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Psychological Trauma Underlying Mental Processes
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After 40 years since its founding, Internal Family Systems therapy has become an evidence-based model proven to effectively treat trauma. Dr. Richard Schwartz and IFS practitioners all over the world can confidently say that everyone has a Self which cannot be damaged. We have learned that parts deserve to be loved and respected and that when they are unburdened, they will transform into their naturally valuable states. To work with our parts, we must go further than mindful noticing. We must help those parts transform. Parts need help to realize they are not alone and that there is a leader inside, the Self, who can handle the outside world. Parts can get to know each other, and through depolarization we can bring more harmony to the system. 

Dr. Schwartz discusses this as the 4 goals of IFS: 

  1. To help parts transform 
  2. To help parts trust in Self 
  3. The harmonization in the relationship among parts 
  4. Bringing more Self to the external world 

We will continue to devote ourselves to educating mental health professionals in growing numbers around the world.  We also will be supporting the shift from IFS being just a form of psychotherapy for trauma to becoming a revolutionary paradigm for understanding the mind. One that can transform many levels of human system. Dr. Schwartz and many IFS practitioners are now bringing the model to education systems, corporate leadership, social and climate activism, and the psychedelic world. Additionally, there is growth in the area of IFS and spirituality and access to the wisdom of the larger Self.

Richard C. Schwartz, PhD, IFS Institute

Richard Schwartz, PhD 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.

Speaker Disclosures:
Financial: Dr. Richard Schwartz is the Founder and President of the IFS Institute. He maintains a private practice and has a employment relationship with Harvard Medical School. He receives royalties as a published author. Dr. Schwartz receives a speaking honorarium, recording, and book royalties from Psychotherapy Networker and PESI, Inc. He has no relevant financial relationships with ineligible organizations.
Non-financial: Dr. Richard Schwartz is a fellow of Meadows Behavioral Healthcare and is a member of the American Family Therapy Academy and the American Association for Marital and Family Therapy. He is a contributing editor for Family Therapy Networker. Dr. Schwartz serves on the editorial boards for the Journal of Feminist Family Therapy, the Contemporary Family Therapy, the Journal of Family Psychotherapy, and the Family Therapy Collections.


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