Today, I feel so deeply deeply grateful to have Dr. Richard C. Schwartz PhD with us. I was so powerfully moved by Dr. Schwartz’s work before I spoke with him, and as you’ll hear, I have been even more powerfully moved by his work—unexpectedly in this podcast! —and I hope you will find that helpful during this experience today, as well as on your ongoing journey.
In his most recent book, No Bad Parts, which features a foreword by Alanis Morissette, Dr. Schwartz shows us empowering new ways of understanding and healing the many parts that make us who we are. As Dr. Schwartz teaches, “Our parts can sometimes be disruptive or harmful, but once they’re unburdened, they return to their essential goodness. When we learn to love all our parts, we can learn to love all people - and that will contribute to healing the world.”
Dr. Schwartz began his career as a family therapist and an academic at the University of Illinois at Chicago. There, he discovered that family therapy alone did not achieve full symptom relief and in asking patients why, he learned that they were plagued by what they called “parts.” These patients became his teachers as they described how their parts formed networks of inner relationship that resembled the families he had been working with. He also found that as they focused on and, thereby, separated from their parts, they would shift into a state characterized by qualities like curiosity, calm, confidence and compassion. He called that inner essence the Self and was amazed to find it even in severely diagnosed and traumatized patients. From these explorations the Internal Family Systems (IFS) model was born in the early 1980s, and in 2000, Dr. Schwartz founded the Center for Self Leadership, now known as the IFS Institute.
IFS is now evidence-based and has become a widely-used form of psychotherapy, particularly with trauma. It provides a non-pathologizing, optimistic, and empowering perspective and a practical and effective set of techniques for working with individuals, couples, families, and more recently, corporations and classrooms.
Dr. Schwartz has been adjunct faculty of the Department of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School and has devoted his career to evolving and sharing IFS, which now is being taught all over the world. Dr. Schwartz is a featured speaker at many conferences and has published more than 50 articles and books about IFS and other psychotherapy topics.