Archive for the ‘Internal Family Systems’ Category

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.

“We Are Not Occupied”

In anxiety, Dr. Dick Schwartz, Internal Family Systems, International IFS, Israeli Palestine Womens Peace, Mindfulness, Palestinian Women, Psychotherapy, Uncategorized on July 27, 2010 at 4:00 pm
  “It took me a long time and most of the world to learn what I know about love and fate and the choices we make, but the heart of it came to me in an instant, while I was chained to a wall being tortured. I realized somehow, through the screaming in my mind, that even in that shackled bloody helplessness, I was still free; free to hate the men who were torturing me or to forgive them. It doesn’t sound like much, I know. But in the flinch and bite of the chain, when it’s all you’ve got, that freedom is a universe of possibility. And the choices you make, between hating and forgiving, become the story of your life.”    — From Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts  

Founder and Director, Beyond Words


  Nitsan Gordon – Giles MA, Director
The Beyond Words Organization

 On Thursday, when I led a workshop in the Occupied Territories (also known as the West Bank or the Palestinian Territories) I understood a bit of what Roberts was referring to. 

Bringing together this group of Israeli and Palestinian women from four religions – Muslim, Christian, Jewish and Druze took a year and a half and has been one of the more challenging things I have done, mainly because of distance, technical details and fear –especially fear to meet in the Occupied Territories . In the Israeli media the main news concerning the territories is about conflict, violence and terrorists who are caught by the Israeli army. Thus, many of us feel that we are risking our lives (more than usual) if we go into the Occupied Territories .

We met in the train station in Jerusalem to begin our journey. One woman was afraid to drive in, so she and a few of the Jewish women took a cab. I sat in a car with Randa and Hala, two Arab Druze women, and Mariam, my Muslim colleague who co-led the group with me and was driving. She changed her head scarf to tie in the back and with her sunglasses and long dress she looked like a religious settler. The cab ahead of us, carrying the Jewish women, was stopped and their IDs were checked. We were waved right through.

I was nervous. I felt responsible for their well being and wondered what I was leading them into. Some of the women seemed so different in backgrounds. They also seemed to have such expectations of me and Beyond Words that I was afraid to fail. Fail in my eyes and in theirs.

Yet as soon as we entered the beautiful, serene school grounds of Talitha Kumi, my fears abated. When opening the door to walk in Randa, told me that the school is named after Jairus’ young daughter who had died. Jesus held her hand and said to her “Talitha Kumi” which means “Little girl, I tell you to get up” And she did. (Mark 5:41).

I knew that one of our challenges was communication.  Some spoke all three languages – Arabic, Hebrew, and English and others two or only one. There was not one language common to everyone, so every sentence spoken was translated by group members.

In the opening circle Mariam asked them “what brought you here?” Hala said she was scared to go into the Occupied Territories , that she had never been there and the news made it look so terrible. Yet she wanted to join the group so she asked her father what to do and he encouraged her to go.

Ania, a Palestinian woman, said that she was there so the Israeli women could hear about the suffering Israel was inflicting on the Palestinian people that was not described in the Israeli media. “For example,” she said “we have a holiday coming up where we are supposed to go into Jerusalem and pray and we are not permitted.”

Randa, a Druze woman, said that she was aware of a fifth religion in the room – her religion – Love.

Nira, a Jewish woman said she came because she wanted to meet the Palestinian women. She said she was so tired of hearing about suffering, the conflict and the violence that she hardly ever listened to the news anymore. She also stopped being socially active as she had been in the past. Yet this group attracted her because it not only offered dialogue but also healing and an opportunity to revive her tired spirit.

Edna, another Jewish woman said she was not so optimistic about the situation but still she came because she thought these meetings were important. They offered her an opportunity to feel not so alone in how she viewed the Israeli Palestinian conflict. At home her husband and her son who is in the army see things differently than her and there has been so much anger and discord between them on these issues, almost to the point of violence. Now they never talk about politics anymore.

Other women spoke about all of us being mothers and the power of women to change things. “When we give birth something in our heart is also born” one of them said.

Samia, a Muslim Palestinian woman, said that whenever she thought of Israeli women she thought of the severe, harsh women she met when she visited her brother in the Israeli prison. She also remembered how when she was young she went to help her father in the olive grove situated next to an army camp surrounded by a fence. Many times she saw soldiers — both women and men  — on the other side of the fence and waved to them, saying “shalom, ma nishma?” (Hello, how are you?) in Hebrew. Their response was always the same “Yala Zuzi Mipo” – “Go away… get out of here.” Our group is the first time she met Israeli women who seemed different.

At the end of a day filled with dance movement therapy, laughing and playing together, listening to one another’s personal pain, hearing about Beyond Words and how it originated, sharing lunch and massaging one another we finally met for the closing circle.

Even in my exhausted state, the sharing in the circle touched me deeply. Nira said with tears running down her cheeks that she can now look at the news and be able to hear about the conflict because now she knows there is also this possibility. A few of the women said they felt like they had known each other for years even though today was the first time they had ever met.

Samia apologized for her words in the beginning about how harsh Israeli women she had met were. She was embarrassed for having said it after meeting these women who were so different. She said she has a friend who had spent time in the Israeli prison and never wanted to see or meet Israelis again. She wanted to bring her to this group.

 One of Samia’s friends, Suheila, said to Samia that it is good she shared her pain because Israelis need to know, since they never hear about it in the media. Yet for me the sharing of her story was much more than an advertisement of suffering. It was the beginning of healing. I realized (and cried about it later) how little warmth, caring and acknowledgement most of us need in order to open our hearts to others.  She had been authentic and courageous and trusted us enough to share her pain.  I thanked her for leading the way in a circle which I felt would slowly grow to hold more and more pain; and through that holding and acknowledgement provide an opportunity for healing and for seeing one another, maybe for the first time, not as an enemy but as an ally with whom we can work together for change.

After the group ended I went to speak to Naseem, the Palestinian program director of Talitha Kumi. He asked me what the Beyond Words Organization did and I explained about our groups in the Galilee . “But this is the first time we have ever had a group in the Occupied Territories.” I added.

 Naseem looked at me and smiled: “We are not Occupied.” he said quietly.

 And then I remembered Roberts and his words about how in every situation we are free to feel whatever we choose and that the choices we make between hating and forgiving become the story of our lives.

(All names of participating women have been changed)


The Inner Critic Cluster by Jay Earley, PhD

In anorexia nervosa, anxiety, bulimia, Couple therapy, Dr. Dick Schwartz, IFS Certification, IFS Retreats, IFS Therapy Certification, IFS Training, Internal Family Systems, Mindfulness, Psychotherapy, Uncategorized on July 27, 2010 at 3:45 pm

Since the Inner Critic is one of the most and tenacious issues that people face, we have been studying the details of how to transform this part using IFS. When you start working with an Inner Critic part, you quickly realize that it is not the only part that gets activated. When self-judgment is an issue, there is an entire cluster of parts that become involved.*

 First, there is the Inner Critic part itself, which is judging you, pushing you, doubting you, shaming you, and so on. This is a “protector” in IFS terminology. Then there is a part of you that receives these attacks, believes them, and feels bad about itself. It may feel worthless, inadequate, lazy, guilty, ashamed, or hopeless. We call this part the Criticized Child because it is usually a child part, an “exile” in IFS. Many people confuse the Critic and the Criticized Child; make sure to distinguish them in your inner work. This child part is already carrying negative beliefs about you as a result of experiences in childhood. The judgment from the Inner Critic both activates these bad feelings in the Child and creates more of them as a result of its attacks.

 Frequently there is another part of you that tries to argue with the Critic. “I’m not really so bad. I could be successful. I am worthwhile.” This part, which we call the Inner Defender, is trying to counter the effects of the Critic. Most of the time, the Critic wins these arguments. Sometimes this defense works for a while, but usually the Critic resurfaces and attacks you even more harshly. It doesn’t really help to get engaged with the Critic.

 If the Critic is pushing you unmercifully to accomplish certain tasks, this may trigger another part, the Rebel, who refuses to do them, even if they would be good for you. It is trying to preserve your autonomy from being overrun by the Critic. This doesn’t do away with the Critic, and it sets up major inner conflict inside. No matter who wins, your life isn’t going to work very well.

 Some people have a Prideful Part that tries to defend against Critic’s onslaught by propping up their self-esteem. This part is overly focused on success, pride, and receiving admiration. It often exaggerates your good qualities and accomplishments in a attempt to defend against and ignore the feelings of worthlessness carried by the Criticized Child. This ultimately can’t work because it isn’t based on healing the Child. Deep down inside that pain is still there. And it tends to alienate other people.

 The Prideful Part, Inner Defender, and Rebel are each protectors, trying to protect the Criticized Child. And they are polarized with the Inner Critic, which means they are engaged in an internal battle with it. You can see this in the lower part of the following graphic:

Let’s now look at the healthy capacities that you will develop as part of transforming the Inner Critic. The main one is Value or self-esteem. This is a natural feeling of self-acceptance and appreciation for yourself. You value yourself and love yourself. Ideally you value yourself just for being you, not for any achievements or even for any of your positive qualities. Value is your birthright, unless it is undermined by your Inner Critic. If you look at the graphic, you see that Value is placed right above the Prideful Part. Value is the healthy version of pride because it happens naturally as you heal the Criticized Child, rather than being a defense against the Child’s feeling of deficiency.

On the other side of the graphic is another healthy capacity, Humility. This means a feeling of being comfortable with who you are whether or not you are acclaimed by the world. You don’t make any effort to artificially prop up your self-esteem or to seek admiration from others. You are willing to look at any shortcomings you might have or ways that you need to grow, and you are open to any criticisms from others. However, you do this with complete self-acceptance, without any harshness or self-judgment. Humility is the healthy version of the Inner Critic. Value and Humility are integrated with each other, not polarized. They naturally support each other.

The Inner Champion provides support and encouragement to counter the effects of the Inner Critic and heal and care for the Criticized Child. It supports the growth of Value and Humility. Your Inner Champion nurtures and cares for you. It encourages you in your endeavors in the world. It reminds you that you are a good person in a loving way, not as a defense against shame but simply as the truth of who you are. In IFS terms, Value, Humility, and the Inner Champion are all aspects of Self. We have spelled them out in more detail as a way of aiding you in your Inner Critic work.

You can work on transforming your Inner Critic in two ways.

(1) You get to know the Critic part and find out its positive intent for you in an IFS session. This requires being in Self, the natural place of curiosity and compassion. This way you can connect with it rather than being at its mercy (like the Criticized Child) or fighting with it as the other protectors do. Then you can heal the Criticized Child using further IFS techniques.

(2) You cultivate Value and Humility by evoking your Inner Champion to support you. It is especially helpful to tune the Champion in everyday life whenever you feel the need for self-esteem or whenever you are being attacked by your Critic.

This article presents a simple version of what is really a complex process. We teach this process in our IFS Classes and are writing about it in a forthcoming book on the Inner Critic. For more information, see www.personal-growth-programs.com/inner-critic-section.

* In this article, I describe various types of parts that many people have, using names such as Inner Critic, Rebel, Criticized Child. This doesn’t mean that your parts will necessarily fit these categories exactly. Each of your parts is unique to you; please don’t try to force them into these categories if they don’t fit. For example, most people have more than one type of Inner Critic part, and you might have a part that has qualities of the Inner Defender and is argumentative in other situations. Get to know each of your parts on its own terms without assuming you know what it is ahead of time.

    Jay Earley, Ph.D., is a transformational psychologist, group leader, psychotherapist, coach, author, teacher, and theorist. 
Jay is trained in Internal Family Systems Therapy and assists with professional trainings in IFS. He leads IFS Classes for the general public which teach IFS as a practice for self-help and peer counseling. He is active in the IFS community and has presented a number of workshops at IFS annual conferences. He also teaches classes on Communication from the Heart, based on IFS, interactive groups, and the Pattern System.

From Nashville: Praying For Our Parts

In Conservative Christians and IFS therapy, Couple therapy, Dr. Dick Schwartz, Evangelical Christian therapy, Internal Family Systems, Julie Honeycutt Internal Family Systems therapist, Mississippi Internal Family Sytems Therapy, Nashville Christian IFS, Psychotherapy, Tennessee psychotherapy, Uncategorized on June 14, 2010 at 6:10 pm

The IFS community first came together with the Evangelical Christian community back in 2003 in Jackson, Mississippi.

By Julie Honeycutt, LPC

Praying for our parts can be a centering style of prayer that keeps us from getting overwhelmed with emotion or distracting thoughts during prayer. While it is normal for our thought life to jump from one idea to the next with little to no warning of where our thought line is going, this normal occurrence can discourage people’s prayer life. Staying focused can be difficult.

Praying for our parts is a great alternative to praying from our parts, giving us an option to how we pray. Let’s be honest here, prayer is no easy discipline. Like any spiritual practice, if it doesn’t happen naturally or with ease, it can be tempting to avoid prayer. In my own prayer life, I’ve found that praying for parts brings a sense of leadership inside; my parts seem to feel taken care of when I pray for them, like I’m wrapping a warm blanket around them. As a result, I find that my parts gain perspective and are more likely to surrender to trusting in the Mystery of a Triune God whose grace and faithfulness is to provide for my every need. So, praying for parts helps bring focus, new perspective, and internal leadership.

Since we have an unbelievable number of parts, it can be helpful to begin prayers by asking for discernment of who needs praying for. Usually parts will jump up and let us know who wants attention however; I’ve found that those quiet parts can get neglected if we just pray for the ones in our immediate awareness.

This is not to say that praying from our parts is wrong or unhelpful. In fact, I think that when we pray from our parts, it’s a sweet way to be in relationship with a Savior who “welcomes all parts” and invites us into relationship with Him even when we’re broken and “blended”.

Psalm 55 found in the Old Testament Scripture is an example of praying from parts. It can be fun to detect David’s parts as he’s praying, seeing his exiles and his firefighters.

Julie Honeycutt, MMFT, LPC-MHSP, is a Licensed Professional Counselor as well as a designated Mental Health Service Provider. She received her Masters in Marriage and Family Therapy from the Reformed Theological Seminary in Jackson, MS. Her post-graduate studies have been through the American Association for Pastoral Counselors, as well as over five years with the Center for Self Leadership specializing as a Level 3 Internal Family Systems therapist. Julie lives in Nashville and enjoys playing outdoors, hiking, biking, and reading.

One of the elements that make Julie unique is that she is the only Level 3 Internal Family Systems (IFS) therapist in Middle-Tennessee. She also specializes in the integration of Christian spirituality and theology with the IFS model of psychotherapy. This model applies systems theory to the individual’s thought life helping clients be more intentional with their inner dialogue resulting in the desired changes.

From the Middle East: Getting Back to Self

In Dr. Dick Schwartz, Internal Family Systems, International IFS, Israeli Palestine Womens Peace, Palestinian Women, Psychotherapy on June 14, 2010 at 5:59 pm

Founder and Director, Beyond Words

Getting Back to Self

By Nitsan Gordan

These last couple of weeks with the Flotilla event have been agonizing. I am aware of so much — the truth, the hypocrisy, the different set of values that people use when judging Israel, the immense suffering of the Palestinian people, the suffering of the families of the dead, the pain of the wounded and our own suffering. What hurts the most, though, is looking at ourselves in the mirror that the world is now holding up for us. It does not look good. In fact it looks pretty bad. Owning this part of us, this part of me is so painful.    What I am hoping for is that the criticism we are under now will put more pressure on our leaders to truly pursue peace. I am also seeing the immense need for our work and keep hearing Ann’s words about staying in our healing leadership in the presence of strong emotions. We are now surrounded with powerful emotions… from some of the Knesset members who almost hit each other at the Knesset this week to the streets where flags and tires are burning and people are screaming.   On Tuesdays I have a Beyond Words kindergarten teachers’ group in Mgrar, a Druze, Christian and Muslim village. We spent some time sharing our feelings around this incident. Some women were very upset: ” Why couldn’t we just let those supplies reach Gaza?” they asked. Or ” Was there no other way to stop this boat? What happend to our intelligence? ” One woman’s husband works at the prisons. He is an Arab Druze. The Muslim prisoners were very upset by what had happend. They started a hunger strike and attacked some of the guards. He was attacked with a knife. She was so upset. Another woman’s brother is also an Arab Druze who works as a nurse in a hospital. He took care of some of the wounded from the flotilla who were rushed there. On his way home he passed through an Arab town where his car was attacked by very angry men. “But I am an Arab” he shouted at them, but that did not stop them from breaking his windows and scratching his car.    My Arab Palestinian friend and colleague speaks for many others when she keeps asking “How can people who are the oppressors, the occupiers call themselves victims .. how is this possible?”   Yet it seems that it is possible.  We, the occupiers, still see ourselves as victims because we grew up surrounded by people suffering from post traumatic stress who were never treated for this condition.  Also we grew up surrounded by events that kept reinforcing our fears. It is hard to stop reacting from a fearful place when there are so many reasons in our part of the world that give our fears legitimacy. Yet to own our part in fueling this situation and to seek healing for our fears and traumas so we no longer play an active role in continuing this self destructive drama …this is where our work, Ann’s work and Dick’s work can be so important and perhaps even life saving.   Yesterday I had a session with Dick to try and sort out what to do when I hear so many voices speaking in anger, pain and sadness inside and around me.

Dick said (not an exact quote, since I was crying when I heard it) — when there’s a crisis, personal or communal, all the parts get up in arms and shout out, pushing and pulling in different directions, competing for attention. It is difficult to know what to do and who to listen to. All I can do during those times is get back to Self and wait for guidance….

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.

IFS Practitioner and Therapist Certification Process

In Couple therapy, Dr. Dick Schwartz, IFS Certification, IFS Therapy Certification, IFS Training, Internal Family Systems, Mindfulness, Psychotherapy, Rheumatoid Arthritus, Uncategorized on April 24, 2010 at 12:06 am

Jon Schwartz, Director, CSL

We are now several months into the IFS Practitioner and Therapist Certification process and are pleased that so many have taken action to become certified.  Thus far, more than 150 practitioners and therapists have either completed their certification requirements and are now fully certified, or are well on their way in the process.  Many others have received their certification packets and are moving forward with the process. 

Since introducing certification at the beginning of the year, we have heard many questions and concerns that have helped us amend our process.  We’ve also heard from many who’ve expressed their resounding support for our having taken this step towards professional accountability.  As one Certification candidate wrote to us:

“I think having a credentialing process is a REALLY GOOD THING and a great development in the organization that will contribute to IFS becoming more established and respected within the therapeutic community as an innovative therapy that sets high standards and monitors the reliability of the therapists that claim to be IFS practitioners.  It will certainly help me when I am making referrals in areas all around the country and world, as I often do, since I currently have little way of knowing how competent the person I’m recommending is when I make that referral.” 

I think this statement wonderfully captures our rationale for taking this step forward, and we genuinely appreciate all of the feedback and support in this part of our journey.  Please check our website for more information on how to become a certified therapist or practitioner at www.selfleadership.org .


Using IFS in the Treatment of Rheumatoid Arthritus

In Dr. Dick Schwartz, Internal Family Systems, Mindfulness, Psychotherapy, Rheumatoid Arthritus, Uncategorized on April 23, 2010 at 11:54 pm

From Jon Schwartz,

Director, Center for Self Leadership:

As Dick mentions in his note, we’re very excited about the outcome data of the “Living Well with Rheumatoid Arthritis” research study.  There is a heartwarming video, “In Their Own Words:  Rheumatoid Arthritis Patients Talk about Using IFS” that features many of the participants in this study who share their experiences with IFS.  You can watch the video by clicking onto this link:


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.