Description of Internal Family Systems Therapy
A Revolutionary & Transformative Treatment for Healing of PTSD, Anxiety, Depression, Substance Abuse and More
We all know what it is to feel conflicting emotions – “a part of me wants to …. and then there’s a part of me that doesn’t….” as we grapple with our internal self, desires, and behaviors.
Think about the family of emotions from Pixar’s movie Inside Out – how family of emotions, Joy, Sadness, Fear, Disgust and Anger all interacted inside Riley Anderson’s mind to form her reactions and memories.
Now you are thinking along the lines of IFS – Internal Family Systems Therapy.
Most modes of psychotherapy believe to have “parts” is pathological. NOT in IFS. In IFS the idea of multiplicity of the mind is normal. Every part has a good intention, and every part has value. All clients have the ability to heal themselves if they listen to their parts. IFS is a very powerful tool for clinicians. Once you see it in action, you’ll be hooked! And you’ll want to immediately incorporate it into your practice.
In developing IFS 30 years ago, creator Richard Schwartz, Ph.D., realized that clients were describing experiences with various parts, many extreme, within themselves. When these parts felt safe and had their concerns addressed, they were less disruptive. In developing IFS, he recognized that, as in systemic family theory, parts take on characteristic roles that help define the inner world of the client.
IFS has been heralded as the treatment that all clinicians should know in order to treat clients effectively (van der Kolk 2015).
Join IFS and trauma expert Frank Anderson, MD, colleague of Dr. Bessel van der Kolk and Dr. Richard Schwartz, in this transformational training day and learn of all that IFS therapy can do for you and your clients!
Like Dr. Anderson, after integrating IFS into your work, you will transform your practice. Clients will leave your office feeling healed, with skills to use outside the therapy room to help them master their emotions.
This special day’s training will include experiential exercise, meditation and video demonstration. You will leave transformed!
Internal Family Systems Therapy Objectives
- Integrate the IFS model into your clinical practice and accelerate healing for PTSD, anxiety, depression, substance abuse and eating disorders.
- Develop a deep understanding of how neuroscience informs therapeutic decisions in IFS therapy.
- Identify, specify and clarify the protective parts of clients with trauma histories to help with assessment and treatment planning.
- Offer an alternate view of symptoms and psychopathology, showing how client’s parts are actually trying to protect them from emotional pain and psychological pain.
- Demonstrate how IFS translates common comorbidities into parts language, showing a non-pathological perspective of mental health disorders.
- Integrate IFS with your current treatment approaches including EMDR, DBT, and Sensorimotor Psychotherapy.
What you’ll learn in Internal Family Systems Therapy (IFS)
Internal Family Systems (IFS)
- Origins of IFS – the work of Richard Schwartz, PhD
- A non-pathologizing, accelerated approach rooted in neuroscience
- Apply inner resources and self-compassion for healing
- How to heal implicit memory wounds
- Harness neuroscience for techniques that cure traumatic wounds
The IFS Technique
Step 1: Identifying the Diagnoses & Symptoms
- Assess the diagnoses: PTSD, anxiety, depression, substance abuse and eating disorders
- Apply Meditation practices
- Finding the symptom
- Focusing on its fear
- Separating the person (self) from the symptom
- Becoming curious about it
- Find the real story behind the symptom
Step 2: Gain Access to Internal Strengths & Resources for Healing
- Moving from defensiveness to curiosity
- Access compassion to open the pathways toward healing
- Foster “internal attachment” work
- The “Self” of the therapist-countertransference redefined
Step 3: Healing of the Traumatic Wound
- Three phases to healing the wound:
- Witness the pain
- Remove the wounded part out of the past
- Let go of the feelings, thoughts and beliefs
- Memory reconsolidation & neuroscience
Integrate IFS into Your Treatment Approach
- EMDR, DBT, Sensorimotor and other methods
- Transformation vs adaptation or rehabilitation
- Going beyond the cognitive
- Integrate IFS with your current clinical approach
About Frank Anderson, MD
Frank Anderson, MD, completed his residency and was a clinical instructor in psychiatry at Harvard Medical School. He is both a psychiatrist and psychotherapist and specializes in the treatment of trauma and dissociation. He is passionate about teaching brain-based psychotherapy and integrating current neuroscience knowledge with the IFS model of therapy.
Dr. Anderson is a lead trainer at the IFS Institute with Richard Schwartz and maintains a long affiliation with, and trains for, Bessel van der Kolk’s Trauma Center. He serves as an advisor to the International Association of Trauma Professionals (IATP) and was the former chair and director of the Foundation for Self-Leadership.
Dr. Anderson has lectured extensively on the Neurobiology of PTSD and Dissociation and wrote the chapter “Who’s Taking What” Connecting Neuroscience, Psychopharmacology and Internal Family Systems for Trauma in Internal Family Systems Therapy – New Dimensions. He co-authored a chapter on “What IFS Brings to Trauma Treatment in Innovations and Elaborations in Internal Family Systems Therapy” and recently co-authored Internal Family Systems Skills Training Manual.
Dr. Anderson maintains a private practice in Concord, MA.
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