So often, addiction is viewed as a disease or an uncontrollable habit that signals a lack of willpower. In Internal Family Systems (IFS) Therapy for Addictions, IFS educator Cece Sykes, IFS author Martha Sweezy, and IFS founder, Richard Schwartz, suggest a paradigm shift. Rather than viewing addiction as a pathology, they propose that it reflects the behavior of polarized, protective parts struggling to manage underlying emotional pain.
In this manual, therapists will learn how to access their core, compassionate Self and collaborate with clients in befriending protective parts who engage in addictive processes; healing the vulnerable, wounded parts they protect; and restoring balance in their system.
Cece Sykes, LCSW, is a senior trainer with the Center for Self Leadership, teaching IFS training programs across the US and internationally. She has been in clinical practice for over 30 years treating individuals, couples and families. Trained initially as a structural-strategic family therapist, Cece worked for decades with trauma survivors and families affected by abuse, chronic trauma and addictions. Cece expanded her clinical focus to include the Internal Family Systems (IFS) model of psychotherapy in the late 1990’s. She was drawn to its elegant and compassionate approach to treating trauma, addictive processes and other hard-to-treat clinical issues. She has led workshops and training seminars for many years including at The Institute for Juvenile Research, The Department of Children and Family Services, The Family Institute at Northwestern University and many other mental health agencies. She was adjunct faculty at Governors State University and at the Jane Addams School of Social Work at the University of Illinois in Chicago. She co-authored two journal articles on treatment of sexual abuse in the late 1980’s, contributed to the development of the IFS core training texts and recently contributed a chapter on compassionate treatment of addictive process in IFS Elaborations and Innovations (Routledge, 2016).
Financial: Cece Sykes is in private practice. She receives a speaking fee from Center for Self Leadership. Cece Sykes receives a speaking honorarium and recording royalties from PESI, Inc. She has no relevant financial relationships with ineligible organizations.
Non-financial: Cece Sykes is a member of the National Association of Social Workers, the Academy of Certified Social Workers, and the Internal Family Systems Association.
Martha Sweezy, PhD, is a part-time assistant professor in psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, a research and training consultant at the Center for Mindfulness and Compassion at the Cambridge Health Alliance, and a psychotherapist at a private practice in Northampton, Massachusetts. She has published articles on IFS in peer-reviewed journals, co-edited two books on various applications of IFS, and co-authored three treatment manuals on IFS (on trauma, couple therapy, and now addictions), as well as the second edition of Internal Family Systems Therapy with Richard Schwartz. Her next book, which explores shame and guilt in the context of psychic multiplicity, will be published by Guilford Press in 2023.
Financial: Martha Sweezy maintains a private practice. She is an assistant professor at Harvard Medical School. Dr. Sweezy is an author for PESI Publishing & Media; and Guilford Press and receives royalties.
Non-financial: Martha Sweezy has no relevant non-financial relationship to disclose.
Richard Schwartz began his career as a family therapist and an academic at the University of Illinois at Chicago. There he discovered that family therapy alone did not achieve full symptom relief, and in asking patients why, he learned that they were plagued by what they called "parts." These patients became his teachers as they described how their parts formed networks of inner relationship that resembled the families he had been working with. He also found that as they focused on and, thereby, separated from their parts, they would shift into a state characterized by qualities like curiosity, calm, confidence and compassion. He called that inner essence the Self and was amazed to find it even in severely diagnosed and traumatized patients. From these explorations, the Internal Family Systems (IFS) model was born in the early 1980s.
IFS is now evidence-based and has become a widely-used form of psychotherapy, particularly with trauma. It provides a non-pathologizing, optimistic, and empowering perspective and a practical and effective set of techniques for working with individuals, couples, families, and more recently, corporations and classrooms.
In 2013, Schwartz left the Chicago area and now lives in Brookline, MA where he is on the faculty of the Department of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School.
Financial: Dr. Richard Schwartz is the Founder and President of the IFS Institute (formerly the Center for Self Leadership). He maintains a private practice and has employment relationships with Harvard Medical School and Northwestern University. Dr. Schwartz is a published author and receives royalties. He receives a speaking honorarium and recording royalties from PESI, Inc. He has no relevant financial relationships with ineligible organizations.
Non-financial: Dr. Richard Schwartz is a member of the American Family Therapy Academy and the American Association for Marital and Family Therapy.
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