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Internal Family Systems Therapy 2ed Hardcover – 15 September 2019
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"Since this book was originally published, the thoroughly innovative principles and practices of IFS therapy have been studied, applied, and advanced by thousands of psychotherapists. The second edition is extensively revised and updated--effective clinical strategies are illustrated with engaging therapist–client dialogues; cutting-edge research reveals the promise of IFS for conditions such as posttraumatic stress disorder; and IFS concepts are applied at and between multiple levels, from the individual to the whole society. Psychotherapists at any stage of their careers will find stimulating concepts and carefully designed tools that will enrich their thinking and improve their practices."--Richard Chasin, MD, former president, American Family Therapy Academy
About the Author
- Publisher : The Guilford Press; 2 edition (15 September 2019)
- Language : English
- Hardcover : 304 pages
- ISBN-10 : 1462541461
- ISBN-13 : 978-1462541461
- Dimensions : 15.24 x 2.54 x 22.86 cm
- Best Sellers Rank: 25,900 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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However, unlike most multi-part therapies, the make-up of a ‘part’ in IFS does not constitute an unidimensional emotional energetic force, nor is it locked into one specific role, or the result of an introjected childhood script (internalisation); further it is not only a diagnosis of a pathology, such as frozen traumatic phenomena. Instead, IFS considers all these characteristics and more to be features of a rounded, living identity, either born wholly manifest or remaining latent until triggered; and with each part capable of inhabiting a range of qualities, including its untainted ‘naturally valuable state’.
There is more than a passing nod to Shamanic practices of the past such as ‘soul retrieval’ with IFS’s 'witnessing' and the removal of emotional blockages (‘unburdening’). Nevertheless, an original aspect which makes IFS’s provenance all the more ‘curious’ (one of the eight markers of Self) is how having previously trained in external family systems (EFS?) therapy and initially discounting intrapsychic phenomena as bunkum, Dick stumbled across the concept of Parts, despite: “the idea we are collections of inner people do not fit well with Western scientific traditions.” In tracking the inner dynamics of his clients, he came to realise the parts resembled the dysfunctional ones he had learnt about in external family systems; eg. lost child, hero, scapegoat, parentised child, etc., which exhibited an underlying dynamic of being forced into an extreme role because of misattunement to an adverse environment, ie. from scarring or wounding.
In IFS theory, these once naturally valuable parts (aspects of the real Self) become imprisoned by a series of jailors and are pushed into the shadow as Exile parts. Jailors acting as Protectors either operate based on minimising the risks of danger to the Exiles (Manager with a future-orientated planning function) or in reducing the harmful feelings the Exiles can bring to the system (present moment Firefighters with a somewhat reckless attitude). To add further conflagration to the system the Protectors also can have exiles who are wounded (to a lesser or greater degree) and need to be approached first in building trust and a relationship, termed ‘be-friending’.
IFS therapy involves getting the client to unload the burdens (extreme emotions and beliefs) carried by the parts and traps them in their roles, transforming these into liberated energetic elements in the psyche once again. It does so by entrusting the Self to be involved in this process establishing a relationship between the client and their own Self as an internal axis of reflective ‘Insight’, or with the assistance of the Self of the therapist/practitioner using loving presence to talk to the client in a technique called ‘Direct Access’. IFS does not require tactile sensory input from the practitioner and the session can be carried out in secret without any disclosure. Due to its client-centred approach the primary healer-client dyad is reversed inside as the client’s newly brought out Self-energy becomes the internalised good figure (rather than the therapist as attachment figure).
IFS’s emphasis on collaboration has obvious applications in the study of Leadership since it promotes the Self much more as an active leader of a system (whereas Jung talked about the passive witness, for example); and in its Center for Self Leadership, promoting IFS’s organising principles and insight-busting model for handling conflicts, the world might have every reason to dare to hope.
Finally, IFS’s openness to giving access to training to those without a clinical therapeutic background is a welcome sea change IMHO and with its ready adaption to the virtual world of the Internet and facility at providing a spine to many multi-modal approaches, there is every reason to believe mainstream take-off is not futile. Either by chance or cosmic opportunity IFS seems ready-made for this decade’s grand revolution in the wellness space…
The book is written mainly for therapists but clients of IFS would also benefit from reading it and it's very accessible with very little jargon. I highly recommend it.