The Treatment of Trauma and the Internal Family Systems Model: A Full day with Founder Richard Schwartz, Ph.D.
Date: September 9th, 2017 from 9:00 am – 5:00 pm
Location: TBD – Downtown Toronto
Developed over the past three decades, the Internal Family Systems (IFS) model is an evidence-based model that 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 couples and families.
This presentation will provide an introduction to the basics of the IFS model and its use with attachment and trauma. An overview of IFS and its clinical applications will be presented.
The Treatment of Trauma and
The Internal Family Systems Model
Presenter: Richard Schwartz, Ph.D.
The Internal Family Systems (IFS) model is an evidence-based model that offers an empowering and non-pathologizing approach to treating trauma. It helps clients access an undamaged essence from which they heal the parts (subpersonalities) of them that continue to live in shock, pain, and shame.
Many trauma therapies propose that the existence of subpersonalities is a sign of pathology — a consequence of the fragmentation of the psyche by traumatic experiences. In contrast, the IFS model sees all parts as innately valuable components of a healthy mind. Trauma does not create these parts, but instead forces many of them out of their naturally valuable functions and healthy states into protective and extreme roles and makes them lose trust in the leadership of the client’s Self, which in IFS is an inner essence of calm, confidence, clarity, connectedness and creativity.
This essence does not need to be developed or cultivated and is not damaged by trauma. Most people, and particularly trauma clients, have little access to their Self in their daily lives because it is obscured by the protective parts that dominate them. When their parts trust that it is safe to allow their Self to manifest, clients will immediately display those strengths.
The goal then becomes not to eliminate parts but instead to help them relax into the knowledge that they no longer have to be so protective. IFS assists them in realizing that they are no longer under the same level of threat and that there exists a natural inner leader who they can trust. In this way, IFS brings family systems thinking to this internal family, understanding distressed parts in their context, just as family therapists do with problem children, and restoring inner leadership in a way that parallels the creation of secure attachments between parents and children.
Very often, trauma clients hold the belief that they have been so damaged that they will never heal and that their very essence is tarnished. When IFS clients experience that their trauma did not touch their essence and that they don’t have to meditate for years to begin to experience liberation from suffering they feel empowered and released from shame. They also learn that their parts are not what they seem, and that by turning toward parts with compassionate curiosity rather than trying to get rid of them, they transform into valuable qualities.
At the end of this presentation, participants will be able to:
• identify the basic theory and principles of Internal Family Systems therapy
• know how to access their clients’ Self- a core of compassion and other leadership qualities
• deal with client “resistance” more effectively and with less effort
• know how to 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
• identify the effects of trauma on parts and Self
• utilize the model in treating trauma
• gain an awareness of their own parts and how those parts impact therapy
• apply IFS principles to transference and counter-transference
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