January 2010 Message from Dr. Richard Schwartz

In Dr. Dick Schwartz, IFS Retreats, IFS Training, Internal Family Systems, Mindfulness, Psychotherapy on January 8, 2010 at 5:56 pm

Founder, Internal Family Systems

As the decade ends I’m reminded of how things have changed in ten years. After finally leaving the academic world to try to spread and develop IFS, we founded The Center for Self Leadership in 1990. At that time we had been running a training in Chicago and had just started one outside Hartford, Connecticut. I had no experience or competence as an administrator and hired Peggy Dickson to run things. She deserves a lot of credit for creating something out of nothing in those first couple years. Everything was informal and I was spending lots of time with the few other lead trainers at that time discussing theory and technique of the model as well as figuring out how to teach it. We had no website, office, or budget to speak of. It was scary, exciting, fun, and loose. I was married, living in a large house, with only one of my three girls in college and the other two home. I had a social life and lots of time for basketball and tennis and my father was a very lively 82.

CSL is in great shape with a wonderful staff led by my brother Jon. We run training programs all over the US, have programs in four other countries, and are considering opening programs in a couple of others. We have a very talented and committed group of trainers and our annual conference continues to grow and improve. Once the results of a very successful outcome study on rheumatoid arthritis are published we will have a larger presence in the behavioral medicine world and, combined with another study of suicidal college students, will be on the path toward becoming evidence-based.

I get to lead retreats and training programs in beautiful places and still love teaching and practicing IFS and witnessing the miracles it creates. I’m in perpetual awe that the model has created such a wonderful global community that I get to visit regularly. I have worked hard to repair my divorce-battered relationship with the kids and I have a delightful new relationship with my girlfriend Jeanne.

While things are good now, this last decade contained some of the hardest moments of my life.


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