Spring Brings New Paths to IFS

In Dr. Dick Schwartz, IFS Therapy Certification, Internal Family Systems, International IFS, Rheumatoid Arthritus, Uncategorized on April 23, 2010 at 10:58 pm

Last month I returned from a long stay in Sweden where I led the last segment our first level 1 training in that country.  It was a wonderful group and a very gratifying experience. With our expansion into Sweden, France, Germany, and Israel, in addition to the growing interest in the US and Canada, the IFS model is gaining exposure and interest.  It’s challenging because the evidence-based movement is also international.  For example, in Sweden the only model of psychotherapy the government supports is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and the government dictates more there than in the United States.  We continue to work on becoming evidence-based but CBT remains the most studied form of therapy. 

Speaking of becoming evidence-based, the final results of the Rheumatoid Arthritis study are in and are very exciting.  After 9 months of IFS group and individual therapy, the treatment group showed significant improvement by every measure as compared to the control group.  These included psychological factors like levels of depression and self-compassion, but also all the measures of the disease process!  This is no big surprise to those of you who use IFS with medical problems, but it is so gratifying to have scientific proof or the results we routinely see.  Many thanks to Nancy Shadick, MD, the Harvard rheumatologist and primary investigator; Nancy Sowell, LICSW, the IFS trainer who coordinated the project and ran the RA groups; and all the IFS therapists who worked with the RA patients for low fees. 

 I also want to report on an exciting new collaboration with two prominent executive coaches (ECs)– Nick Craig and Carol Kauffman– who want to bring IFS into the executive coaching world.  In March the three of us led a pilot workshop in the Boston area for 20 invited ECs each of whom has a successful practice.  I was skeptical about whether the model would be applicable to their clients because we encouraged them to focus mainly on working with protectors and to not go directly to exiles.  I was delighted to find that 1)  ECs are fun to teach—they’re already oriented toward scanning for strengths, 2) they quickly understood the vision of IFS and were thrilled with it, and 3)  IFS is extremely valuable in this context.  We’re going to run a similar workshop in July and then start a training program for ECs sometime this fall.  I’ve been looking for ways to bring IFS to larger systems so it can have increased influence and, for better or worse, the values and atmosphere within corporations have the most impact on the most people in our culture.  

Finally, I am on the brink of a huge change in my life.  I have accepted a generous offer from Castlewood Treatment Center for Eating Disorders outside of St. Louis with which CSL has collaborated for several years.  I will consult with the Castlewood staff for a day and a half per week which means I will move to St. Louis in June where they just opened a second facility.  (Some of you might have heard that Castlewood was working on opening a treatment facility in Northern California, but that project has not come to fruition).

This is a big opportunity for me and for IFS.  Castlewood uses IFS as their primary treatment method, and as an organization they graciously promote the power and efficacy of IFS.   — they want to promote IFS since it’s their primary treatment method.  I will get good health insurance– I could be a poster child for Obama’s health care plan since I’ve had a terrible time getting decent health insurance because of my heart surgery which was 7 years ago.  Finally, Castlewood is an amazingly effective center with a great staff of IFS trained clinicians.  It will be a privilege to work with this group and with their patients.  

As you might guess, I had to work with my parts to get them to agree to let me do this.  There is a reason why I’ve lived in the chicago area since I was 5– and it’s not because of the great climate.  I’ll be leaving my mother, oldest daughter Jessie, brother David and his family, a smattering of friends and a poker group that I’ve been in for 30 years.  Fortunately several staff members at Castlewood are also friends and my girlfriend Jeanne and I are working on ways to spend more time together there.  I feel ready for some new adventure in my life.


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