Applying family systems concepts to the intrapsychic realm, the Internal Family Systems (IFS) model proposes that individuals' subpersonalities interact and change in many of the same ways as do families and other human groups. Seasoned practitioner Richard C. Schwartz illuminates how parts of a person can form paralyzing inner alliances resembling the destructive coalitions found in dysfunctional families, and provides straightforward guidelines for incorporating the IFS model into treatment. A valuable text and clinical resource, the book demonstrates in step-by-step detail how therapists can help individuals, couples, and families tap core resources, bring balance and harmony to their subpersonalities, and feel more integrated, confident, and alive.
About the Author
Richard C. Schwartz, PhD, began his career as a family therapist and an academic, at the University of Illinois and at Northwestern University. In the early 1980s he developed the Internal Family Systems model (IFS) in response to clients’ descriptions of various parts within themselves, finding that their relationships resembled the families he had worked with. In 2000, he founded the Center for Self Leadership, which offers three levels of trainings in IFS in the United States and abroad. Since 2012, Dr. Schwartz has lived in Brookline, Massachusetts, and is on the faculty at Harvard Medical School. A featured speaker for national professional organizations, Dr. Schwartz has published five books and over 50 articles about IFS.
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
Psychotherapists working with individuals, couples, and families, as well as students in mental health fields. Serves as a text for advanced courses in psychotherapy and family therapy.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
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.