Full Course Description
Treating Complex Trauma with Internal Family Systems (IFS)
- Integrate the IFS model into your clinical practice and accelerate the healing from complex trauma.
- Identify, specify and clarify the protective parts of clients with trauma histories to help with assessment and treatment planning.
- Offer an alternative 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.
- Communicate how IFS increases the therapist’s curious and compassionate self when working with clients who have trauma histories.
- Differentiate a therapeutic issue from a biological condition for better decision making in your clinical practice.
- Compare traditional attachment theory perspectives on healing to the IFS view (an internal attachment model) and learn to trust the clients’ internal relationship to heal their traumatic wounds.
- Understand how to respond to the extreme symptoms of trauma by determining if they are rooted in sympathetic activation or parasympathetic withdrawal.
- Demonstrate IFS specific therapeutic techniques that shift arousal and withdrawal, allowing quicker access to clients’ traumatic vulnerabilities.
- Develop a deep understanding of how neuroscience informs therapeutic decisions in IFS therapy.
- Integrate IFS with your current treatment approaches including EMDR, DBT, and Sensorimotor Psychotherapy.
- Compare IFS to traditional phase-oriented treatment and learn accelerated ways of accessing and healing traumatic wounds.
Treating the Various Types of Trauma
- Acute trauma
- Complex or relational trauma
- Developmental and attachment traumas
- Extreme or dissociative trauma
Internal Family Systems (IFS): Healing of Emotional Wounds
- The origins, goals & assumptions
- A non-pathologizing, accelerated approach, rooted in neuroscience
- Different from phase-oriented treatment
- The importance of our protective responses
- Deal with emotional overwhelm head-on
- Multiplicity of the mind – we all have parts
- Healing at the cellular level
Study limitations: small sample size, no control group
Clinical considerations for clients experiencing abuse
Manage Common Co-Morbidities
- Depression, panic attacks, substance abuse, eating disorders, ADD and OCD
- A non-pathological approach
- Comorbidities as protective responses to trauma
- Symptoms as “parts of the self”
Differentiate Therapeutic Issues from Biological Conditions
- Intersection of biology and situation (“Real Mind-Body Medicine”)
- Therapist’s role in biology – When to refer and when to work it through
- Psychotherapy of psychopharmacology
The IFS Technique
Step 1: Identify the Target Symptom
- Identify the “target symptom”
- Apply meditation practices
- Separate the person (self) from the symptom
- Learn about its intention
Step 2: Gain Access to Internal Strengths & Resource for Healing
- Move from defensiveness to curiosity
- The “Self” of the therapist-countertransference redefined
- Access compassion to open the pathways toward healing
- Role of empathy in healing – the benefits and the downsides
Step 3: Find the Fear and Function of the Symptom
- Focusing on its fear
- The real story behind the symptom
- Foster the internal relationship
Attachment Disorders and Relational Trauma
- IFS as internal attachment work
- Attachment styles as parts of self
- Attachment trauma – the role of the therapist
- Heal relational wounds of childhood
- Client’s “Self” as the corrective object
- Work with preverbal trauma
The Neurobiology of Trauma
- Neuroscience for therapists – what you need to know
- Fear circuitry and the development of PTSD
- Extreme reactions and Autonomic Nervous System
- Rage to suicide and dissociation to shame
Dealing with the Extreme Reactions of Trauma
- Talk directly to the symptom-direct access
- Introducing the part to the “Self”
- Deal with the overwhelm – no need for building resources
- Therapist parts – How to stay clear and calm while working with clients in extreme states
How Neuroscience Informs Therapeutic Decisions
- Top-down and bottom-up strategies rooted in neuroscience
- When it’s necessary to take over and “be the auxiliary brain” for your client
- Sensing vs. making sense of things
- At home strategies
Step 4: Healing of Traumatic Wounds:
- Three phases to healing:
- Witness the pain
- Remove the wounded part out of the past
- Let go of the feelings, thoughts and beliefs
- Science behind the healing – memory reconsolidation
Integrate IFS into Your Treatment Approach
- EMDR, DBT, Sensorimotor/SE and other methods
- Transformation vs adaptation or rehabilitation
- Going beyond the cognitive (experiential therapies)
- Integrate IFS with your current clinical approach
Please Note: PESI is not affiliated or associated with Marsha M. Linehan, PhD, ABPP, or her organizations.
Treating Complex Trauma Clients at the Edge: How Brain Science Can Inform Interventions
- Evaluate the extreme symptoms of trauma by determining if they are rooted in sympathetic activation or parasympathetic withdrawal to inform clinical treatment interventions.
- Articulate methods by which neuroscience can be interfaced with psychotherapy practices to improve clinical outcomes.
Experiential Treatments - Integrating neuroscience and psychotherapy
Problems with traditional phase oriented treatment
- Necessity of utilizing physical, emotional and relationship aspects in therapeutic intervention
Internal Family Systems
- Negative evaluation of symptoms - ignoring their protective function
Redefining trauma related diagnoses and integrating overactive protective mechanisms
- Understanding symptom presentation as positive efforts pushed to extremes
- Welcoming and integrating all parts of an individual
- Identifying intent of symptomology, importance of avoiding shaming
Therapist factors - vulnerabilities
- Disorganized attachment
- Borderline Personality Disorder, Dissociative Identity Disorder
Symptoms of post trauma
- Impact of therapist parts acting as separately as the clients we work with
- Responding effectively to personal triggers
Experiential exercise - self-awareness, response to triggers
- Hyperarousal, hyperarousal, psychic wounds
- Importance of obtaining permission before addressing psychic wounds
Autonomic nervous system
- Neuroplasticity, neural integration
- Neural networks associated with trauma
- Implicit nature of trauma memories
- Role of cortisol
- Sympathetic hyper-arousal
- Characteristics of extreme symptom activation and mixed states
Case presentation - example of permission seeking, direct access and unblending
- Choosing compassion or empathic responses
- Providing auxiliary cognition
- Strategies to avoid contributing to hyperarousal
- Top down strategies to separate or unblend
- Dorsal and ventral branches
- Activating strategies, responding to hypo-arousal, blunting