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Harmony in Healing: Integrating EMDR and IFS Therapies

Updated: Apr 21

Unlocking the Healing Symphony

In the ever-evolving world of psychotherapy, the integration of Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) and Internal Family Systems (IFS) therapies emerges as a harmonious symphony, a transformative approach that goes beyond traditional methods. Let's delve into the essential goals, foundational principles, and the empirical support that underscores the power of aligning these two influential therapeutic models.

Essential Goals and Foundational Principles:

The integration of EMDR and IFS aims to harness the synergy between the Adaptive Information Processing (AIP) model and the Internal Family Systems model. By combining the strengths of both approaches, therapists unlock a comprehensive method for healing trauma, anxiety, and various psychological wounds. The essential goals revolve around facilitating emotion regulation, promoting adaptive connections, and creating a collaborative therapeutic environment.

Integrating EMDR & IFS Therapies
IFS-Inspired EMDR Therapy

Who is a Good Fit for This Approach?

This integrative approach is inclusive, welcoming therapists and healing professionals at all levels of expertise. Whether you are a novice seeking guidance or an expert looking to deepen your skills, aligning EMDR and IFS models offers a transformative journey towards holistic healing.

Guiding Your Path to IFS-Informed EMDR: Guidance for Therapists

For therapists navigating the terrain of integrating IFS with EMDR, Stacy Ruse, LPC, provides insightful guidance. Her course offers a roadmap tailored for therapists, ensuring a safe and effective application of tools and techniques. The emphasis on safe-to-use methods and a nuanced understanding of Parts and Self concepts sets the stage for an enriching therapeutic experience.

A Roadmap for IFS-Inspired EMDR: 8 Phase Approach

Phase 1: Understanding Your Client

Begin with a deep dive into understanding clients, their goals, and expectations. Acknowledge the Self as the greatest healing force, guided by the 8 C's. Stacy Ruse introduces therapists to the concept of a Self-led therapist through the 5 P's, emphasizing case conceptualization and readiness factors.

Phase 2: Engagement and Building Trust

Stabilize the therapeutic journey by introducing the model(s), building connections, and sensing into safety. Develop tools such as the Parts- and Self-detector, allowing therapists to courageously speak for parts and provide Self-led feedback.

Phase 3: Resourcing and Unblending

Explore the mechanism of actions behind Bilateral Stimulation (BLS) and delve into state change and resource development techniques. The 6 F's guide therapists in understanding and unblending with parts, culminating in the Light Stream Protocol.

Phase 4: Getting Permission, Trailheads, and Target Selection

Delve into the intricacies of how parts use the Mind & Brain, gaining permission from the protective system, and identifying trailheads for target selection. Effectively work with Protector concerns through guided meditations, fostering a deeper understanding of each client's internal landscape.

Phase 5: Witnessing, Processing, and Self

Navigate the realms of trauma, wounding, and exiles, leveraging Adaptive Information Processing and memory consolidation. Desensitization tools, such as Blocking Beliefs, guide therapists in addressing exile concerns, creating a powerful foundation for the IFS unburdening process.

Phases 6 & 7: Retrieval, Unburden, Body Scan, & Invitation

Connect with exiles, retrieve parts, and understand techniques like do-overs and rescue missions. The Body Scan exercise offers an experimental exploration, helping therapists navigate residuals and trailheads.

Phase 8: Integration and Evaluation

Conclude the journey with appreciation for parts, address common concerns, and employ closing techniques that seamlessly integrate the work. Stacy Ruse showcases the power of checking back and noticing changes, providing a holistic view through a full IFS-Informed EMDR session.

Facts and Research on the Integration:

Numerous studies have highlighted the efficacy of integrating EMDR and IFS therapies. Research indicates that the combination can enhance emotion regulation, reduce symptoms, and foster a sense of empowerment in clients. The AIP model's emphasis on adaptive processing aligns seamlessly with the IFS model's goal of transforming wounded parts into harmonious contributors to the internal system.

Conclusion: An Alchemy of Healing

In the intricate dance of therapeutic modalities, the integration of EMDR and IFS stands as an alchemy of healing, unlocking the transformative potential within each client. Stacy Ruse's comprehensive approach provides therapists with practical tools and a nuanced understanding of the therapeutic landscape, fostering a collaborative and empowering journey towards resilience and well-being. Join this transformative integration and harmonize the symphony of healing for your clients and yourself.

With love, AGLOW

Stacy Ruse, LPC

Stacy Ruse, LPC, is an esteemed Evergreen EMDR consultant, IFS-Institute consultant, and founder of Aglow Counseling. Stacy teaches a therapeutic style that is characterized by the art of EMDR & IFS therapies with a transpersonal twist, transcending the conventional boundaries of traditional therapy. Her holistic approach acknowledges the interconnectedness of mind, body, and spirit allowing individuals to tap into their innate resilience and ignite their personal transformation journey. As a trauma expert, national and international trainer, and clinical consultant, Stacy's approach is deeply rooted in trauma-informed methodologies.


AGLOW is a global hub for therapists and the world. Led by trauma expert Stacy Ruse, LPC, providing training, consultation, and counseling services. Specializing in EMDR, IFS, & Transpersonal therapies to inspire therapists and individuals alike.


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