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Digital Recording

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

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Richard C. Schwartz, PhD
4 Hours 33 Minutes
Audio and Video
Jul 21, 2017
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Digital Recording
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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.

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 therapy, 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.

This product is not endorsed by, sponsored by, or affiliated with the IFS Institute and does not qualify for IFS Institute credits or certification. 



This online program is worth 4.5 hours CPD.


Richard C. Schwartz, PhD's Profile

Richard C. Schwartz, PhD Related seminars and products

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.


  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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