parts actions. Usually, the parts actions are to help the person in treatment deal with any difficulties being experienced. From this point, the person in treatment may ask the part if it would be willing to stop its actions in place of healthy and effective coping mechanisms.

Recommended IFS Resources:

  • No Bad Parts: Healing Trauma and Restoring Wholeness with the Internal Family Systems Model by Richard Schwartz.
  • Introduction to the Internal Family Systems Model by Richard Schwartz.
  • Somatic Internal Family Systems Therapy: Awareness, Breath, Movement, and Touch in Practice by Susan McConnell, CIFST.
  • Transcending Trauma: Healing Complex PTSD with Internal Family Systems Therapy by Frank G. Anderson.
  • Internal Family Systems Therapy by Richard Schwartz and Martha Sweezy
  • The Mosaic Mind: Empowering the Tormented Selves of Child Abuse by Regina A. Goulding and Richard Schwartz
  • You Are The One You’ve Been Waiting For: Bringing Courageous Love To Intimate Relationships by Richard Schwartz
  • Many Minds, One Self: Evidence for a Radical Shift in Paradigm by Richard Schwartz and Robert R. Falconer
  • There’s a Part of Me… By John Schwartz and Bill Brennan.
  • Parts Work: An Illustrated Guide to your Inner Life by Tom Holmes, PhD.
  • Resolving Inner Conflict: Working through Polarization using Internal Family Systems Therapy by Jay Earley, PhD.
  • Working with Anger in Internal Family Systems Therapy by Jay Earley, PhD.
  • Fire Drill Meditation by Richard Schwartz, PhD

  • Internal Family Systems (IFS): A Guided Meditation from PESI, Inc. by Frank Guastella Anderson, MD 

  • Self Healing Guided Meditation: Internal Family Systems from Inner Peace Meditations

  • The Path Meditation by Richard Schwartz featuring Ted's Garden

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Susan Zola, LCSW, CCPS, CSAT

T: 631-332-2213
E: suezola@me.com
Licensed in New York and Florida


Bachelor of Arts, Psychology – SUNY Binghamton, 1980
Master of Social Work – Adelphi University School of Social Work, 1982.
Private Practice – "Mind Over Matters," 2006.
LCSW License #078530-1
APSATS The Association of Partners of Sex Addicts Trauma Specialists
Certified Sex Addiction Therapist
The International Institute for Trauma and Addiction Professionals
Certified Clinical Partner Specialist

Susan Zola Clinical Partner Certification
Couples Therapy IFS

Susan Zola, LCSW, CCPS, CSAT
Licensed in NY and FL

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