This presentation will provide a brief review of the basics of the IFS model by Richard Schwartz, PhD, who developed the model, then will focus in detail on its use with attachment and trauma. IFS is a non-pathologizing, hopeful framework within which to practice psychotherapy now certified as an evidence-based practice by SAMHSA. IFS offers both a conceptual umbrella under which a variety of practices and different approaches can be grounded and guided, and a set of original techniques for creating safety and fostering Self-to-Self connection in individuals, couples and families.
The first day of the workshop will focus on helping clients release personal burdens related to traumatic experiences in their lives. An overview of the clinical applications of IFS in trauma work will be presented. You will learn through didactic teaching, interactive dialogue, demonstration and live interviews.
During the second day, the focus will be on understanding and releasing legacy burdens. Legacy burdens are powerful organizers of our minds and behaviors. You will become more aware of the beliefs and emotions we and our clients absorb from family, peers, ethnic groups and cultural contexts regarding ourselves and/or groups with whom we identify, as well as groups we consider “other.” We will explore the sources of those burdens and the fears of releasing them. This work is critically important to create more peace and less divisiveness in our often fractured world.
Grounded in systems thinking, Dr. Schwartz developed Internal Family Systems in response to clients’ descriptions of various parts within themselves. He focused on the systemic relationships patterns among these parts that were similarly organized across clients. He found that when clients’ parts felt safe and were allowed to relax, they would experience spontaneously the qualities of confidence, openness, and compassion that Dr. Schwartz came to call the Self. He will show us how to support clients in that state of Self, to facilitate their healing of their own parts.
About the Presenter
Richard C. Schwartz, PhD, began his career as a family therapist and an academic at the University of Illinois at Chicago. There he discovered that family therapy alone did not achieve full symptom relief and in asking patients why, he learned that they were plagued by what they called “parts.” These patients became his teachers as they described how their parts formed networks of inner relationship that resembled the families he had been working with. He also found that as they focused on and, thereby, separated from their parts, they would shift into a state characterized by qualities like curiosity, calm, confidence and compassion. He called that inner essence the Self and was amazed to find it even in severely diagnosed and traumatized patients. From these explorations the Internal Family Systems (IFS) model was born in the early 1980s.
IFS is now evidence-based and has become a widely-used form of psychotherapy, particularly with trauma. It provides a non-pathologizing, optimistic, and empowering perspective and a practical and effective set of techniques for working with individuals, couples, families, and more recently, corporations and classrooms.
In 2013 Dr. Schwartz left the Chicago area and now lives in Brookline, MA where he is on the faculty of the Department of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School.