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Internal Family Systems and Trauma Treatment

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Powerpoint from Internal Family Systems presentation at TICN.

Published in: Health & Medicine
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Internal Family Systems and Trauma Treatment

  1. 1. INTERNAL FAMILY SYSTEMS THERAPY For the treatment of complex trauma
  2. 2. Ego State Therapy • Based on premise that we are made up of different states • Psychodynamic • Paul Federn psychoanalyst who worked with Freud • Instead of seeing people made up of only three parts (Id, Ego, and Superego) like Freud, conceptualized people as made up of many parts • Concept passed from from Federn to Edoardo Weiss who then passed it to John Watkins • Watkins and his wife, Helen, developed this concept into a psychotherapy
  3. 3. Multiplicity of Mind • Viewing individual as a system of interacting minds • Sub-personalities • Ego-states • Understanding how ego-states interact, relate, and feel about each other • Understanding how the parts of the system work together or against each other
  4. 4. Internal Family Systems Developed by Richard Schwartz as new way of conceptualizing and treating clients Designed to be: • Collaborative • Non-pathologizing • Enjoyable
  5. 5. The Parts • Self Sub Personalities: • Protectors • Managers • Firefighters • Exiles • No part is bad!
  6. 6. Self • “Self is like the beam of light that refracts in to all the colors of the rainbow as it passes through a prism and illuminates our parts and external objects in the world”. Jack Engler • Referred to by Richard Schwartz as the “I” in the storm • The center of the system, essence, true nature • Clarity of perspective • Natural leadership • Non-judgmental of other parts
  7. 7. Self • Eight “Cs” of Self Confident Connected Courageous Curious Connected Compassionate Clear Calm Creative
  8. 8. Relationship of Self and Parts • Self-leadership promotes healing and safe containment for parts • Most of the healing happens with Self becomes a figure to whom it is safe for other parts to feel attached • Focus in therapy is developing and nurturing the relationships between Self and the various parts of the system • Self in “unblended state” meaning other parts are not blended or interfering with Self
  9. 9. Knowing When Self is Present • Tone • Energy • Breathing • No agenda or expectation of outcome • Relaxed
  10. 10. Exiles • Parts that hold pain and trauma • Are pushed out by protectors • Oppressed by rest of system and put in a sort of mental prison to be kept away from the system • Want to be heard: Want story told
  11. 11. Exiles Continued • Are desperate at times • Try to escape their prison cells • Often appear as flashbacks and nightmares • Moments of fear or pain • Want and need to feel loved and cared for • Carry burden of the system, including unwanted emotions
  12. 12. Exiles: Living in Trauma Time • Frozen in the past • When exiles escape, flooding of the system occurs • Makes person more vulnerable • Sometimes try to take control of the system • Dangerous • Sometimes seek out someone like the abuser in order to find the compassion, protection, and love they did not initially get..
  13. 13. Protectors • Job is to keep the individual from experiencing pain Managing and Firefighting • Use various strategies such as: • Intellectualizing • Denial • Distraction • Criticism/Control • Compensation
  14. 14. Managers: Keep Exiles Exiled! • Work on avoiding any situation which may trigger an exile to escape. Controlling Perfectionistic Intellectual Obsessive (especially about pushing away emotions) Critical
  15. 15. Mangers Continued • Try to maintain control of the whole system • May give outward appearance of success Providing drive and focus • Masters of Self-Sabotage To protect person from disappointment or responsibility
  16. 16. Managers: Other Characteristics • Reclusiveness • Passivity • Detachment emotionally • Phobia • Hyperalertness • Panic Attacks • Depression
  17. 17. Protectors: Firefighters • Job is to take over if an Exile escapes • Extinguish • Feelings • Thoughts • Body Sensations • Memories • Images • And anything else associated with trauma that the exile is holding
  18. 18. Firefighter Techniques • Drug and alcohol abuse • Cutting or other forms of self-mutilation • Promiscuity • Overeating • Anything to put out the fire
  19. 19. Firefighters Continued • Not rational like Managers tend to be • Tend to be impulsive and destructive • Firefighter behavior often results in criticism from Managers which can trigger the cycle of destructive behavior over and over again.
  20. 20. Internal Conflicts Can and do occur between parts • Managers vs Firefighers • Managers vs Exiles • Firefighters vs Exiles Creates anxiety, internal discord, depression, confusion, overwhelming emotions Makes healing much more difficult when internal conflict is high and parts are phobic of • Each other • Trauma work • Emotion • Etc.
  21. 21. Working it Out: All Parts are Good! • Identify and work with parts on conflicts Unblending, Unburdening, Creating Safety for Parts Identify polarizations and alliances • Express appreciation and empathy • Allow parts to be heard • Learn about part’s job • Most of all: Strengthen the Self!
  22. 22. Self-Led System is Important for Therapists! • Therapist should display: • Patience • Persistence • Presence • Perspective • Playfulness when working with parts.
  23. 23. The Plan Work with managers first • Address any fears • Be respectful of the pace at which they need to work • Be patient! Identify and work with dangerous firefighters Begin working with exiles with the permission of the managers Check in with the system frequently to make sure everyone is okay Client will help and learn to monitor when a part is present
  24. 24. References • Earley, J. (2009). Self-Therapy: A Step-By-Step Guide to Creating Wholeness and Healing your Inner Child Using IFS, a New, Cutting-Edge Psychotherapy (Second Edition). Larkspur: Pattern System Books. • Schwartz, R. C. (1995). Internal Family Systems Therapy. New York: The Guilford Press. • Sweezy, M. & Ziskind, E.L. (2013) Internal Family Systems Therapy: New Dimensions. New York: Routledge.

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