Monday, March 17, 2008

Working with Parts of Us

The conference was very worthwhile. It was nice because it was actually led the the creator of the model, Dr. Richard Schwartz—in my mind it is always best to get it straight from the horse's mouth when you can.

I continue to see this model as being very promising for working with a number of issues that clients commonly face. One of the things that I like about it is that it evolved out of clinical practice, and clients were very involved in letting Dr. Scwartz know how their inner lives functioned.

Likely because of how the model was created it seems to align very well with most people's experience of their problems. It fits well with experiences like when you are having a conflict with your spouse or partner and you know that the way that you are behaving is making things worse, and yet you find yourself unable to pull out of the way you are interacting. Another example would be settling on a certain course of action after working hard to make a difficult decision, being sure that this is how you are determined to proceed, and then suddenly finding yourself seeing the other option as making a lot more sense.

These experiences make a lot more sense to me when looked at in the way that the IFS model sees them. In fact, I think that Dr. Schwartz makes a convincing argument that many of our problems are made worse when we are unwilling to look at the different "parts" of us, and instead insist on seeing ourselves as a unified, "monolithic" whole.

The website associated with this work is the Center for Self Leadership. The link will direct you to the "About" page if you are interested in learning more. If you are a current client or you come in to work on any problem from depression, to couples issues, to parenting difficulties this is a powerful framework that we can draw on. Of course, I plan to keep with my collaborative approach to therapy, so my clients will always have the primary say in what approach that we take. But it is nice to have access to the array of opportunities that this model seems to provide.
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