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Internal Family Systems Therapy (Guilford Family Therapy)by Richard C. Schwartz
Synopses & Reviews
This work demonstrates how therapists can apply systems thinking to understand better clients' individual psyches. The Internal Family Systems model IFS uses family system concepts to draw a map of the network of subpersonlities that exist within each individual. Step by step details are combined with clinical examples to illustrate how therapists and clients can enhance their understanding fo intrapsychic processes and set a clear line of direction for positive change. The author also extends IFS concepts to our culture and the families within it to produce a form of couples and family therapy.
Applying family systems concepts to the intrapsychic realm, the Internal Family Systems (IFS) model proposes that individuals' subpersonalities interact and change in many of the same ways as do families and other human groups. Seasoned practitioner Richard C. Schwartz illuminates how parts of a person can form paralyzing inner alliances resembling the destructive coalitions found in dysfunctional families, and provides straightforward guidelines for incorporating the IFS model into treatment. A valuable text and clinical resource, the book demonstrates in step-by-step detail how therapists can help individuals, couples, and families tap core resources, bring balance and harmony to their subpersonalities, and feel more integrated, confident, and alive.
Most theorists who have explored the human psyche have viewed it as inhabited by subpersonalities. Beginning with Freud's description of the id, ego, and superego, these inner entities have been given a variety of names, including internal objects, ego states, archetypes and complexes, subselves, inner voices, and parts. Regardless of name, they are depicted in remarkably similar ways across theories and are viewed as having powerful effects on our thoughts and feelings. In his important new book, Richard C. Schwartz applies the systems concepts of family therapy to this intrapsychic realm. The result is a new understanding of the nature of people's subpersonalities and how they operate as an inner ecology, as well as a new method for helping people change their inner worlds. Called the Internal Family Systems (IFS) model, this approach is based on the premise that people's subpersonalities interact and change in many of the same ways that families or other human groups do. The model provides a usable map of this intrapsychic territory and explicates its parallels with family interactions. The IFS model can be used to illuminate how and why parts of a person polarize with one another, creating paralyzing inner alliances that resemble the destructive coalitions found in dysfunctional families. It can also be utilized to tap core resources within people. Drawing from years of clinical experience, the author offers specific guidelines for helping clients release their potential and bring balance and harmony to their subpersonalities so they feel more integrated, confident, and alive. Schwartz also examines the common pitfalls that can increase intrapsychic fragmentation and describes indetail how to avoid them. Finally, the book extends IFS concepts and methods to our understanding of culture and families, producing a unique form of family and couples therapy that is clearly detailed and has straightforward instructions for treatment. Offering a comprehensive approach to human problems that allows therapists to move fluidly between the intrapsychic and family levels, this book will appeal to both individual- and family-oriented therapists. Easily integrated with other orientations, the IFS model provides a nonpathologizing way of understanding problems or diagnoses, and a clearly delineated way to create an enjoyable, collaborative relationship with clients.
About the Author
Richard C. Schwartz, PhD, is on the faculty of the Family Institute at Northwestern University. Coeditor of Handbook of Family Therapy Training and Supervision, he is coauthor of three books and author of over 40 articles on a variety of topics in psychotherapy. He serves on the editorial boards of five professional journals and is a fellow of the American Association of Marital and Family Therapists.
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