Bessel van der Kolk Trauma Interview Series: Richard Schwartz, Ph.D., Developer and Founder of Internal Family Systems (IFS)
In this interview, Dr. Bessel van der Kolk talks with Richard Schwartz, Ph.D., developer and founder of Internal Family Systems (IFS) - hailed by Dr. van der Kolk as “the treatment method that all clinicians should know to treat clients effectively”.
Listen to Dr. Schwartz’s discovery of IFS through his work with families and the roles that individuals play in a family system. Within an individual, these same roles exist as parts - all of which serve important and purposeful functions. Drs. van der Kolk and Schwartz identify each part and the role they play, illustrate the relationships between them, and stress the importance of honoring and welcoming all parts in helping clients.
Through role play, observe how Dr. Schwartz uses IFS in therapy. Find advice, methods, and resources that you can use to begin your journey using this treatment modality for your traumatized clients or gain additional insight for the seasoned IFS practitioner.
Bessel A. van der Kolk, MD, is a clinician, researcher and teacher in the area of post-traumatic stress. His work integrates developmental, neurobiological, psychodynamic and interpersonal aspects of the impact of trauma and its treatment.
Dr. van der Kolk and his various collaborators have published extensively on the impact of trauma on development, such as dissociative problems, borderline personality and self-mutilation, cognitive development, memory, and the psychobiology of trauma. He has published over 150 peer-reviewed scientific articles on such diverse topics as neuroimaging, self-injury, memory, neurofeedback, Developmental Trauma, yoga, theater, and EMDR.
He is founder of the Trauma Center in Brookline, Massachusetts and President of the Trauma Research Foundation, which promotes clinical, scientific, and educational projects.
His 2014 #1 New York Times best seller, The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Treatment of Trauma, transforms our understanding of traumatic stress, revealing how it literally rearranges the brain’s wiring – specifically areas dedicated to pleasure, engagement, control, and trust. He shows how these areas can be reactivated through innovative treatments including neurofeedback, somatically based therapies, EMDR, psychodrama, play, yoga, and other therapies.
Dr. van der Kolk is the past president of the International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies, and professor of psychiatry at Boston University Medical School. He regularly teaches at conferences, universities, and hospitals around the world.
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.
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.