Speaker Bio & Presentations

Dr. Richard Schwartz

Special Speaker

Dr. Richard Schwartz

Richard 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.

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.

In 2013 Schwartz left the Chicago area and now lives in Brookline, MA where he is on the faculty of the Department of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School.

Presentations & Workshops

Exploring Internal Family Systems: Restoring Wholeness

Developed over the past four decades, the Internal Family Systems (IFS) model offers both a conceptual umbrella under which a variety of practices and different approaches can be grounded and guided, and a set of original techniques for creating safety and fostering Self connection.
We’ve been taught to believe we have a single identity, and to feel fear or shame when we can’t control the inner voices that don’t match the ideal of who we think we should be. IFS challenges the mono-mind theory and offers a non-pathologizing model that delivers a route to loving, honouring, and understand all our “parts”.

IFS has been transforming psychology for decades and has been effective in areas such as trauma recovery, addiction therapy, and depression treatment. This presentation will provide an introduction to the basics of the IFS model and its use with attachment and trauma. An overview of IFS and its clinical applications will be presented.

Transforming Legacy Burdens to Legacy Gifts
(co-presenting with Deran Young)

A legacy burden is any harmful belief system or emotional pattern that is passed from one generation to the next. These include cultural or historical traumas and collective wounds resulting from systemic oppression. Deran Young (founder of Black Therapists Rock) and Dick Schwartz (founder of Internal Family Systems- IFS) have been working together for the past 5 years, to foster deep healing and cross cultural compassion through corrective experiences of collective self energy.

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