In this interview, Dr. Bessel van der Kolk talks with Richard Schwartz, Ph.D., developer and founder of Internal Family Systems (IFS) – hailed by Dr. van der Kolk as “the treatment method that all clinicians should know to treat clients effectively”.
Listen to Dr. Schwartz’s discovery of IFS through his work with families and the roles that individuals play in a family system. Within an individual, these same roles exist as parts – all of which serve important and purposeful functions. Drs. van der Kolk and Schwartz identify each part and the role they play, illustrate the relationships between them, and stress the importance of honoring and welcoming all parts in helping clients.
Through role play, observe how Dr. Schwartz uses IFS in therapy. Find tips, tricks, and resources that you can use to begin your journey using this treatment modality for your traumatized clients or gain additional insight for the seasoned IFS practitioner.
Bessel A. van der Kolk, M.D., is a clinician, researcher and teacher in the area of post-traumatic stress. His work integrates developmental, neurobiological, psychodynamic and interpersonal aspects of the impact of trauma and its treatment.
Dr. van der Kolk and his various collaborators have published extensively on the impact of trauma on development, such as dissociative problems, borderline personality and self-mutilation, cognitive development, memory, and the psychobiology of trauma. He has published over 150 peer reviewed scientific articles on such diverse topics as neuroimaging, self-injury, memory, neurofeedback, Developmental Trauma, yoga, theater, and EMDR.
He is founder of the Trauma Center in Brookline, Massachusetts, and President of the Trauma Research Foundation, which promotes clinical, scientific, and educational projects.
His 2014 #1 New York Times best seller, The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Treatment of Trauma, transforms our understanding of traumatic stress, revealing how it literally rearranges the brain’s wiring – specifically areas dedicated to pleasure, engagement, control, and trust. He shows how these areas can be reactivated through innovative treatments including neurofeedback, somatically based therapies, EMDR, psychodrama, play, yoga, and other therapies.
Dr. van der Kolk is the past president of the International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies, and professor of psychiatry at Boston University Medical School. He regularly teaches at conferences, universities, and hospitals around the world.
Financial: Bessel van der Kolk is a professor of psychiatry at the Boston University School of Medicine. He receives a speaking honorarium from PESI, Inc.
Non-financial: Bessel van der Kolk has no relevant non-financial relationship to disclose.
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 Skills Training Manual (with Frank Anderson, M.D. and Martha Sweezy, Ph.D) (PESI, 2017), Internal Family Systems Therapy (Guilford Press, 1997), Introduction to the Internal Family Systems Model (Tarcher, 2001), and The Mosaic Mind (with Regina Goulding) (Trailheads, 2003), as well as Metaframeworks (with Doug Breunlin and Betty Karrer) (Jossey-Bass, 1997). Dr. Schwartz lives and practices in Brookline, MA and is on the faculty of the Department of Psychiatry, Harvard School of Medicine.
Financial: Richard Schwartz is the Founder of The Center for Self Leadership. He receives a speaking honorarium from PESI, Inc.
Non-financial: Richard Schwartz is a Fellow and member of the American Association for Marital and Family Therapy.
Course Requirement: Bessel van der Kolk, Richard C. Schwartz – Bessel van der Kolk Trauma Interview Series: Richard Schwartz, Ph.D., Developer and Founder of Internal Family Systems (IFS)
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