Dr. Richard Schwartz is the Founder of IFS (Internal Family Systems), an evidence-based therapy which is revolutionising traditional psychotherapy. IFS has shown to be remarkably successful where other therapies have proven to be ineffective or unsustainable in helping patients resolve issues with addictions, anxiety, depression, eating disorders, self-harm, suicidality, and other mental health problems. Its strength lies in its simple and intuitive premise that we each have parts (the fearful part, the caregiver, the perfectionist, the overachiever, the grieving part, the addict, etc, usually formed in childhood) which are often at odds with each other and can cause us to act in ways which are destructive to ourselves and others (while in fact, they are actually trying to protect us). Uniquely combining cognitive and somatic approaches, IFS teaches us to pay attention to our different parts and their relationships in order to successfully heal trauma and poor mental health.
In this fascinating interview, Dr. Schwartz explains why damaged or conflicting parts can lead to emotional pain, physical illness and mental crisis. He helps us discover why there are no “bad” parts, and how when our parts are allowed to feel safe and heard, feelings of compassion, curiosity, calm and confidence flourish. He identifies these qualities as forming our “Self”, and has found them to be fully present (though often repressed) in even his most traumatised patients. As such, IFS is one of the therapies most aligned with spiritual traditions in that it recognizes that we all have a healthy and intact “Self”, separate from our parts. He shows that by listening to these wounded parts with compassion and courage from a place of “Self”, and then speaking and acting with “Self Leadership”, speaking for our parts, rather than from our parts, we can substantially improve our professional and personal relationships, our lives, mental and physical health and happiness.
Dr. Schwartz has a PhD in family therapy, has taught at a number of institutions including University of Illinois, Northwestern and Harvard University, and has authored many best-selling books including No Bad Parts: Healing Trauma and Restoring Wholeness with the Internal Family Systems Model and You Are The One You've Been Waiting For: Bringing Courageous Love To Intimate Relationships.