The 2010 IFS Conference:

In Dr. Dick Schwartz, Internal Family Systems on September 1, 2010 at 4:34 pm
Pre-Conference Institute: Thursday, October 21
Conference: Friday, October 22 – Sunday,
October 24

Complete conference information and registration are now live on our website!

Our 20th anniversary conference is shaping up to be an exhilarating weekend including opportunities to increase your IFS skills, socialize, meet other IFS practitioners from around the globe; so far, attendees have registered from both coasts and everywhere in between in addition to Canada, Mexico, France, and Israel.  

Early Bird Deadline – Wednesday, September 15
The early bird deadline is fast approaching!  Be sure to register by September 15 to receive reduced rates.

We have a block of rooms being held at a discounted rate at the Hyatt Lodge.  Hotel reservations can be made by calling 630.990.5800.  Callers should reference the “The Center for Self Leadership, IFS Conference” to get the discounted rate which is guaranteed through September 29; make your reservations now as these discounted rooms will fill up.  Attendees are responsible for making reservations directly with the hotel.

The Conference sessions will be held at the adjoining McDonalds Training Center just a few minutes walk from the hotel.  Attendees will be responsible for arranging their own transportation to and from the airport.  For more information on Oak Brook and the surrounding area, please visit www.oak-brook.org.

Find a Ride, Share a Room
If you are interested in sharing a ride to or from the airport or finding a roommate at the hotel, you can post your request and find out who is looking for the same.  To view the blog, please visit: ifstransportation.blogspot.com/
To post to the blog, please visit: www.blogger.com/start and sign in with the username “info@selfleadership.org” and use the password “ifsconference.”  Click the blue “new post” button to post your request.

A Sample of the Sessions….

Friday Morning
The Brain and IFS: What’s Happening Neurobiologically that Heals Complex Trauma
Stephen Greene, PhD
This workshop will present information about the brain, attachment and complex trauma based on current science from the newly emerging field of Interpersonal Neurobiology (IPNB) pioneered by Daniel Siegel, MD, Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at the UCLA School of Medicine and Co-Director of UCLA’s Mindful Awareness Research Center.  The workshop will examine how the principles, practices and processes of IFS are uniquely suited to healing the effects of early childhood abuse and traumatic relationships.

Saturday Afternoon
Using IFS in Couples and Family Therapy: A Primer for Non-Family Therapists
Ralph Cohen, PhD, LMFT
IFS, with its foundation in Systems Theory, can be viewed as an extension of a multi-level, family therapy-based approach to working with human systems. For those therapists who are not trained in family therapy, working with more than one person in the therapy room can be daunting.  This workshop will demystify working with multiple persons using principles of IFS therapy.  Participants will receive a “crash course” in traditional family therapy and will learn how a background in working with individuals in the IFS model can be used as a guideline for creating a meaningful experience for families in therapy.

Sunday Morning
The Client’s Experience of Self Across Cultures and Religions
Yasmeen Khan, PsyD
Jenny Gresko, MA, MDiv, LCPC
Many people who seek psychotherapy have at least one un-attachable parent, yet they are successful in forming some kinds of bonds in particular contexts-a testimony to skillful parts and an overall intention to create secure connections in the world.  This workshop will offer particular clinical techniques to shore up the entire inner family, to prevent triggering when old contexts re-emerge and to facilitate the translation of a secure internal family into interpersonal dynamics.

Looking Forward to the Conference….
Now more than ever, it is important to keep as current as possible on therapeutic techniques and seek the support of follow healers.  We are looking forward to seeing you at this year’s expertise-packed Conference.  Pack your fall sweaters for cool walks in the crisp fall air.  The Hyatt Lodge features a private lake, four miles of jogging and biking paths, and five nature trails.  Bring your enthusiasm, ideas and talents, bring your passion for IFS, your special talent for the Friday night show, and your dancing shoes for Funkadesi on Saturday night.  

Questions?  Please contact us via e-mail to julie@hooplagroupla.biz or by phone at 773.486.6920.


A Better Future

In Dr. Dick Schwartz, Internal Family Systems, International IFS, Israeli Palestine Womens Peace, Mindfulness, Psychotherapy on September 1, 2010 at 4:25 pm

By Nitsan Gordon

“I think the future is like anything else that’s important. It has to be earned. If we don’t earn it, we don’t have a future at all. And if we don’t earn it, if we don’t deserve it, we have to live in the present more or less forever. Or worse we have to live in the past. I think that’s probably what love is — a way of earning the future.”

— Karla in Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts p.91


A few weeks ago the Beyond Words Organization held a two day workshop at Nes Amim, a small community in Northern Israel started by Dutch immigrants

Nitsan Gordon – Giles M.A., Dance/Movement Therapy (Thesis on Nonverbal Cues to Prejudice) - is an Israeli Jew and the founder and director of “Beyond Words”. She is trained and experienced in dance/movement therapy, healing touch and multi-level listening techniques – all of which are used as part of the Beyond Words Educational Model. For several years, she has led courses on understanding and healing prejudice in three Colleges; as well as workshops and trainings using the BW model in Israel and the United States and more recently in NZ. Nitsan is the mother of two children.

 and dedicated to improving relationships between people of different religions who live in Israel . There were twenty of us, an unusual mixture of four religions – Muslims, Christians, Druze and Jewish women, who had participated in Beyond Words Level I courses in different communities. This was the first time they we had all ever met together.



The Beyond Words workshops have three components: movement and dance therapy, deep listening and touch. This workshop was no different. Through the gradual process of moving together in new ways, learning about listening partnerships, and sharing life stories —  crying, laughing, playing and touching — something began to emerge. There seemed to be a heartstring connecting us more and more intimately together. By the end of the day it was so clearly felt by everyone that after dinner the whole group did not seem to be able to separate. Instead, we sat together on the grass, sharing more stories, being silly and telling jokes.


Earlier that day, as we sat in small groups and in pairs, life stories began to emerge, stories that have hardly seen the light of day and yet needed to be heard by someone, needed to be acknowledged and accepted.


One of the stories was told by Samia, a woman who has many brothers and sisters from a well- known Muslim family. Her father had been the mayor of his town until one election campaign when some of his own clan did not support him and he lost. He was very angry. In order to punish them he decided to give Samia – his eldest daughter who was then 17 – as a wife to a member of the rival clan. When Samia heard about this she was horrified. She did not love her intended husband and did not want to become a part of his family. She did not want to leave her home, and she had heard some bad things about her future husband. She went to her father to plead with him to change his mind. She kissed his feet, crying and begging for mercy. But he had shut his heart to her and no amount of begging was going to make any difference.


She was married and began a 25 year odyssey.  At 18 she gave birth to a baby daughter but soon after began to bleed so profusely that her uterus had to be taken out. She would never be able to give birth again. There would be no sons from her. Even so her spirit was not crushed and after being beaten time after time she escaped with her baby to her parent’s house begging her father to agree to a divorce. She was fighting for her daughter’s life and this gave her strength, but her father forced her to go back to her husband. This happened many times.


In the midst of it all she worked and studied to become a kindergarten teacher.  When her father was on his death bed a few years ago she sat next to him and held his hand. He looked at her and said: “Samia, I know what I did … I am asking for your forgiveness, I sacrificed you like a lamb.”  All she could do was cry.


Last week her daughter married a good man. Before she left the house she told her mother: “Now I want you to get a divorce.” Samia spoke to her husband after the wedding and so far he has agreed.


The following day more stories emerged. Suhad, one of the Muslim women leaders of the group, was very happy on the first day laughing and dancing joyfully. She stayed up with the others gossiping and giggling until almost two in the morning. And yet the next morning after the morning sessions in pairs, when the group gathered in one circle, she seemed different – something had changed. We asked everyone to draw what they were feeling following the movement intervention. Suhad’s picture was different than all the rest.  On the one side of the paper she drew in red and black what to me looked like an emotional storm and on the other side a dark fence surrounding a jail. In contrast to all the other drawings in the room, no sun or grass or flowers or blue skies appeared in Suhad’s picture – only darkness.

When we divided into small groups Suhad was in my group and was the last to share. After some hesitation she told us her story. When she began to cry I asked the other three women in our group to move in closer and surround her in their embrace.  She reminded us that eight years ago in August 2002 a suicide bomber had blown himself up on bus # 361 near the Meiron Mountain killing nine and injuring 40 people.  

Then she said: “Today in the morning listening session I was paired with Rasha, one of the women from the Arab Druze village who was in the workshop and whom I had never met before. She told me that her cousin had been on that bus and had been killed. She shared with me her enormous pain and I could not respond. I just listened quietly. How could I tell Rasha that my two cousins had helped the suicide bomber? How could I tell her that they had purchased the battery for the bomb, gave the man food and a place to sleep, drove him to the bus station and picked out for him the bus that he would board where he would blow himself up 15 minutes later? How could I tell her about the sleepless nights, the psychiatric medication I have been on intermittently since the event? How could I describe the destruction of the family name and the inability to feel joy at any family celebration? How could I share the shame and pain of being called “murderer” by my Jewish neighbors or the anger I feel towards the boys’ mothers for raising them to do such a terrible thing? How could I scream about the unfairness of suffering from someone else’s sins and the thousand small and large ways in which my life had changed forever because of this horrible act? And finally, how could I tell her about the pain I saw every time I looked into my grandmother’s eyes because she knew she would never see her grandchildren, who are serving a life sentence for their crime, ever again?” 

As I listened and held her with tears running down my cheeks, there seemed to be nothing to say, no words that could heal or make better. All I could do was feel the waves of her pain and love her and hope that somehow that love would help earn a better future for us all.

The names of the women in these stories have been changed to protect and respect their lives and their story 




IFS and Connecting with Jesus

In anxiety, Conservative Christians and IFS therapy, Dr. Dick Schwartz, Evangelical Christian therapy, Internal Family Systems, Jackson, Julie Honeycutt Internal Family Systems therapist, Mindfulness, Mississippi Internal Family Sytems Therapy, Nashville Christian IFS, Psychotherapy on September 1, 2010 at 4:05 pm

By Julie Honeycutt, MMFT, LPC/MHSP
Mental Health Service Provider
Holistic Individual and Couples Therapy
Most of my clients come to me for therapy in hopes that it will directly impact and improve their relationship with God. Sometimes this can be done indirectly, yet I’m finding a particular question has helped the focus of therapy be more fulfilling for my clients. By unburdening parts, we indirectly open more space for their spiritual selves to surface. I find that by asking my clients, “What parts of you do you sense are blocking you from connecting with God?” we are able to identify the specific barriers (burdened parts) that block them from connecting to their spiritual Source. Often times these trail heads show up as the client begins to project their insecurities onto me, their therapist. For example, a client may say, “I have a part that wonders if you like me,” or “I feel like I’m failing at therapy.” When these parts are explored, we discover that the part fears I view them the way they perceive God views them. Once we get to the exile, we learn that this fear originates with their developmental caregivers such as parents or Sunday school teachers.

I will be presenting more on this topic of Christianity and the IFS model at the annual IFS conference in Chicago on Oct.23rd.

Level 3 IFS Therapist

This reveals how their view of their earthly “father” has greatly impacted their view of their heavenly Father. Once that exile is retrieved and unburdened, clients report that their connection with God is ever stronger and they feel His presence more easily in difficult situations. They are also able to identify their projections more quickly and set them aside and be in authentic relationship with either their therapist or other people in their lives.