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Jan 28th - So, You Only Have Eight Sessions, What Do You Do? Integrating Evidence Based Practices in Time-Limited Psychotherapy/Counselling [SickKids CCMH Learning Institute]
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Events and Happenings
If you have an event that you would like to see listed here, send an e-mail at [email protected]. (Listings are free!)
Saturday, June 9th 2018

Using the Internal Family Systems Model to Treat Trauma and Couples

Richard Schwartz, Ph.D.
presented by Derek Scott and the Center for Self-Leadership

9:00 am – 5:00 pm
Location: Downtown Toronto YWCA – 87 Elm Street Toronto, Nancy Auditorium
Cost: $225
Approved for 7 CECs
Register at

The Internal Family Systems model offers a new, empowering paradigm both for healing trauma and for helping couples. Often one cannot be done without the other—i.e. couples cannot connect lastingly unless they each heal their inner wounds and effective work with trauma clients often involves factoring in their partners or considerations of how to engage in relationships.

Many of the impasses couples face are the result of a set of cultural beliefs about each other. We have all been taught that our romantic partner should end our misery and make us feel happy and alive. When he or she doesn't we wonder if they're the right one or if there’s something wrong with us.

The clients who come to see us are victims of this set of beliefs and feel discouraged because they don’t realize that no partner is capable of keeping our heads above the pools of pain and shame we bring to our intimate relationships caused by the traumas we suffered earlier in life; be they capital “T” traumas or the more common and familiar experiences of shame that may be engendered by unsupported problematic life events. They also don’t realize that they have the power to drain those pools and become the primary caretakers for the young, needy parts of them that are drowning in those pools.

Once this inner shift is achieved, partners can love each other courageously and unconditionally because they don't need the other to always do the heavy lifting of their spirits. Released from being each others primary emotional caretaker, they can revel in the freedom that comes with being the secondary one, and be relieved from the distress that can result from their partner’s periodic unavailability.

In this workshop we will first focus on the healing of severe trauma and sexual abuse, emphasizing how to help clients trust it is safe to go to the parts of them that carry the traumatic memories and emotions without being overwhelmed and how to safely unload the extreme emotions and beliefs those parts carry. Then we will explore how this healing work can be done in the context of couple’s therapy, and/or how individuals in relationship can learn how to attend to their own parts and communicate their inner reality in a way that engages their partner and breaks the habitual blame/shame dynamics that are characteristic of a personality system led by protective parts.


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