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Using IFS to Advance Trauma Therapy with Couples and Families: Coming Full Circle

The Trauma Center is excited to announce its Sixth Annual Summer Training Institute! Conducted by Senior Faculty of the Trauma Center at Justice Resource Institute, this intensive program undertakes a depth exploration of the complexity of adaptation to trauma, cutting edge interventions, and integrative approaches to healing for impacted children and adults.

In this never before offered workshop, Dr. Richard Schwartz founder of the Internal Family Systems (IFS) model, will recount the evolution of his work over the past four decades. Beginning with his training and practice as a family systems therapist and clinical supervisor, he will recount how this work informed his development of IFS, a hopeful and non-pathologizing model used initially to help clients integrate fragmented self-states and conflicted “parts” or subpersonalities, and ultimately to treatment highly dissociative adults with histories of complex childhood trauma. Coming full circle, he will share lessons learned from intensive IFS practice, training and consultation that have come to inform a deeper understanding of the challenges presented within and effective clinical approaches to couples and family therapy. Dr. Schwartz will show videotape of couples therapy illustrating application of the IFS model.

The session will culminate in Dr. Schwartz partnering with members of the Trauma Drama ensemble to demonstrate for the first time in his career a live enactment and unscripted, real-time intervention response to a family therapy trauma case utilizing the IFS model. The workshop will conclude with an interactive discussion between Dr. Schwartz and participants about his conceptualization of this case and clinical decision-making regarding choice points and specific applications of the IFS model depicted in the live demonstration.


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Richard C. Schwartz, Ph.D.
4 Hours 33 Minutes
Audio and Video
Jul 21, 2017
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Digital Recordings



This online program is worth 4.5 hours CPD.


Richard C. Schwartz, Ph.D.'s Profile

Richard C. Schwartz, Ph.D. Related seminars and products


The Center for Self Leadership

Richard Schwartz, Ph.D., earned his Ph.D. in marriage and family therapy from Purdue University, after which he began a long association with the Institute for Juvenile Research at the University of Illinois at Chicago, and more recently at The Family Institute at Northwestern University, attaining the status of associate professor at both institutions. He is co-author, with Michael Nichols, of Family Therapy: Concepts and Methods, the most widely used family therapy text in the United States.

Dr. Schwartz developed Internal Family Systems in response to clients’ descriptions of experiencing various parts – many extreme – within themselves. He noticed that when these parts felt safe and had their concerns addressed, they were less disruptive and would accede to the wise leadership of what Dr. Schwartz came to call the “Self.” In developing IFS, he recognized that, as in systemic family theory, parts take on characteristic roles that help define the inner world of the clients. The coordinating Self, which embodies qualities of confidence, openness, and compassion, acts as a center around which the various parts constellate. Because IFS locates the source of healing within the client, the therapist is freed to focus on guiding the client’s access to his or her true Self and supporting the client in harnessing its wisdom. This approach makes IFS a non-pathologizing, hopeful framework within which to practice psychotherapy. It provides an alternative understanding of psychic functioning and healing that allows for innovative techniques in relieving clients symptoms and suffering.

In 2000, Richard Schwartz founded The Center for Self Leadership in Oak Park, Illinois. Dr. Schwartz is a featured speaker for many national psychotherapy organizations and a fellow of the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy, and he serves on the editorial boards of four professional journals. He has published four books and over 50 articles about IFS. His books include Internal Family Systems Skills Training Manual (with Frank Anderson, M.D. and Martha Sweezy, Ph.D) (PESI, 2017), Internal Family Systems Therapy (Guilford Press, 1997), Introduction to the Internal Family Systems Model (Tarcher, 2001), and The Mosaic Mind (with Regina Goulding) (Trailheads, 2003), as well as Metaframeworks (with Doug Breunlin and Betty Karrer) (Jossey-Bass, 1997). Dr. Schwartz lives and practices in Brookline, MA and is on the faculty of the Department of Psychiatry, Harvard School of Medicine.

Speaker Disclosures:

Financial: Richard Schwartz is the Founder of The Center for Self Leadership. He receives a speaking honorarium from PESI, Inc.

Non-financial: Richard Schwartz is a Fellow and member of the American Association for Marital and Family Therapy.

Additional Info

Program Information

Access for Self-Study (Non-Interactive)

Access never expires for this product.


  1. Present the IFS Model and design ways to integrate IFS into your clinical practice.
  2. Specify and work with your client’s parts.
  3. Model how to work with clinician’s own parts.
  4. Compile what a well-executed client session utilizing IFS should encompass.
  5. Communicate how IFS increases the therapist’s curious and compassionate self when working with difficult and challenging clients.


Begins:   8:00 AM

  • IFS
  • Development & evolution
  • Lessons learned
  • Future challenges

Break: 10:30 – 10:45 AM

  • Trauma Drama ensemble – live demonstration
  • Participant discussion & questions

Ends: 1:00 PM

Target Audience

Addiction Counselors, Counselors, Educators, Marriage and Family Therapists, Nurses, Psychologists, Social Workers


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