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The Internal Family Systems Model of Therapy:Treating Trauma & Addictions

2019-04-29 @ 9:00 am 4:00 pm

Developed over the past three decades, the Internal Family Systems (IFS) model is an evidence-based therapy that offers both a conceptual umbrella under which a variety of practices and different approaches can be grounded and guided, and a set of original techniques. Developed by Dr. Richard Schwartz, IFS is the most comprehensive model now emerging as the dominant therapeutic modality which regards the personality as a system of subpersonalities.

Schwartz’s model states that in addition to the many parts that constitute the system, we also all have a Self. The Self is characterized by the presence of the following qualities: calmness, clarity, curiosity, compassion, confidence, courage, creativity and connectedness and has “emergent compassion, lucidity, and wisdom to get to know and care for these inner personalities”. It is the client’s Self that is responsible for healing their own system; this model does not foster dependency on the therapist.

This training will introduce the basics of the IFS model and its use with attachment and trauma. Unique to the model, IFS does not use grounding techniques, nor does it use traditional methods for working within the “window of tolerance”, and is a model and method endorsed by Bessel Van der Kolk, Janina Fisher, Gabor Mate and many others in the trauma and addiction field.

Similarly, addictive behaviours are approached from a wholly original perspective, recognizing that, from a multiplicity perspective, the parts engaging in extreme behaviours are serving the individual in the way they believe they need to in the absence of viable alternatives. IFS provides the viable alternative in terms of the healing facilitated by the client’s Self. This model is completely non-pathologizing.

Through lecture, video, discussion, experiential exercises, presentation of case studies and a demonstration, participants’ understanding of the model will be greatly enhanced.