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Describes viewing individuals as systems/the therapist- client relationship/working w/families/taxonomy of families.
Posted October 9, 2012
For those interested in finding out more about the Internal Family Systems Model of psychotherapy, this book is quite simply a seminal text. First published in 1995, Dr Schwartz begins by describing how, when working as a family therapist in the US in the 1980s, his clients seemed to make good progress in the early weeks of therapy, but then would plateau and make limited further headway. Schwartz was puzzled by this, and after much soul-searching, turned to his clients for an explanation. It soon emerged they each appeared to possess a unique population of inner personalities, most of which carried out specific functions. Furthermore, each had a core self that never lost its potential to lead their internal system, even in cases where the person had been subjected to experiences such as trauma, neglect, exploitation or abuse. The book goes on to describe how, when working with clients with eating disorders, he was able to help the extreme aspects of their character and guide them towards a more harmonious collaboration, characterised by reduced symptoms and an improved sense of wellbeing. Dr Schwartz explains: ‘All parts are valuable and want to play constructive inner roles. They are forced into extreme and destructive roles by external influences [but] will gratefully find or return to preferred, valuable roles once they believe it is safe to do so.’ IFS comes across as a model of therapy that is collaborative, non-pathologising and compassionate, which takes clients on fascinating journeys into their inner and outer worlds, increasing insight and releasing resources at every turn. It has certainly contributed immeasurably to my own psychotherapy practice.
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Posted February 9, 2010
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