The Internal Family Systems (IFS) model is an evidence-based, empowering approach to treating trauma. It offers a way to help even severely traumatized individuals access an undamaged essence (the “Self”) from which they can spontaneously relate to the parts of them that carry extreme emotions and beliefs with compassion, which allows the parts to transform. These “parts” (angry, self-destructive, compliant, etc.) evolved to help the self-survive. These are not “bad” parts, but internal organizations that stubbornly cling to their old function, even when it’s no longer helpful for survival & thriving. The activities of protective parts can be negotiated with, rather than as controlled or extirpated as pathological processes.
• Identify the theory and principles of Internal Family Systems therapy.
• Summarize how to access clients’ self- a core of compassion and other leadership qualities.
• Explain how to deal with client “resistance” more effectively and with less effort.
• Utilize the clients’ self to repair attachment injuries.
• Recognize the IFS model as an internal attachment model.
• Identify the parallels between external and internal attachment styles.
• Describe the effects of trauma on parts and Self.
• Utilize the model in treating trauma.
• Show an awareness of their own parts and how those parts impact therapy.
• Apply IFS principles to transference and counter-transference.
• Multiplicity & the Self
• Evolution of the IFS approach
• Multiplicity of the mind
• Stumbling on to the self
• Internal Family System (IFS) with Trauma
• Protector parts and exiles
• IFS technique:
• Honoring protectors
• Dealing with the overwhelm
• Witness and retrieve exiles
• Unburden trauma memories, beliefs and emotions
• Video example extensive review of technique
• Introduce parts language
• Steps toward helping client access self
• Help client get to know protectors
• Get permission to go to exiles
• Common protector fears
• IFS + MDMA research studies
• Integration of MDMA
• Therapist-client relationship
• Keys to work safely with trauma clients
About the Presenters:
Richard Schwartz, Ph.D., earned his Ph.D. in marriage and family therapy from Purdue University, after which he began a long association with the Institute for Juvenile Research at the University of Illinois at Chicago, and more recently at The Family Institute at Northwestern University, attaining the status of associate professor at both institutions. He is co-author, with Michael Nichols, of Family Therapy: Concepts and Methods, the most widely used family therapy text in the United States.
Dr. Schwartz developed Internal Family Systems in response to clients’ descriptions of experiencing various parts – many extreme – within themselves. He noticed that when these parts felt safe and had their concerns addressed, they were less disruptive and would accede to the wise leadership of what Dr. Schwartz came to call the “Self.” In developing IFS, he recognized that, as in systemic family theory, parts take on characteristic roles that help define the inner world of the clients. The coordinating Self, which embodies qualities of confidence, openness, and compassion, acts as a center around which the various parts constellate. Because IFS locates the source of healing within the client, the therapist is freed to focus on guiding the client’s access to his or her true Self and supporting the client in harnessing its wisdom. This approach makes IFS a non-pathologizing, hopeful framework within which to practice psychotherapy. It provides an alternative understanding of psychic functioning and healing that allows for innovative techniques in relieving clients symptoms and suffering.
In 2000, Richard Schwartz founded The Center for Self Leadership in Oak Park, Illinois. Dr. Schwartz is a featured speaker for many national psychotherapy organizations and a fellow of the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy, and he serves on the editorial boards of four professional journals. He has published four books and over 50 articles about IFS. His books include Internal Family Systems Therapy, Introduction to the Internal Family Systems Model, and The Mosaic Mind (with Regina Goulding), as well as Metaframeworks (with Doug Breunlin and Betty Karrer). Dr. Schwartz lives and practices in Brookline, MA and is on the faculty of the Department of Psychiatry, Harvard School of Medicine.
Michael Mithoefer, MD, clinical assistant professor of psychiatry at the Medical University of South Carolina. In 2009 he completed the first FDA approved clinical trial of MDMA-assisted psychotherapy for treatment-resistant PTSD and is conducting a second study of MDMA-assisted psychotherapy in military veterans, firefighters and police officers with PTSD.