Internal Family Systems Therapy / Edition 1by Richard C. Schwartz
Pub. Date: 07/28/1997
Publisher: Guilford Publications, Inc.
Richard C. Schwartz applies systems concepts of family therapy to the intrapsychic realm. The result is a new understanding of the nature of people's subpersonalities and how they operate as an inner ecology, a s well as a new method for helping people change their inner worlds. C alled the Internal Family Systems (IFS) model, this approach is based on the premise
Richard C. Schwartz applies systems concepts of family therapy to the intrapsychic realm. The result is a new understanding of the nature of people's subpersonalities and how they operate as an inner ecology, a s well as a new method for helping people change their inner worlds. C alled the Internal Family Systems (IFS) model, this approach is based on the premise that people's subpersonalities interact and change in m any of the same ways that families or other human groups do. The model provides a usable map of this intrapsychic territory and explicates i ts parallels with family interactions.
Table of Contents
INTRODUCTION: JOURNEY TOWARD A NEW MODEL
1. The Basic Concepts: Multiplicity and Systems
2. Viewing Individuals as Systems
3. Changing the Internal System
4. Methods of Inner Work: In-Sight and Direct Access
5. Case Example
6. The Model's View of Families
7. Working with Families
8. Applying the Model at the Cultural and Societal Levels
9. Final Questions and Recommendations
A. Summary Outline for Working with Individuals.
B. Glossary of Concepts.
C. Bibliography of Models of Multiplicity
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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.