IN THIS ISSUE:
From the Board
From the Editor
Inward & Outward
In Psychotherapy & Counseling
Beyond Psychotherapy & Counseling
About the Foundation
From the Board
ADDRESSING A WORLD OF NEED
In challenging times such as these, it seems only fitting that your Foundation for Self Leadership Board is asking itself challenging questions. At least once each year, we look ahead to assess our current efforts, evaluate their effectiveness, and imagine future possibilities. This year, we’ve had a lot to think about.
The state of the world today is alarming—within the United States as well as elsewhere. All of us,
individually and collectively, are confronting an unprecedented, multifaceted crisis comprised
of a life-threatening and devouring pandemic; extreme polarizations across identity politics
and rising nationalism pitting groups and ideologies against one another; sustained attacks on
truth, civility, and what were once considered to be universally shared values; unstable and
floundering economies and soaring levels of hunger and poverty; persistent transgenerational
racial, gender, and economic inequities; and existential climate concerns due to common human
practices gone unchecked or the absence of needed deliberate actions, among other factors.
The confluence of such stressors is starting to
produce deep cracks in the overall physical,
mental, and emotional health of our people, families, organizations, and governments. Children and young adults are silently calling for help and expressing heightened levels of anxiety, depression, and suicidal ideation. Business leaders are throwing their hands up in the air in surrender. Heads of household are struggling to keep their families safe. School,
university, and corporate leaders are dealing
with the tough decisions of balancing productivity with the well-being of their employees and those they serve. People are searching to find within
themselves states of being such as calmness,
hopefulness, resilience, patience, fortitude, and
persistence, all of which seem elusive right now. They long to anchor these qualities and foster
them in their circles, wherever possible.
The questions we are challenging ourselves with
as a board are likely the same ones you, as the IFS community, are asking yourselves: What are the most important and meaningful things we can do
to make a difference in the face of these struggles and people’s suffering? How can we be a force for peace in the midst of political and societal strife? What can we do today, tomorrow, and in the coming year to be part of the solution, to contribute to
counterbalancing and eventually reversing the destructive trends we see? And perhaps most importantly, how can we partner with you, frontline workers, and supporters of frontline workers who
enter the fray on a daily basis in order to be
purveyors of hope?
In this issue of OUTLOOK, you will get a glimpse
into where our organizational introspection is
leading us. Our commitment to pursue key priorities remains steadfast: to catalyze more independent research on the efficacy of IFS as a therapy
protocol and a personal/relational practice;
to promote well-being among teachers and staff
in schools; to facilitate healing through IFS among veterans; to help overcome drug dependency, among other societal issues; and to expand the
applicability of IFS into new professional settings.
In today’s world, we are recognizing that it is
the “how” as well as the “what” of our mission
that matters. We are challenging ourselves to both live and offer to others the Self leadership model as
a bridge between us in every initiative we undertake. We want others with whom we interact to experience IFS not as an ideology but as a practice—a way of understanding ourselves and one another that impacts what we say and do in relation to and for others. The qualities of Self are what we can offer by example, allowing individuals to experience with us what also lies within them. These are the qualities that will see each of us through the most difficult crises we face during these incredibly trying
times—on an individual level: intellectually,
emotionally, physically, and spiritually; on a
societal level: politically, economically,
environmentally, and existentially.
And as you see in our upcoming effort to build
“A Bridge Between US” online conversation series, the Foundation is exploring ways to take IFS
concepts and what they teach us about ourselves and each other out into the world. It is high time
we did so!
We join our hearts and hands with yours on this
very personal and, at the same time, wonderfully collective Self-led journey.
Vicki McCoy, MA, Chair of the Board
Toufic Hakim, PhD, Executive Director
On behalf of the Board of the Directors
Requina Barnes, LICSW; Stewart Brown, PhD; Les Fagen, MA, JD; Kelly Gaule, CAP; and Sady Kim-Singh, MSW, LCSW
To contact a board member, please email FirstName@FoundationIFS.org (example: Toufic@FoundationIFS.org).
Return to Menu ↑
From the Editor
Endurance and persistence, no matter
how big or small, appear to be essential qualities during this global COVID-19
pandemic. As the world recently passed
the one year mark, we here at your
Foundation commend and honor each
and every one of your heroic efforts.
It takes strength and courage to meet these times head-on. We hope that the IFS Model has provided you with a sense of both inner and outer support—not only for yourselves, but for the lives you touch every day.
Within this edition, you’ll find examples of members
of our IFS community paying it forward in the lives
of many. Articles on Foundation-related IFS research, our IFS in Schools and IFS and Veterans’ projects, along with our operational endeavors aim to keep you abreast of the hard work we do on your behalf, while applauding our 2020 donors. A few news-worthy updates from
IFS Institute are highlighted, as well. We hope
illustrating both organizations’ updates distinguish
the differences between the two; hence the subtle
coloration accent of the sister organizations’ names
throughout the magazine.
We hope stories about authors of newly released
books based on the Model, efforts to bring increased access of IFS in the Arab-speaking Middle East,
IFS-based podcasts, and a resolute twenty-five-
year-long IFS practice group will inspire you. You will also find features of several dedicated IFS practitioners utilizing the Model in addiction work, within the queer community, and parenting, among others. The efforts
of each individual or organization presented here are
but just some examples of endurance and persistence that have, no doubt, positively impacted the lives of
many. Should you know of IFS-related undertakings
that you think would be valuable to share in
OUTLOOK, please send ideas to Michelle Glass
at OUTLOOK@FoundationIFS.org. May your patient
and passionate hearts persevere. __MG
We thank you...
We remember you...
We’re thinking of you...
We wish you wisdom and endurance...
Over a relatively short span, life as we knew it changed…
a turning point, a wake-up call for our generation.
Very few have thrived. Many have sadly perished.
Many more have struggled. The rest have survived,
barely or luckily. Yet, no one was unscathed.
Everyone is, knows, or is close to someone affected
by the pandemic or the many other crises that have
plagued our communities, in the US and around the world.
Some of us were scarred, losing one or more loved ones,
not being able to give him, her, or them a proper send-off,
not able to be in the physical presence of loved ones to be
hugged, consoled, grieving and honoring their loss together.
Our hearts break for you. We at the Foundation
send you our deepest of sympathies.
Some of us could not hide in the safety of home, asked to
keep the rest of us fed, with lights on, cared for, alive, needing
to give a bit and then more, not finding the space to crash
or taking time to recharge, deferring a good cry till later.
Our hearts are grateful to you. We at the Foundation
shower you with praise and appreciation.
Some of us would not give in or give up and thought
of all sorts of ways to keep going and keep dependents
going, teachers and principals, executives and researchers,
artists, and superhero parents…
Our hearts swell with pride. We at the Foundation
cheer you on with loud applause.
And then some of us befriended anxiety and sorrow,
getting lost in dark alleys of the mind. It’s all that could
be done in the moment to quiet the voices,
to keep the monsters at bay.
Our hearts feel for you. We at the Foundation hope
you will find a way soon to rise and become whole.
Wishing us all renewed hope, healing,
and recovered moments of happiness.
IFS Research Updates
The Foundation’s leading priority is to examine through rigorous, independent research, the efficacy of IFS as a psychotherapy protocol in clinical
settings, and across various non-psychotherapy
applications as a mindful wellness practice.
The intention is to continually grow the base
of hard empirical evidence, allowing the science
to weigh in objectively on outcomes.
Thanks to support from the community, the Foundation
has to date funded three studies, the first of which is in the
publication-review stage, the second of which is proceeding
with data analysis, and the third is the current project that
was launched in August 2020. In the same vein of gathering
experiential and experimental data, the Foundation has also
supported two program evaluations at the two IFS-in-Schools
programs. We endeavor to operate with this research
mindset through all of our activities.
HERE ARE SOME RELATED NEWS UPDATES:
Despite setbacks from COVID-19, we are pleased to share that the researchers conducting the recently announced
randomized clinical trial of IFS at the Cambridge Health Alliance are well into the pilot phase of their two-year study.
Given the public-health crisis, the IFS groups had to be conducted online and an unexpected silver lining of this pandemic is that what was initially planned to be a test run of the IFS section is now going to yield results of the first-ever evaluated IFS online group. We celebrate Dr. Schuman-Olivier and his teams’ creativity and persistence in the face of this year’s challenges. The Foundation continues to raise funds to cover the remaining third of the total projected study costs and needs your support to get the rest of the way there. Please consider a generous
donation to the Foundation by visiting FoundationIFS.org/support/make-a-donation
to support this cutting-edge project.
As has been our practice, the
Foundation has sustained its guidance and counsel to students and researchers conducting projects across the country and around the world.
Here is one such example: after learning about
the IFS Model in a workshop, a university professor in Peru saw hope and imagined the possibility of helping her noticeably burnt-out students. With a team of volunteer IFS therapists and dedicated
consultation from us, she is piloting and evaluating
a program providing free IFS therapy to these university students who are particularly stressed in times of COVID-19. Have you created a unique IFS program of which you may even have plans to
evaluate? We want to hear about it and support
you as we are able.
As part of our efforts to make
resources more accessible to potential
IFS researchers, we have begun to make some minor and some significant
updates to the Foundation for
Self Leadership website.
For example, interested researchers can now easily access information about the 57-item IFS Scale and 25-item IFS Self Scale on a new IFS Scale page found under the Research tab of the Foundation website.
It was this scale that was used in a recently published research article investigating the relationship between Self leadership and mental health and relationship outcomes. You may be interested to learn that another scale, now highlighted on our website as well, was developed specifically to measure Self Leadership (in contrast to the IFS Scale which quantifies parts). The Self Leadership Scale also has a long and a short version and has been used in published articles;
see the new page under the Research tab for
As always, please keep in mind that we are
also here to support clinicians who might want to
contribute by sharing case studies of interesting concepts or clients. We also post the latest
research-related news on the Foundation's
news pages. Please be on the lookout.
We look forward to hearing from you at
research@FoundationIFS.org about your
research inquiries, plans, achievements, or volunteer aspirations—particularly if you are interested in
being part of the Research Development Advisory Council. We also always
welcome any introductions to researchers
or research funders in your personal and
professional networks! __IT
Editor’s Note: Ilanit Tal, PhD, is the
Associate Director for Research for the
Foundation. She provides leadership,
management, coordination, and support
regarding IFS research activities stimulated
through the Foundation. We are grateful
for her skill and dedication to advancing
The Question Is…
Connecting, engaging, and growing the IFS community
remain a high priority for the Foundation for Self Leadership.
One means for doing so is to facilitate dialogue with and
among practitioners, researchers and enthusiasts.
So, we strive to make connections through
OUTLOOK, FoundationIFS.org, Twitter, Facebook,
and email. The question is, how effective has
this outreach been?
You can help answer this question by sharing
your experience with these communications
channels. Please take a few minutes to fill out
a brief reader survey at:
IN PSYCHOTHERAPY AND COUNSELING
Somatic IFS and the Feral Animal of Our Body
September 2020 brought to the world a gift that
ignited something lying dormant both within the
IFS therapeutic community and beyond. Somatic
Internal Family Systems: Awareness, Breath, Resonance, Movement and Touch in Practice, written by Susan
McConnell, MA, CHT, “invites the body from its exiled state as corpus to a living, breathing, transformative
entity...” (page 17, Somatic Internal Family Systems).
This book, filled with phrases one cannot help but
savor, brings readers a highly-embodied, accessible
understanding of the deeply transformative power
of incorporating the body fully into the IFS Model.
It is an invitation to listen in again and welcome it
all! Whether you feel you already include the body
or don’t have an interest in somatic practices,
there’s something valuable awaiting you.
Susan was one of
the first IFS trainers,
Schwartz, PhD as
he developed the
Model. A bodyworker
and Hakomi therapist
since the early 1980’s,
Susan has always
considered the body
an integral part of how she works. “Our
relationship with our own bodies is a
huge issue, impacted by cultural, familial,
and institutionalized burdens.
Our birthright to embodiment has been obstructed
by our protector parts and we have learned to not
pay attention to our bodies,” she reflects. “Therapists
who work with trauma know trauma is absorbed in
the body. So, if we don’t bring our embodied presence
to them then we are only doing half the work.”
“If we don’t bring our
embodied presence to
them then we are only
doing half the work.”
Somatic IFS is constructed upon five practices.
While each practice is independent and each in and
of themselves cultivate ‘embodied Self,’ a multiplying
effect can be observed as they build upon one another.
Somatic Awareness is the foundational piece,
which naturally leads to Conscious Breathing (or
being aware of the breath). Breath bridges the relational
realm transporting us to Radical Resonance.
Exploring Mindful Movement facilitates each step
of the IFS Model and Attuned Touch offers a safe,
ethical communication path for parts and Self. The
deeply supportive process of Somatic IFS helps protectors
sense our appreciation as we work towards
healing our exiles. All of these practices facilitate
each step of the process of the IFS Model with
every clinical issue.
As Susan’s teachings evolved domestically and
internationally, the “body” started to emerge from
exile, as it were, and assumed a key role in the
healing experience. People began to ask for specific
training in incorporating the body more fully in IFS.
Fifteen years ago, she began to offer workshops,
retreats, and trainings, and eventually responded to
requests for her to write a book. Though Susan had
parts that never thought she could be an author,
as she pulled her accumulated knowledge into an
integrated whole, the process became decidedly
satisfying. “It turns out I had an inner author, after
all,” she laughed.
The book has received incredible reviews and has
been deeply gratifying for Susan. Though she initially
saw the book as an integration and completion act
for her decades of work, the response to her book
has inspired new creative energies. Her immediate
focus is on meeting the needs of the world-wide
IFS community with somatic work. To this end, she
offers online and in-person programs that are an
immersion into the somatic practices to facilitate
Embodied Self-energy. These programs are a prerequisite,
along with a Level 1, to participate in her
Somatic IFS Training. Dreaming, as we all are, of safe
open travel, she is planning these in-person retreats
in Hawaii in December 2021, Costa Rica in January
2022, and Switzerland in 2023. You can find her
Somatic IFS offerings at www.embodiedself.net.
The book can be purchased through IFS Institute’s online store and on Amazon.com. __MG
“Including the body story along
with the verbal story in therapy
illuminates and awakens
what has been obscured in
darkness. The feral animal of
our body, startled by the light,
may scurry back to hide in the
dark corners. The touch, the
nourishment, the movement
that our body craves may
be buried under a history
of neglect and trauma. We may feel our body has
betrayed us. Our individual hurts and collective
societal burdens lodged in our tissues await the
light of our courage and compassion shining into
the depths of our interiority, leading us to
the essence of our being.”
(Page 1, Somatic Internal Family Systems Therapy)
Helping Military Veterans And Servicemembers Heal
To state the obvious, the trauma of wars and violent conflicts is devastating. Just the prospect or threat of being in harm’s way, let alone finding oneself in the middle of an armed struggle, shocks our whole system—body, mind and soul. It lights up all inner alert mechanisms and triggers long-term suffering among all on its path: servicemen and servicewomen in uniform, innocent bystanders, and their families.
Despite significant advances in mental health, treating post-traumatic stress effectively remains an insurmountable challenge. What makes both assessment and treatment even more challenging is the common occurrence of other conditions that are concurrently present (comorbidities), among them: depression, anxiety, and/or substance dependence. Even though post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) as a diagnosis was not in our lexicon until the late 1970’s, it had been presumably referred to by different names1 prior to that: Da Costa’s Syndrome (US Civil War); shell shock; battle fatigue; and Post-Vietnam syndrome. [PTSD was not included in the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders until its third edition (DSM-3, 1980).]
Sadly, PTSD is too prevalent across society. In a given year, 8 million American adults suffer from PTSD (according to the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs’ National Center for PTSD). And PTSD can result from exposure to a wide range of lifetime traumas, wars remain its lead cause, with more than 350 million adult war survivors suffering from PTSD worldwide.
About PTSD: It is defined as a chronic, acute or delayed reaction to a traumatic event, such as military combat, assault, or natural disaster, which includes flashbacks, trouble sleeping, feeling alone or anger outbursts, as per the WHO International Classification of Diseases (ICD-10).3
The US National Institute of Mental Health4 identifies PTSD among individuals who re-experience their trauma (flashbacks or frightening dreams and thoughts), exhibit avoidance symptoms (avoiding anything that reminds them of the traumatic event), show high reactivity (being startled, tense, restless, or angry), and experience mood symptoms (negative thoughts, losing interest, not remembering events).
The American Psychiatric Association has revisited in its 2013 DSM-55 the definition of PTSD and placed it in the category of trauma and stressor-related disorders. It organized its symptoms into four clusters: Intrusion (recurring dreams or bad memories); Avoidance (distressing thoughts or feelings); Negative Cognition & Mood (sense of blame, shame or detachment); and Arousal (aggressiveness, sleep disturbance, and hypervigilance). Actual criteria have a timeline and frequency of occurrences attached to them.
Among returning service veterans, the percentage of those who have screened positive for PTSD is not precisely known, ranging from 14%6 to as high as 30%7. It is estimated that around 500,000 troops8 who served in wars in the last two decades have been diagnosed with it. Combat trauma causes suffering that may be among the most challenging to treat. After all, the combat environment is haunting, with a constant risk of injury and death and the real possibility of having to kill or wound others (or the reality of having done so).
US combat veterans from Vietnam struggling emotionally are now old enough to be treated through geriatric care. The pain lives with them and many still need emotional care to this day. Among those from Iraq and Afghanistan, with widely different experiences in urban settings where fighting was not considered conventional, chronic pain appears to be one of the most frequently reported symptoms (15% to 35% of those who experience chronic pain struggle with PTSD9). Of significant note: Aside from physical brain injury, the risk of PTSD is higher among younger troops; people of color and groups with limited socioeconomic or educational opportunities; individuals who do not have an adequate social support structure; and troops who deploy more frequently and for longer periods.
Then there is, sadly, the worst possible (and irreversible) outcome of PTSD: suicide—the tenth leading cause of death in the US. Consider the case of military veterans and active-duty personnel as one example: The statistics regarding effects of PTSD is disconcerting—especially that each cold figure represents a human life, a family, and a community.
The suffering is severe. Prospects for healing, however, are lagging behind as barriers persist.
We would all agree that when troops return from the theater of combat or deployment, they’re owed the best treatment and care possible.
The latest report on veterans’ suicide released by the US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) (National Suicide Prevention Program, November 2020, VA10) shows that the number of suicides has ticked upward since 2015, reaching 6,435 in 2018 (such reports lag two years behind the present), underscoring that the number of suicides in the general US population had also increased during that period.
To put it in perspective, this alarming figure on suicide is nearly the same as the total number of US troops lost in areas of conflict since 9/11. Said differently, it amounts to more than 27 suicides among the military per 100,000 individuals (2018), as compared to 18 suicides among civilian adults in the US—which remains a significant concern as well. If one looks at it as a daily rate, it is equivalent to nearly 18 suicides a day among veterans, or closer to 22 per day if one adds to the count suicide among active-duty personnel, including National Guards and reservists. It goes without saying, and with a heavy heart, that even one suicide is one too many!
According to the VA, some of these barriers to healing from PTSD among veterans relate to lack of timely access to care and absence of uniform availability of care.11 This is compounded by the resistant social stigma attached to mental health issues, especially among individuals in uniform and given in particular the strict criteria for receiving care and discharging processes that follow it.
The VA’s Veterans Health Administration sets policies guiding the VA medical facilities in terms of clinical treatments for post-traumatic stress, approved through stringent criteria for empirical evidence. According to the VA’s National Center for PTSD,12 a limited set of trauma-focused psychotherapies is recommended (see table), supplemented where appropriate with medication. Emerging and alternative therapies have been selectively introduced, as part of a recently adopted Whole Health approach, through which complementary and integrative health services are being vetted and considered for implementation (table). As one example, the Center recognizes the potential for mindfulness in treating trauma reactions.
Approved Treatment Therapies
Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT)
Eye Movement Desensitizationand Reprocessing (EMDR)
Written Exposure Therapy (WET)
Present-Centered Therapy (PCT)
As listed under PTSD Treatment Essentials through the VA National Center for PTSD13
Alternative Therapies Considered
Tai Chi/Qi Gong
As listed by the VA’s IntegrativeHealth & Coordinating Center
There is a psychotherapy modality of growing popularity missing from this list!
The race to treat PTSD has produced a wide range of conventional and alternative treatments.
The reality is that there may never be a one-size-fits-all modality, nor might one selected modality provide the much-needed healing solution. Over the last decade, the VA has made serious attempts, despite organizational or political challenges it faces, to address the needs of its patients—such needs are pressing and, unfortunately, not going away anytime soon.
What is clear is that the field of psychotherapy has a long way to go.
This health concern does not only belong to the VA. It is a societal concern.
And there are quite a few “peaceful warriors” in this fight (to use Dan Millman’s words).
There is the large effort through thousands of therapists within the VA and across military hospitals and services on active bases, through both residential and outpatient programs, with their own military-branch-dictated guidelines.
There are the hundreds of Vet Centers around the country, which are community-based counseling and readjustment centers established by US Congress to help military service members return to civilian life.
Then there are community agencies, a wide range of innovative veteran-focused service programs, and therapists in private practice who serve active military personnel and veterans.
Within this ecosystem of services, a growing number of therapists are doing their own work, quietly and methodically, to combine various approaches, including IFS therapy, to help military veterans transform their suffering and transcend their trauma.
The IFS community cannot stand on the sidelines and wait for the tipping point…when the pile of empirical evidence is high enough or the number of therapists trained in, and using, the Model is large enough!
It is critical for those suffering from trauma, especially combat trauma, to have access to effective treatments. IFS therapy may be one such treatment: this modality has now been endorsed by thousands of practitioners and research is underway—yet, it has to be stated that research may take about a decade to catch up with what has been commonly observed in the field.
Soft, experiential evidence regarding the efficacy of IFS in treating PTSD is abundant. Supplementing it are compelling results from an emerging pilot complex-trauma study funded by the Foundation for Self Leadership and other small Foundation-advised studies that are run at various universities. The latest study at the Cambridge Health Alliance is expected to broaden the base of empirical evidence as well.
In the IFS non-pathologizing philosophy,
PTSD is not labeled as a disorder. Rather, it is understood through the lens of extreme behaviors or beliefs that keep us from experiencing heavily burdened pain. Such pain is commonly pushed deep within us—since we unknowingly attempt to avoid coming face to face with it at any cost—and desperately calls for help and healing. [For combat veterans, this call for help is often manifested through behavior that may be disruptive and inappropriate in a civilian setting even though possibly the exact type of behavior needed (or even heroic) in combat.]
Healing can happen when we find a way to unblock access to and release one’s core Self, deemed naturally capable of bringing calm, a shift in perspective, greater balance, and deeper healing to our system. During these challenging moments, when we suffer silently or lash out, it appears as if we had unconsciously placed our healing abilities in a metaphorical steel case and hermetically sealed them in. IFS offers the language and process for discovering and addressing what lies behind our response to the trauma—and eventually taking the lead in transforming that response.
The Foundation’s intention is to gather a progressively larger pool of data and, to the extent that science warrants it, make a strong case that IFS can be an effective psychotherapy modality for treating PTSD.
And more than that: to be able to articulate, given what is commonly shared by IFS therapists and clients alike, that (a) IFS could be empowering to the patient, giving her/him hope and confidence through access to self-healing and resilience; and (b) it could help therapists maintain a state of serenity, calm, and presence throughout the therapy session, unaffected by vicarious trauma—which, when gone unaddressed, reportedly causes burnout among therapists. IFS is more than a treatment modality; it is a practice. It cannot be done effectively, for both client and therapist, without experiencing emotional pain. IFS therapy provides the safe environment for going through difficult moments to emerge stronger on the other side and pursue a lifelong path to internal well-being.
It is in this context that focusing on fostering healing through IFS for the Military and Veterans Community remains one of the Foundation’s leading priorities. Why? The landscape for a better-coordinated IFS advocacy for military and veteran care is fertile:
Empirical evidence will continue to build regarding the efficacy of IFS Therapy in treating PTSD.
Soft evidence gathered from practitioners and clients alike is accumulating and appears encouraging.
The interest in the modality has skyrocketed since the US Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration through an initial independent review in 2015 acknowledged IFS as an evidence-based practice.
This will take a partnership among the Foundation, IFS Institute, and interested members of the community, and possibly other key alliances.
Therapists have experienced and witnessed transformation through IFS. Clients have found a path to healing and wellness through it. Science is now uncovering the possibilities. The questions now are: What is the most sensible, time-efficient, and cost-effective way to get there? And when a strategy is in place, what is the best way to coordinate its implementation?
This will take a partnership among the Foundation, IFS Institute, and interested members of the community, and possibly other key alliances. If you are interested in this topic or in contributing to an open dialogue around how to assist military veterans and active-duty troops who are suffering from PTSD, please write us at Outreach@FoundationIFS.org.
A lot has been taking place by the IFS organizations and members of the IFS community to push forward a shared agenda for bringing IFS to veterans. Here is a snapshot of activities that goes as far back as 2008:
Stew Brown, PhD, organized an introductory IFS training week for Vet Centers’ practitioners in 2008. This training was led by IFS developer Richard Schwartz, PhD. Stew joined the Foundation’s board in March 2021 (see page 62).
In 2014, Janet McClure, PhD, and Ilanit Tal, PhD, both at the VA Medical Center in San Diego at the time, assembled a research team from a few VA centers around the country, and submitted a pre-proposal for a large grant through the VA/DoD Consortium to Alleviate PTSD15 (CAP) to conduct a pilot study of IFS for PTSD treatment among Veterans in Connecticut. While the pre-proposal was not selected for submission as full proposal, this significant effort created a foundation for collaboration and opportunity to focus dissemination efforts in the VA’s direction. The Foundation, quite young at the time, was involved in the discussions and recognized Jan and Ilanit publicly at the 2014 IFS Conference for this important initiative. Ilanit is now serving as the Foundation’s associate director for research.
IFS Institute, in an attempt to diversify the IFS community of practice and introduce IFS in marginalized communities, launched an Organizational Training Program in 2018 (when IFS Institute was called The Center for Self Leadership) under the leadership of John Schwartz, MEd. Through OTP, the first regional IFS L1 training was provided to the Vet Center program’s North Atlantic District, which extends from Maine to North Carolina, for Vet Centers’ clinicians and directors. It was advocated for and coordinated by Amy Marcotte, LCSW (IFS Certified Therapist and Director of the Sanford Vet Center in Maine, US, since 2002). Following the success of such a training, a second upcoming L1 training will be offered to more clinicians and directors at these Vet Centers; it will be held in April/May 2021 and led by Mary Kruger, MS, LMFT. Mary serves veterans through her private practice. She has been an active member of a network of private practitioners who are affiliated with the Connecticut Military Support Program and embedded with the Connecticut National Guard.
The Foundation continues to engage in exploratory conversations with IFS therapists at VA medical centers and military hospitals around ways to combine IFS training and research.
Over the last year or so, the Foundation has worked closely with Ray Mount, PhD, and Beau Laviolette, LCSW, to form the Healing Corps. The Corps consists of a group of IFS therapists and practitioners who have served in the military themselves or supported veterans as coaches or therapists, and who are willing to: (a) connect regularly and provide peer-support to each other as an IFS community of practice; and (b) work in smaller teams to explore programs and projects of interest for serving military veterans or active-duty personnel. (There is now, as one example, an effort to offer IFS workshops to active civilian therapists on a military base and offer Nature-based, IFS-oriented retreats to a group of veterans). The Corps is gradually expanding and gaining momentum.
IFS is being incorporated into a VA medical center’s palliative care services through the pioneering efforts of Lou Lukas, MD. Lou presented her work at the 2019 IFS Pre-Conference Institute in Denver.
(There are no doubt other activities that were not listed. If you were involved in an IFS program for veterans, please share it with us at OUTREACH@FoundationIFS.org.)
Please watch out for a larger community conversation around this topic of IFS Healing for Veterans and a few more stories and guest articles in one of the next issues of OUTLOOK. Interested in contributing a story, an analysis or opinion piece on this topic? Please reach out to Editor Michelle Glass at OUTLOOK@FoundationIFS.org. __TMH
Footnotes (URL’s as accessed between March 15 and March 28, 2021.)
3. www.icd10data.com/ICD10CM/Codes/F01-F99/F40-F48/ F43-/F43.1
4. www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/post-traumatic-stress- disorder-ptsd/index.shtml
7. https://scholar.google.com/scholar_lookup?title=Invisible +Wounds+of+War:+Psychological+and+Cognitive+Injuries, +Their+Consequences,+and+Services+to+Assist+Recovery &publication_year=2008&
8. https://scholar.google.com/scholar_lookup?journal=Time&title =Unlocking+the+secrets+of+PTSD&author=M+Thompson&volume =185&publication_year=2015&pages=40-43&pmid=25980055&
9. https://academic.oup.com/painmedicine/article/5/4/333/ 1858073?login=true
10. www.mentalhealth.va.gov/docs/data-sheets/2020/2020-National- Veteran-Suicide-Prevention-Annual-Report-11-2020-508.pdf
A cornerstone is the first stone set in a masonry foundation. It is the one
that determines the position of every other stone and the entire structure.
The Annual Fund is the cornerstone of the Foundation for Self Leadership. Gifts to the
fund provide essential support for our work to advance the practice of Self-leadership.
Our most loyal donors ensure that the Annual Fund continues year after year,
and so we recognize these supporters as our Cornerstone Partners.
Become a Cornerstone Partner
Simply set up a recurring gift to the
Annual Fund for a three-year term.
You choose the payment amount.
You choose the payment schedule.
Rest easy knowing your gifts will be
made according to your intentions.
Benefits of Cornerstone Partnerships
Spread out the payments on a meaningful
gift, timed to your budget.
You don’t have to remember to make your
annual contribution and you won’t be asked
for another Annual Fund gift while your
recurring gift schedule is active.
Provides a predictable source of revenue so
the Foundation can continue to notions of IFS.
Go to FoundationIFS.org/support to become a Cornerstone Partner today.
IFS Developments in the Arab-Speaking Middle East
In 2018, we featured a story about Tom
Holmes, MSW, PhD, Associate Professor
Emeritus at Western Michigan University,
College of Health and Human Services.
At that time, he had recently commenced
training Jordanian therapists
to work in their local community with
Syrian and Iraqi refugees. In 2021, we
catch up with Tom again and find that
his enthusiasm and passion for this work
have increased and intensified.
Having engaged in the
delivery of intensive
clinical work for a couple
of decades starting in
the early 1970s as well as
doing his own personal
therapeutic work, Tom
was feeling burned out
toward the end of the
1980s and had considered
giving up clinical work.
It was at this time that
he was introduced to IFS and began training with
Richard Schwartz, PhD (IFS Founder), at the Institute
for Juvenile Research at the University of Illinois at
Chicago Circle in 1989.
“The goal of my work is to help
therapists work from Self and access
that openhearted place. If they can
do this, it allows them to have deep
compassion in a sustainable way while
offering the therapeutic conditions
that research has shown are key to
healing. I see my workshops as a kind
of tuning the heart of the healer.”
This was a turning point for Tom. He embarked
on his own work with an IFS therapist and, in three
sessions, made progress on his burnout issue that
he hadn’t been able to achieve in years of work with
other models. At the same time, he attended a weeklong
mindfulness retreat with Vietnamese Buddhist
teacher Thich Nhat Hanh. These two experiences
inspired him to begin integrating IFS and spirituality
to help therapists manage burnout and develop sustainable
compassion. He has been focusing a large
part of his attention onto/toward that work since
1990. As Tom says, “The goal of my work is to help
therapists work from Self and access that openhearted
place. If they can do this, it allows them to have
deep compassion in a sustainable way while offering
the therapeutic conditions that research has shown
are key to healing. I see my workshops as a kind of
tuning the heart of the healer.”
Tom retired early from the university in 2007 to
begin sharing his integration of IFS and spirituality
internationally. He has offered workshops all around
Europe, in Korea, and in the Middle East. In 2016,
he began to offer his burnout-prevention workshops
to therapists and volunteers working with the one
million Syrian refugees who had arrived in Germany.
He then had the opportunity to offer these same
workshops in Jordan and Egypt, working with
therapists who serve refugees and other underserved
populations. In recent years, he has built
local networks in Jordan, Egypt, and Lebanon with
the hope of developing homegrown providers to
deliver IFS trainings locally.
The effort to bring IFS to the Arab-speaking world
is consistent with the IFS Institute’s growth strategy
and global dissemination of the Model as both a
clinical therapeutic modality for healing and a practice
for inner and social harmony. In order to grow
IFS in the region, the first step is to build a strong
base of qualified therapists and training leaders who
can adapt IFS to the cultural context in which they
live and work. While the principles of IFS seem to
largely transcend international barriers, as evidenced
by its recent dramatic global expansion, there are
cultural nuances, including language and spirituality,
that would be better catered to when the training
is delivered and supported by local providers. Cost
issues would also need to be addressed given the
recent currency crisis in the region.
Over time, Tom has offered workshops in both
Israel and some Arab countries. However, given
that IFS training programs are well established in
Israel, Tom’s focus has recently been on introducing
IFS into the Arabic-speaking countries, and he has
established a number of important contacts on the
ground in that part of the world.
One key contact is Ben Rivers, PhD, an Australian
psychologist and founder of the Dawar Center in
Cairo, who has completed IFS Levels 1 and 2 in
London and has been incorporating the IFS Model
into Dawar’s psychodrama training (see insert).
Ben heard from a Lebanese friend that Tom was
offering workshops in Jordan and invited him to
Cairo to do an introductory workshop. The response
to the workshop was so enthusiastic that he
convinced Tom to host a two-year IFS and spirituality
program, which concluded in March of 2020.
Since Dawar is seen as an active training center in
Cairo, more than eighty qualified and committed
professionals applied for this program, with a select
group of them getting further supervision and
consultation from Tom to deepen their knowledge
of IFS in preparation for formal training.
As fate would have it, Tom would eventually
connect with another important contact, Chady
Rahmé, PhD, a professor of psychology and
philosophy at Notre Dame University, Lebanon,
who is leading Ithraa-Lebanon. Working with his
colleague Mary Petro, Cofounder of Ithraa (see
insert), a nonprofit based in Jordan, Chady had
been searching for a modality to help his clients
suffering from eating disorders and looking for
effective weight-loss programs. He’d stumbled upon
Amy Yandel Grabowski’s book (An Internal Family
Systems Guide to Recovery and Eating Disorders:
Healing Part by Part, Routledge, New York, NY,
2018). By the time it arrived in the mail, he had
started consuming IFS books and materials available
online… and had the revelation that IFS would be
a powerful modality and, more so, a framework for
healing. Then came the spinoffs: through his
research, Chady would come across and connect
with Tom and introduce him to Ithraa—for whose
practitioners Tom hosted a series of IFS workshops—
and Tom would introduce Chady to Toufic Hakim,
PhD (Foundation’s Executive Director), who was
born and raised in Lebanon and had also been
exploring ways to make IFS available and accessible
in the region as a vehicle for healing and social
harmony. [Coincidentally, Rahmé means
“compassion” in Arabic.]
Tom, Ben, Chady, and Toufic all share an interest
in fostering healing and harmony in the region,
which has been further discussed and explored by
the Institute. These discussions will hopefully lead,
in the not-so-distant future, to the hosting of formal
IFS trainings in Lebanon and for the region. A movement
could then start building upon the completion
of the first cohort of Level 1 graduates.
From there, Tom sees that there would be a pool
of high-quality, bilingual therapists who are familiar
with the IFS Model and who could then support
further trainings in the area by becoming Program
Assistants and then ultimately progress toward
becoming trainers. This would also allow the current
IFS training materials to be translated into Arabic,
further expanding and consolidating the reach of
the Model. The hope is to start recruiting talented
and generous IFS trainers in the US and international
communities to kick-start the process, knowing that
in time the delivery of training in the Middle East
will be locally generated and therefore sustainable.
The possibility of online trainings makes this
prospect all the more tangible.
“My love is finding avenues
into the cultures where
people who might be
resistant to yet another
model can see that it
can also honor their core
teachings and beliefs and be
adapted to fit their needs.”
The generational and complex trauma experienced
by individuals and families across the Middle East,
from Syria, Iraq, and Lebanon to Palestine and
Israel, are an urgent call to bring IFS to the region,
especially at a time when psychotherapy is
becoming less stigmatized and more welcome.
Tom, Ben, Chady, and Toufic are all working toward
the promotion of the IFS Model to allow it to
become a resource for healing and understanding
in the Arab-speaking Middle East while also
respecting the local culture and spiritual traditions.
An example of this sensitive approach is Tom’s work
integrating the principles of the 11th-century Islamic
scholar Al Ghazali, whose model of the psyche has
many parallels with IFS. Al Ghazali’s work provides
an already-built bridge to the IFS Model. As Tom
put it, “My love is finding avenues into the cultures
where people who might be resistant to yet another
Western psychological model can see that it can also
honor their core teachings and beliefs and be adapted
to fit their needs.” Tom can be reached
at firstname.lastname@example.org. SD/TMH
Some of the workshops and
experiences that Tom hosted were with
Ithraa, a nonprofit based in Jordan,
with offices in Lebanon, which focuses
on relational growth and enrichment.
Through these workshops, Chady met
Tom, and they eventually connected
with Toufic. All three had been
exploring how to bring IFS to the Arab
region of the Middle East and Gulf.
About Ithraa. Ithraa (Arabic for “enrichment”) is a
nonprofit organization providing training programs
for community members to enrich relationships,
focusing on intimacy among people. Cofounded by
Sameer Petro (ACC, ICF Certified Coach) and Mary
Petro (PCC, ICF Certified Coach), the organization
aims to form partnerships with different institutions
such as schools, universities, companies, families,
youth members, and governmental organizations
to create intimacy among the different components
of society. Ithraa’s commitment to nurturing healthy
relationships in society comes from a deep conviction
that only healthy relationships can promote a
happy social life where peace and harmony prevail.
Ithraa has a program for relational enrichment,
which is a direct response to the growing number of
challenges faced by young citizens who would like to
engage in the process of building a healthy society.
The goal of the program is to enrich relationships
within couples, youth, parents, educators, and all
workers. The focus is slightly different at each level
and each category, but the goal remains the same:
to empower people to make positive changes in
their lives. By partnering with different organizations
in both Jordan and Lebanon, Ithraa caters to the
growth of responsible individuals in the Middle East.
Through a group of therapists, coaches, and other
professionals in business and education, Ithraa
is providing both coaching and therapy services.
The organization already introduced sandtray
therapy to Lebanon and Jordan and provides
a program in the area based on attachment
theory and relational needs.
Ithraa has been in Jordan for more than twelve years
and in Lebanon for more than five years. Thousands
of trainees were exposed to the system and believe
in the coaching and therapeutic quality of services.
Hundreds of couples managed to strengthen their
relationships and reinforce the health of their families.
Ithraa also started a group of trainers in Dubai
who have been organizing workshops on relational
needs for the last two years. It runs a yearly youth
leadership camp in both Jordan and Lebanon.
Ithraa-Lebanon is led by Chady
Rahmé, PhD, a faculty member
in psychology and philosophy
at Notre Dame University,
Lebanon, who brings more
than 10 years of experience in
counseling. At Ithraa-Lebanon,
Chady conducts counseling,
training, and consultation on
relational enrichment for
professionals and executive
managers as well as people
seeking individual growth.
Chady also participated in many
programs on conflict transformation in areas of deep societal
tensions and violent clashes such as Syria and the Western
Sahara. Chady is now enrolled in a L1 training. He can be reached
at email@example.com. For more information visit Ithraa’s
website: www.ithraacenter.org or their Facebook pages at:
www.facebook.com/Ithraacenter/ or www.facebook.com/
Another key contact for Tom
in the Middle East is Ben Rivers,
who founded the Dawar Center
in Cairo. Ben uses psychodrama,
Playback Theatre, and other
arts-based methods to help
communities deal with violence,
trauma, and adversity.
About Dawar: Dawar is an arts and
well-being organization based in Cairo,
Egypt, that utilizes participatory theater,
therapeutic drama, and other arts-based
processes for healing, dialogue, and societal
transformation from the grassroots up.
Dawar has a role in facilitating psychosocial
interventions in partnership with individuals
and communities impacted by poverty,
war, displacement, and other forms of
adversity. The programs include direct
services such as the WHO-funded program
for traumatized refugee women as well as
a variety of other professional training
programs, including training in psychodrama
and the IFS introductory program offered by
Tom Holmes between 2018 and 2020.
Dawar is led by Ben Rivers,
PhD, a psychotherapist,
educator, and applied
theater practitioner. Ben
holds over 20 years of
experience in the health
and human services sector
and has practiced and
taught in Asia, Australia,
Europe, the Middle East,
and North America, working
extensively with communities
impacted by violence,
trauma, and adversity.
He is the founder of Dawar Arts (Cairo, Egypt) and the
Arab School of Playback Theatre (Adonis, Lebanon).
Ben holds a Master of Arts in Counseling Psychology
with a concentration in Drama Therapy from the
California Institute of Integral Studies, USA, and a PhD
in Peace Studies from the University of New England,
Australia. His articles have been published in professional
journals around the world. He is a Registered Drama
Therapist (RDT) and a Board Certified Trainer (BCT)
with the North American Drama Therapy Association and
is also an Accredited Playback Theatre Trainer through
the Centre for Playback Theatre, New York. Ben can be
reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. His University of New
England article can be found here: www.une.edu.au/
Multiply Your Impact
Did you know that many
businesses match charitable
gifts made by employees?
These matches multiply
the impact of an employee’s
gift, sometimes by 100%.
Board members, retirees
and spouses may
These matches do not cost anything
for the employee while providing
additional resources to advance
the practice of IFS. What’s more,
the Foundation recognizes donors
for the combined amount of their
gift plus the corporate match.
Want to find out if the company
where you, members of your family,
or friends work have a matching
gift program? Search our
comprehensive database of
Corporate Matching Gifts on
BEHIND THE SCENES OF IFS TALKS PODCAST AND THE HOSTS
Many readers may be familiar with IFS Talks Podcast. For those to whom this is new, you’ll definitely want to have a listen. Most listeners, however, know very little about the hosts themselves. Since September 2019, the warm, thoughtful, insightful, energetic, and playful duo—Aníbal Henriques, Licensed Psychologist and Tisha Shull, LCMHC, have been bringing IFS conversations from around the world to our ears.
Whether listened to while driving, making dinner, or between client sessions, the podcast gives listeners a sense of who the incredible IFS ‘celebrities’ (trainers, therapists, practitioners, and authors) and users of the Model are. Aníbal and Tisha tap into a deeper knowledge of each of those individuals and their topic of specialty, while also learning directly from the best in the field and having a lot of fun. Though initially intended for the IFScommunity, the podcast is having a farther reach.
To date, they have about 50 interviews kicked off by Cece Sykes, LCSW, ACSW, and include people such as Richard Schwartz, PhD; Toni Herbine-Blank, RN, MS, CS-P; Susan McConnell, MA, CHT; Rina Dubin, EdD, Licensed Psychologist; Paul Ginter, EdD; Robert Falconer, MA, CHT, and Michelle Glass, CIFSP, to name a few. Topics have encompassed an IFS focus with parenting, shame, legacy burdens, addictions, sexuality, psychedelics, trauma, therapists, and much more. A free listen, it can be found on iTunes, Spotify, Google Podcasts, and Stitcher; has an estimated 9,000 listeners and up to 3,000 followers; and receives glowing feedback and appreciation. In future episodes, they hope to include voices of color or populations that haven’t had much air time, and include topics such as groups, treating specific diagnosis with IFS and more unconventional subjects such as spirituality. Listeners are encouraged to send feedback, request an interview, suggest a topic or someone as a guest, and receive transcripts at https://internalfamilysystems.pt/ifs-talks.
It was during a Level 1 training where they both were program assistants that the two connected, and later Aníbal invited Tisha to create this audio series together. He has been a psychologist for 36 years, a trauma teacher and supervisor for 20 years in Lisbon, Portugal, and is now the Portugal IFS Institute-Partner. He began his IFS journey in 2017 and has completed multiple Level 3 trainings and has been a program assistant (PA) many times. For about eight years, Aníbal featured renowned psychotherapists in a video series called 50 Minutes, which he enjoyed and has missed since production stopped. Tisha has been a therapist in Burlington, Vermont since 2009, specializing in yoga-based trauma therapy. 2010 was the start of her IFS journey and she has completed Level 3 and has been a PA multiple times. She has also been a professional DJ on a non-profit radio station featuring heavy psychedelic Indie rock music for the past three years. Together, their collective histories lend much to their roles as interviewers.
Of their roles, both imparted a deep sense of gratitude to be received by the IFS community, a keen awareness of their privilege to be allowed to receive so much generosity from those they interview
One constant thread in each podcast is their question to each interviewee: “What parts come up today hearing your bio?” This question sets the stage for listeners to get a personal view of the one featured. When asked what parts come up being interviewed for OUTLOOK, Tisha shared: “It’s quite different to be asked questions and to answer on the fly. So, a part says ‘Whoa, we do this to our guests!? I’m so impressed.’ I’ve not been interviewed for much, so it’s appreciable. Parts are a little nervous about being interviewed. Parts in this conversation appreciate how much we put into our show and what a team we are. I have grateful parts.” For Aníbal, he remarked: “Parts feel grateful for what you, Michelle, are doing for the community and OUTLOOK, and so grateful the podcast is getting this attention. There are proud parts for what me and Tisha are doing. And loving parts that love the community, Tisha, and friends we connect with through the podcast. A lot of gratitude.”
Of their roles, both imparted a deep sense of gratitude to be received by the IFS community, a keen awareness of their privilege to be allowed to receive so much generosity from those they interview, the beauty of each encounter of getting to know each person on an intimate level, the inspiration and joy that comes from each interview, and the huge amount of learning that can be extracted from each individual they meet. Aníbal quipped, “I might be an addict in creating and listening to these podcasts.”
In their spare time, Tisha enjoys rock climbing, snowboarding, and carving wooden blocks and making greeting cards. Aníbal loves to exercise, walk, read, listen to jazz and hip-hop, and hang out with friends and colleagues. They both hope you’ll listen to the podcasts. Aníbal and Tisha can be reached through their website. __MG
The Foundation Presents
Civil discourse is at the core of working democracies.
The US has often been named (a bit presumptuously
perhaps) a beacon for democracy. Yet, intensifying
polarizations and deepening social divides across our
communities appear to be limiting (if not crushing) its
people’s ability to engage in civil dialogue as a people.
It is nearly impossible to be part of a constructive
dialogue if both sides of that dialogue are stuck and
adamantly inflexible. No dialogue can lead to meaningful
outcomes if either side wants to have its views embraced
wholesale by the other at all costs or to win regardless
of whether (or only if) the other loses—whatever the
repercussions might be.
Re-establishing conditions for a civil dialogue
and engagement is a must. Is that a real possibility
today, in the midst of our political and societal
conflicts in the United States and around the
world? And what would it take to get there?
Our conflicts in society remind us of conflicts among
internal parts of ourselves. Behaviors are manifestations of
assumptions, belief systems, and fears—often unfounded.
By helping uncover these various parts, IFS has shown us
a way to resolve internal conflicts. By extrapolation, might
these notions of engaging parts and tapping into qualities
of Self leadership, assumed to be universal, help bridge
the worrisome chasm that is widening among our people?
And if so, how?
This is the general theme of a new program that the
Foundation will launch later in 2021 to explore the
possible role for IFS as a model for social harmony.
Foundation board members and friends of the
Foundation will be hosting web-conversations with
guest authors and thought leaders from the IFS
community around a range of topics relevant to
society today, including returning to civility and
fundamental values, finding strength in differences,
engaging in compassionate activism, overcoming
racism, and transforming conflict.
Please stay tuned. __TMH
A New Book on IFS
Transcending Trauma: Healing Complex
PTSD with Internal Family Systems Therapy.
Author: Frank Anderson, MD
Publisher: PESI Publishing, Eau Claire, WI
Date of Release: May 19, 2021
Order: @ Pesi.com or on Amazon
“This book feels like a culmination
of my life’s work and has truly been
a labor of love. As many in our
community know, IFS has a unique way
of addressing and dealing with trauma,
and for me it’s the most
complete Model I’ve come across
to date, dealing with the cognitive,
incorporating the body, and facilitating
the release of painful feelings.
My hope by writing this book is to
help trauma survivors better navigate
the complicated journey of resolving
relational trauma and to assist clinicians
overcome the common pitfalls and
roadblocks frequently associated with
treating complex PTSD.”
–Frank Anderson, MD
Editor’s Note: Frank is the lead
author of a previous manual on IFS
and trauma. He is an IFS Lead Trainer
who has presented hundreds of
extensive workshops on IFS on trauma,
through both IFS Institute and PESI.
He has a private practice in psychiatry
in Massachusetts, serves as consultant
with IFS Institute, and contributed
to the growth of the Foundation for
Self Leadership as its first chair
and co-executive director.
Frank can be reached at
BEYOND PSYCHOTHERAPY AND COUNSELING
Self Leadership Brings Hope and
Connection to Schools: Leading Learning Amidst a Pandemic
In essence, our work is about building capacity in schools
for adults and students to access their inner resources and
optimal potential—to “lead from Self” together. This year,
the importance of this work has been greater than ever. How can we learn, teach, problem solve, and collaborate if we are “hijacked” by parts of us that feel isolated, overwhelmed,
defeated, or numb? How do we reconnect to Self in
To begin, we must honor and celebrate the tremendous and profound effort of our educators this year. The COVID-19 pandemic has brought untold challenges to students and educators alike. Amidst questions of safety, changes to how and where learning is happening, and evolving expectations, so many teachers, school counselors, principals, and paraprofessionals have truly shown up. They have
creatively adjusted their curriculum, courageously innovated solutions, and
compassionately reached out to connect, listen, and engage with their students and their families. Through eye contact, a gentle smile, words of encouragement, patient coaching, playful activities, and even simple presence, educators have made sure so many children experienced the gift of Self-energy—whether they called it that or not! With this gift, so many students have still felt seen, loved,
valued, included, safe, and hopeful.
Each time this has happened, our students
have learned that in the face of great challenges,
it is possible for human beings to connect and
collaborate for the greater good. Through adults coaching, they have experienced their own capacity to function from Self-led parts. This reality captures the heart of our work—to connect with children,
so they not only learn academics, but also grow
into healthy, integrated, compassionate, thriving,
generous human beings.
And so, with tremendous gratitude
and awe, we say “THANK YOU!” to our
educators and all our school staff!
How has the Self Leadership Collaborative been
a part of this journey?
Over the last year, the Self Leadership Collaborative has developed and adapted our model to respond
to the context of the pandemic, to meet the
current needs of our schools, to join and walk with our educators. Throughout this time, we have held and shared the core conviction that we possess the resource of Self within us always and as we access this space together, we can effectively navigate
the current storms.
This year, we’ve continued our pioneering work in partnership with A.I. Prince Technical High School in Hartford, Connecticut, USA, as well as Regional School District 13 in Durham/Middlefield.
Here are some of our activities this year in schools where we are piloting the adaptation and integration of core IFS concepts and skills into the classroom and school culture:
Professional Development for Educators: Starting in Spring 2020, we hosted staff meetings as a space to utilize core IFS concepts and skills as the framework for connecting. In small and large groups, we supported educators to recognize, articulate, and acknowledge the many external challenges and their unique inner responses (parts) during this difficult time. Additionally, we offered tools and practice
sessions to return to the experience of Self
leadership again and again. Many staff shared
what a tremendous relief it was to have a space
to pause and reset, and to feel heard and
supported in their community.
Reaching Students: We facilitated processes and offered tools for educators to explore the relevant application of this work for students. Participants reflected how to engage students (especially online) and also experimented with different ways to
welcome students (and all their parts). They brought more moments for mindfulness to their students, a pause to access Self. And they focused on listening more and making space to understand.
Ambassadors: Both during school hours and in the evening, small cohorts of teachers (ambassadors) have been gathering to continue to deepen their relationship with their own parts and to expand their capacity to coach our young people through minor and more acute moments. Additionally, these ambassadors have embraced the role of champions for their schools—mentoring colleagues, piloting lessons and curriculum, and discovering how to realize Self leadership in their school community as a relevant and sustainable way of being.
Leadership: School leaders, principals, and superintendents have participated in multiple workshops exploring the vision of a school infused with Self leadership and the practical shifts that can allow this to manifest. Many have courageously embraced the possibilities of their own self-discovery as a key component to their effective leadership for IFS
FRAMEWORK FOR IFS IN SCHOOLS
As we’ve continued our experimentation and
exploration of how to best adapt and apply IFS principles, concepts, and skills in schools, we are identifying best practices and assembling this into a framework. This will be made available soon as a publication, through the Foundation, to guide schools and educational professionals around the world in how they can apply the wisdom of IFS in their schools.
This process has been profoundly informed and inspired by the ongoing work of the Framework Collaborative, a group that meets monthly to share wisdom and best practices. This group is made up
of IFS practitioners from around the world who are
currently exploring how to bring IFS to schools in their communities. These collaborators represent diverse expertise as teachers, principals, coaches, psychologists, parents, and organizational developers. Thanks to the collaborators, the model under development promises to be rich, effective,
culturally relevant, systemic, and sustainable.
Here are the voices of a few of the extraordinary leaders and teachers we’ve had the privilege of partnering with this year:
“If there is anything
I have learned from Self leadership, it is to check myself. I pause to check where I am at and how
I am coming across.”
Self leadership has been transformative in
my pursuit of growth in education. It has shown me a direction that will be a life-long journey of finding space in myself to truly
be present for my students, colleagues, and community. It unlocks the spirit of human
connection and should be where
conversations about education begin.
__Coordinator of Student Affairs
As a superintendent, as much as I wanted to realize the outcomes for students, I knew we couldn’t jump over adults to realize
something for kids; it just couldn’t happen. There are many
programs and processes we could have selected and it was part luck and part vetting that landed us with the Self leadership model. It makes sense and is a model that acknowledges the individual and the collective from teacher to student to class to school to district. And, like anything that is truly worth it for sustained improvement, this takes financial and human resources and deep and
It (small group meetings twice monthly) is what keeps me going and knowing that I am not in this alone... Every time you ask what is working or what I need in the future, all I can say is I’ll take more of everything. Every single session has been valuable in its own way. It is just good to be with people who understand what I (and others are) going through. It is so very nourishing.
I wanted to let you know that I love the Tuesday night meetings. They are so very helpful. I find that they help me to relax and to understand myself more and my parts which I get are still really leading me! I use the tools for myself to keep myself in control and calm while there is still so much craziness here at school! Sometimes I’m tired of going with the flow at work because so much changes so fast. But being able to take a deep breath and refocus from anger or frustration to being calm and courageous has made me feel like a different person. Really using this model with the students would be my next step. I can’t wait to be able to bring it to life with them.___High School Teacher
By their very nature, educators cherish young people and invest hope in our future. In this, they are often searching for the bridge from the current state of being to the desired vision. Self leadership maps pathways to access our inner resources to manifest this way of being together now as we also work collaboratively toward the possibilities we glimpse for tomorrow. What could be more vital at this moment than for our schools, our children, and our planet to realize Self leadership together! __ Joanna Curry-Sartori, LMFT
Editor’s Note: Joanna and the Self-Leadership Collaborative that she founded are funded by a two-year grant from the Foundation for Self Leadership. The Collaborative is in its second year of operation. An independent program evaluation, with outcomes review to the extent that it is
possible to measure such outcomes given the effects of the pandemic, is being conducted in Year Two by Jayne Smith, PhD, and IFS-trained psychotherapists through the Mental Health Education Group that she leads.
Disseminating the language and
lens of parts and Self leadership
across schools is one the Foundation’s
leading priorities. And as is the case
with Foundation-sponsored programs,
rigorous evaluation, and research will
be a key component of this effort.
The strategy adopted in pursuing such a
priority is to reach out to adults in the schools: teachers, administrators, and paraprofessionals.
Why? (1) To help them deal more effectively
with the stressors around them, so they can
be more fully present, focus their full attention
on their students, and see their students’
behaviors and struggles in a different light;
and (2) To inspire them to model for their
students how to exhibit empathy for self
and others, put adversity and conflicts in
perspective, and navigate such challenges
from an inner place of calm, compassion,
and confidence. The desired longer-term
outcome is a school climate that is ever
more welcoming, inclusive, and
An Interpretation of
the 12-Step Program
Through an IFS Lens
Nadine Lucas, CAGS, LMHC, and Registered Play
Therapist has been on a 30-year spiritual mission
trying to understand herself since college. Her journey
includes participating in formal 12-Step programs such
as Overeaters Anonymous (OA) and culminated in her
recent attempt to examine and interpret the traditional
12 steps using principles and a language that are more
closely aligned with the IFS view of the human
psyche and dependency on alcohol, drugs,
or eating irregularities.
In her conversations with members
of the IFS community, it was recently
noted that while the 12-Step approach
has obviously helped countless individuals
and families, some IFS practitioners
have had concerns about some of its
assumptions or elements in how the
suggested beliefs or practices are
messaged. Nadine’s interpretation
takes care of those concerns and,
she hopes, could be very helpful.
Let’s meet Nadine and get introduced
to her philosophy and work.
Nadine’s lifelong struggle with food was founded
in the crucible of traumatic childhood events and
a legacy burden on her mother’s side—courtesy of
her grandfather’s alcoholism. It was in this context
as a young woman in her 20’s that she found herself
engaging briefly with Overeaters Anonymous.
However, the encounter was fleeting as Nadine used
it mainly as a diet club, not fully understanding the
significance of the Steps. It was not until approximately
20 years later when she found herself despairing
and distraught on the kitchen floor suffering
with food cravings and constant ruminations about
food and her self-worth that she revisited first the
OA 12-Step program and later, Al-anon. After a year,
Nadine finally gathered enough courage to get a
sponsor, whose loving compassion and gentle guidance
helped Nadine significantly heal her relationships
with her former husband, her mother, and her
daughter. Nadine says it was life changing!
However, Nadine was looking for further growth and
while she was desperate to believe in, and engage
with a higher power, she felt the language of the
12-Step program constrained her from developing a
close and personal relationship with it. Enter IFS.
‘Parts surrender to Self,
and Self surrenders to Source.’
A couple of years ago, Nadine started her own IFS
therapy and completed Level 1 and Level 2 trainings.
It was through this process she had the epiphany
that her parts had been running the show for years—
not her core Self. However, her history with 12-Step
programs clouded the distinctions between Self
and God. When asking herself questions about the
relationship between parts, Self, and God, Nadine
concluded that, in her words, Self was leading her
to God (which she named as Source) and which she
saw as a bigger-picture construct. It appeared to
her as something to which she had to surrender or
let go. Or more specifically in Nadine’s words: ‘Parts
surrender to Self, and Self surrenders to Source.’
As part of her journey of refining her understanding
about parts, Self, and Source, Nadine continued to
honor the role the 12-Step process has played in her
healing, while simultaneously seeking to overcome
the limitations of the language as she experienced
them. For example, the first three steps in the
traditional program can be summarized as:
I can’t; God can; and I will let God. However, Nadine’s
understandings of these steps when looking at them
through an IFS-informed lens sound more like this:
my parts carry burdens; Self can heal those burdens;
I will allow Self to heal my burdens. Indeed, Nadine
has been on a path to develop an IFS-oriented
approach to recovery*, independent from, yet
inspired by both IFS and the 12-Step teachings.
She calls that practice the PATH (Path for Addiction
and Trauma Healing) to Recovery. Its mission is to
create a compassionate community where people
in recovery can become more Self-led and speak
for their parts that may be burdened with extreme
behavior. Her first milestone is to gain a deeper view
of the 12 Steps through an IFS vantage point of
protector parts (managers and firefighters) and
exiles (see textbox for such an interpretation).
More recently, Nadine has been working with a
small team of IFS practitioners and other interested
professionals to unpack the relationship between
trauma and addiction. Her ultimate objective is to
facilitate the development of an international effort
to bring healing to addiction and trauma through
this emerging approach.
At this very early stage, Nadine has developed
relationships with people from Panama, the United
Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, Ireland, Spain,
South Africa, Greece, and India. Three PATH to Recovery
groups are held weekly: Thursday at 7:30 pm,
Saturday at 7am, and Sunday for therapists at 6pm,
all Eastern Daylight Time. While group size varies
between 25 to 55 participants, Nadine has about
500 people on her mailing list, with 400 followers
on the Facebook Events page, and over 150
members of the FB group. Feedback to her
groups has been overwhelmingly positive:
“The PATH group has been a long-time desire
of mine! When I read Nadine’s IFS-informed
[interpretation] of the 12 steps I knew I had found my
people:) Finally, a group of like-minded individuals
that speak for their parts in a loving compassionate
way that feels authentic and free,” Meg Slivoskey,
Certified IFS therapist with 33 years in recovery
“The PATH has benefited me greatly. As a long-time
member of a 12-Step program, there was a ‘no talk’
rule about trauma. I have also felt the indifference
of many members when sharing about parts. I now,
“I have so much more healing available to me due to the non-pathologizing language
used in this program”
along with other attendees, have found
a supportive, safe place to discuss what
I need to. This is a long-awaited asset,”
David Kerwin, IFS Level 3 practitioner
with 38 years of AA recovery
“While I acknowledge that AA and other
12-step programs have helped millions of people, I struggled with much of the language and could never get comfortable in AA. Being in Nadine’s recovery program, based upon IFS, alleviates those areas of language which I find to be shaming (i.e. “defects of character”). I have so much more healing available to me due to the non-pathologizing language used in this program,” Laura Lively, Certified IFS
practitioner with 5 years of abstinence
and 2 years of sobriety
If you are interested in being a part of
her exploration network and support groups, please contact Nadine at
email@example.com or access her Facebook page at www.facebook.com/groups/apathtorecovery. __SD/TMH/MG
Disclaimer: This view of the Steps is not designed to interfere with, edit, or replace any elements or principles behind the 12-Step Program. These new items in a new language simply represent one practitioner’s interpretation given IFS learnings and orientation. In addition, the PATH team says, “This PATH is not opposed to, or in competition with, other established groups. Recovery is respected in any form, regardless of the path by which it is achieved. This forum is intended simply to fill a need not met by others. Even with this group, you may find other meetings still valuable. Some members may wish to continue to attend AA, OA,
Al-Anon, ACA and other groups. Ultimately, we are
all allies working toward a common goal.”
An IFS Interpretation of the 12 Steps
©2020 Nadine Lucas
Have You Moved in the Last Yearor Have a New Email Address?
Don’t miss out on important Foundation
updates and latest editions of OUTLOOK.
Please update your address and email address
so that you can receive the latest from your
Foundation at FoundationIFS.org/donate/
A Timely Sentiment
As a musician for 20 years and an award-winning
drummer who was inducted into the Rhode Island
Hall of Fame, David Medeiros MSW, LICSW, knows
a thing or two about timing.
Since studying to be a social worker some years ago, David has worked in the areas of men’s domestic violence, risk management, and complex and developmental trauma using various models including IFS. While David has been thinking about the issue of civility for a long time, he has recently focused his attention toward writing a book on the topic which unpacks the constructs of civility, responsibility, and their
relationship to IFS.
David notes that his interest in civility was shaped and influenced early in life as a 12-year-old, when
he had a one-off interaction with a very prominent musician who demonstrated an obvious lack of
civility when they met. Years later as a therapist
he was also significantly impacted by his role as co-director of a domestic violence agency working with over 700 men (and some women) who had been arrested and convicted of domestic violence.
When asked to expound on the relationship between civility and responsibility, David defined responsibility as the ability to act in accordance with universal truths grounded in morality such as, ‘do unto others as you would have them do unto you.’ He also noted that responsibility includes a framework and duty to acknowledge and compassionately attend to the pain and suffering of oppressed people, groups,
and cultures. This allows David to go on and
define civility as the behavior which occurs when people treat each other with dignity, respect,
and kindness, and the embracing of the interconnectedness and inherent value of all human
beings and the planet we live on.
With the same exquisite sense of timing he
employed as a musician, David wrote and
published his book A Return to Civility and a Path
to Get There, in late October of 2020 before the recent changeover of government in the USA.
While preferring not to give unnecessary oxygen
to the former president and his administration,
David conceded that the events of the last four years increased his sense of urgency in terms of getting his message out there as a result of watching the levels of responsibility, accountability, civility—and ultimately democracy—be eroded. He said, “the purpose of my book is to let people know more about civility, what it’s like, and how important it is because no matter who you voted for, many of the problems in the last four years have been driven by parts, and IFS offers a path to explore how this could happen without being pathologizing or shaming. So, let’s just use IFS to try and help the situation.”
...no matter who you voted for, many of the problems in the last four years have been driven by parts, and IFS offers a path to explore how this could happen without being pathologizing or shaming. So, let’s just use IFS
to try and help the situation.”
David’s humility and humanity shine through in
conversation as well as leaping out from the pages
of his book. He is not above using examples from his
own life to make a point and does so beautifully in
a number of instances. Indeed, in the introduction,
David remembers his long-held hesitation to accept
help with an aspect of his musicianship—the meter
and sense of overall timing throughout a song.
Despite the offer of tutoring from a well-respected
mentor in the field, David chose to try and work it
out on his own, and over time he became aware of
a part who was uncomfortable with feeling ‘weak.’
During his change of career, David attended
community college and then university to study
psychology and social work, which started him
on the road to being a therapist, and he reflected
that it was this act of being open as a student which
allowed him to identify this part and notice that it
was limiting him. He vowed
to ‘do better’ and since
then has been a perpetual
student, observer, and
proponent of curiosity.
As part of his full-time
private practice, David has
worked closely with Richard
Schwartz, PhD, with a number
of his complex clients,
some of whom have had
difficulty with day-to-day
functioning and required
David is proud of the gains
he made in these scenarios
and noted he has transitioned
to the sole use of IFS
as his treatment modality in
these specific situations.
In addition, David and Dick
co-presented the plenary
documenting the transformative
of IFS at the Annual IFS
Conference in Providence,
Rhode Island in 2018.
Ultimately, David says the construct of civility is not
complicated. “Conceptually, if we all could have a critical
mass of Self more times than not, civility would be the
norm—but life is not that simple.” He believes that IFS
offers an elegant foundation to not only explain how
parts of us can stray from embracing civility, but it does
so with a non-judgmental framework. In addition, IFS
offers a path to understand the interactions of parts
and Self, and to move towards being more Self-led
within ourselves and towards others.
David’s book A Return to Civility and a Path to Get
There, is published by Stillwater River Publications.
He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org. __SD
Join the Movement!
We are your Foundation. The Foundation is yours.
It takes a village…it takes you.
Do you want to be counted as an active member of
our growing caring global community? Do you promote
compassionate Self-leadership in your daily life with
others? Do you impart the wisdom of IFS and advance
the work of the Foundation with those in your circles?
If you answered yes, please join our efforts!
To receive OUTLOOK and brief periodic communiqué
to keep abreast of a wide range of developments
around IFS and our community, please visit Join us
as a Friend of the Foundation. Remember, we are
separate from IFS Institute.
Community: a unified body of individuals,
such as a body of persons of common and
especially professional interests scattered
through a larger society.
A spoken universal language, beyond common consonants and vowels,
One that emanates from deep listening and responds with interest and intrigue
A revealing lens into one’s inner makeup, beyond dogma or religion
Now imagine such language and lens in much fuller use
And then imagine with us, how our world could evolve.
Foundation for Self Leadership2020 ANNUAL REPORT
Never before have we better understood the importance
of leading from Self, with curiosity and compassion for
ourselves and each other.
Thanks to steadfast and generous support from the IFS
community, your Foundation for Self Leadership continued
its endeavor to advance inner peace through IFS even (and
especially) during a pandemic and historically turbulent year.
Members of the IFS community like you made this possible—some through shared expertise
and volunteering, others through philanthropic support for timely initiatives. As a community,
you provided leadership for new programs like innervention; you helped incubate and launch
the Healing Corps; you sponsored IFS Gallery 35 in the 12th November issue of OUTLOOK;
and you funded a new scientific study and expanded access to the IFS Model.
Thanks to the following individuals and organizations who made charitable
donations during 2020, we are that much closer to bringing IFS to the world.
See what these gifts helped accomplish last year.
Betty A. and D. WalterCohen Foundation/JoanneCohen-Katz, PhD
Frederick Thomas GivingFund/Joy Shivas, MSW, LCSW*
Hagit Zeev, MA, LMFT
Fagen Family Fund/LesterFagen, JD*
Vicki J McCoy, MA
New England Foundationfor the Arts
Shepard Family Foundation/Lee Shepard, MBA*
Mark Gorman, LPC andMelissa Gorman, MA, LPC*
Toufic Hakim, PhD andRobyn Rajs, MA, LPC*
Brenda Hollingsworth,MSW, LICSW*
IFS Great Lakes Retreat*
Pamela Krause, LCSW*
Carl Marcus, MS, MSS, LCSWand Karin Marcus, MA, PCC, BCC*
Jayne Smith, PhD, LPC-C*
Frank Anderson, MD*
Mona Barbera, PhD*
Nancy Bravman, LCSW*
Liz Brenner, LICSW
Doris Cameron, LICSW*
Dave Cantor, LMFT, JD
Elaine Casquarelli, PhD, LPCC
Randi Cutler, LMFT*
Elizabeth Doyne, PhD
Ann Drouilhet, LMFT, LICSW*
Jay Earley, PhD
Michael Elkin, MA, LMFT
and Judith Black
Joy Freeman, DC
Paul Ginter, EdD*
Cathie Gum, PsyD*
Gail Hardenbergh, LICSW*
Suzanna Hillegass, RN, LCSW
Tom Holmes, MA, MSW, PhD
Flo Holt, MA, LPC
Anna Huckabee Tull, MA
Erika Jackson, MS, PCC, BCC
Kathleen R Johnson, MD
Shelly Johnson, LMHC
Molly LaCroix, MPH, LMFT
Beau Laviolette, LCSW
Laura Leslie, LCSW*
Karen Locke, MA
Lou Lukas, MD
Kirsten Lundeberg LPC, LMFT
Susan McConnell, MA, CHT
Kenneth McNeill, APPC
Dave Medeiros, LICSW
Kimberly Miller, MTh, LMFT
Bonnie Mioduchoski, MBA
Arthur Mones, PhD, ABPP*
North Atlantic Books
Teresa Ortiz, MSW,
Glenn Reinl, CPA and
Patricia Rich, LCSW*
Jenna Riemersma, MA, LPC
Ted Riskin, LCSW*
Ronald Cobb Family Foundation/Janet Weathers, PsyD*
Lawrence Rosenberg, PhD*
Jonathan Rubenstein, MA*
Sharon Sargent Eckstein
Richard Schwartz, PhD and Jeanne Catanzaro, PhD
LaDonna Silva, MA, LMFT*
Lisa Spiegel, MA, LMHC
Elissa Stein, MA, LMFT, LPC*
Sarah Stewart, PsyD
Martha Sweezy, PhD, LICSW
Cynthia Sykes, LCSW, ACSW
Fred van Welsem*
Bonnie Weiss, MA, LCSW
Dave Williams, JD, LMFT
Julie Zakreski, PhD
Blair Barbour, MSW, LCSW
Requina Barnes, LICSW
Nancy Berkowitz, PhD,
Karen Klein Berman, LCSW*
Vandy Bollinger, MEd, LCSW, LMHC
Sabine Boots, MS, LMFT*
Donna Dallal-Ferne, LMFT
Audrey Davidheiser, PhD
Lia DeLand, MS, LCMHC*
Daniel Deutsch, MA, LMFT*
Rina Dubin, EdD
Linda Fabe, MEd, LPCC
Kira Freed, MA, BCC, LPC (Ret)*
Full Circle Counseling/
Katherine Pomeroy, LMFT
Bette Galen, MSW, LCSW*
Kelly Gaule, CAP*
Shelley Hartz, RN, MSN
and Rob Hartz*
Neil Hawkes, DPhil
Hudner Hobbs, MD
Karen Jacobs, MA
Miki Morimoto, MD*
Ilpa Patel, MPA*
Guthrie Sayen, PhD*
Martha Schlesinger, PhD
David and Nezi Schwartz
Marla Silverman, PhD
Leslie Joy Simmons, LCPC
and Miles Simmons, MD
Meg Slivoskey, MS, LMFT
Allyn St. Lifer-Kooris, MEd,
Roxanne Strauss, LMFT
Marilyn Unger-Riepe, MA,
Joanne VanNest, PhD
Colleen West, MA, LMFT
Kathy Wiener, MPA*
Edward Yeats, PhD*
Tami Zak, MBA, MS*
Susan Aeschbach, LICSW
and Neil Gladstone, LICSW*
Marta Chausée, MS*
Captain USN (Ret), PCC
Kelly Clancy, OTR/L,
CHT, BCSI, LMT
Nancy Fader, MA, MFT
Lucinda Flavelle, MA*
Benjamin Cooley Hall,
Ken Hundert, MA
Kenneth Mackie, LCSW*
Paypal Giving Fund
Barbara Perkins, MA
Dana Rosenstein, LCSW-C
and Nancy Drayden Hebb*
Maureen Staley Cary, LMHC
Amy Tremain, MA, PsyD, LP
Eve Wenger, MBA
Gary Whited, PhD, LICSW*
Mitchell Wood, MDiv, LCSW
Jennifer Wortham, LCSW*
Yvette Yeager, MSW, LICSW
and Tom Bassarear, PhD*
June and Mike Zagury
* Cornerstone Partners have committed their support for three consecutive years. Learn more.
Last year, numerous donors
directed funds to the Foundation
for Self Leadership from the
Jewish Communal Fund
San Francisco Foundation
U.S. Charitable Gift Trust
We gratefully received donations
in tribute to the following individuals during 2020.
IN MEMORY OF
IN HONOR OF
Jeanne Catanzaro, PhD
COVID Healthcare Workers
Toufic Hakim, PhD
IFS Schools Program
Theodore Imanuel Parsont
Richard Schwartz, PhD
The following individuals supported the Foundation’s work last year as
volunteers. We are deeply grateful for the time and talent they contributed
to outreach programs and operational projects. We thank them.
Chris Burris, LCMHCS, LMFT
Joanna Curry-Sartori, LMFT
Anne Eberhardt, Dipl. Psych.
Fatimah Finney, LMHC
Kira Freed, MA, BBC, LPC (ret.)
Jacqueline Germain, MS, ND
Brenda Hollingsworth, MSW, LCSW
Kathy Johnson, MD
Seth Kopald, PhD
Kelly Kreutz, LICSW
Jenn Matheson, PhD, LMFT
Ray Mount, PhD
Amy Schaefer, MA
Nancy Sowell, MSW, LICSW
Anna Tansi, MS Org Psych.
Laura Taylor, JD
Theresa Velendzas, MS
Deran Young, LCSW
The Foundation for Self Leadership makes every effort to provide a complete and accurate list of donors and their professional
credentials. If we have inadvertently omitted or misprinted your listing, please accept our sincere apologies and contact us at
Outreach@FoundationIFS.org. We will endeavor to make any pertinent changes to the web-based version of the report.
Sarah B. Stewart, PsyD, PLLC, IFS Institute Lead Trainer
I came into the field of psychology through
a study of trauma and the phenomena of
dissociation. So, the concept of multiple
personalities was always there for me.
During an IFS retreat at Maya Tulum with Dick (Richard
Schwartz, PhD,) and Barb (Barbara Cargill, MA, ADTR),
I found IFS was the missing piece that pulled together my
understanding. The spark of Self, interconnected with all
beings, made sense to my experience of the world. It spoke
to me deeply as a clinician, and a social justice and
Yet, for ideas to be accepted in psychotherapy, you have to have the scientific
research to back it up. I think about the study by Nancy Sowell, MSW, LICSW.
(Note: This study was the basis for the IFS Model inclusion in the SAMHSA,
National Registry of Evidenced-Based Programs and Practices in 2015.
Learn more at FoundationIFS.org/research/empirical-evidence.)
I also believe in how much IFS gives us tools to work within ourselves and
interpersonally, and that this is key to creating a fairer and more just world.
When I learned about the work that Frank Anderson, MD, and the Foundation for Self
Leadership was doing to fund research, I decided to support it. As a social justice
advocate and an IFS Trainer, I also support the Foundation because of its efforts
to make the Model accessible to all, not just those with the resources.
The Foundation’s work is close to my heart and so I give as generously as I can.
I structured my donation as recurring monthly payments because that gives the
Foundation a dependable stream of support to do its work. It’s not really about
budgeting my finances as much as it is about wanting to give in a way that helps.
That makes me feel like a true partner in the mission.
Learn more about recurring gifts:
Why do you support the Foundation’s work? Help inspire
others by sharing your story. Please contact Barbara Perkins, MA,
Senior Associate Director for Development & Communications,
What We Accomplished Together in 2020
In addition to the Foundation’s
continued efforts to engage with
members of the community around
incubating IFS-related ideas and
projects, here are a few 2020
that are worth singling out:
Funded the second year of a
second IFS in Schools pilot project:
In 2019, the Foundation funded a two-year Self
leadership development program for teachers, staff,
and administrators at three schools in the Hartford,
Connecticut area (USA). The program has continued
through the pandemic and provided educators with
invaluable inner resources to meet the moment.
Produced community-facing workshops
and resources in response to urgent
societal needs during COVID-19:
IFS practitioners partnered with the Foundation
on several free, virtual programs—innervention,
Legacy Burdens of Racism, The ABC’s of Healing
with Nature, Healing CorpsTM—for those seeking
inner strength, calm, and hope during a time
of unprecedented crisis.
Implemented new and ongoing
initiatives with lean infrastructure:
The Foundation continues to operate through
a small team of dedicated staff and volunteers,
demonstrating agility during a time of great
opportunity and threat.
$134,640 USD or 18% of total expenses
Launched a randomized clinical
trial on IFS as a treatment for PTSD,
and with opioid use:
With 2/3 of the funding in-hand, an extensive
research study began last summer at the Harvardaffiliated
Cambridge Health Alliance Community
Mental Health Center, Massachusetts (USA). The
research will assess the effects of an IFS protocol for
trauma and take a closer look at IFS as a treatment
for individuals with PTSD and comorbid substance
abuse disorder. Learn more..
Built community through
communications and outreach:
The Foundation manages an expansive website,
IFS writings database, and select social media
platforms, and produces OUTLOOK magazine
and OUTLOOK Shorts. These networks enable
us to share information, showcase IFS-related
stories and people, and deepen connections
within the IFS community.
As an independent not-for-profit
partner to IFS Institute, your
Foundation for Self Leadership
is an active member of the IFS
community, working with you
to bring Self leadership
to the world.
This work is possible because of
contributions from IFS practitioners,
researchers, advocates, and clients like you.
Through monthly gifts to the Annual Fund
and multi-year pledges, your support is
broadening access to IFS in schools, among
the military and across underserved
communities; and expanding rigorous
IFS research and the gathering
of empirical evidence.
For all of those who desire to
give others the gift to discover
their parts and lead from a place
of Self, thank you.
Join us today at
Editors’ Note: Change offers the potential for
growth and new perspectives. After thirteen years
as the CEO of IFS Institute, Jon Schwartz, MEd, is
in the final transition of handing the baton over to
Katie Nelson, MBA. The two began a three-month
transition period in December 2020. We at the
Foundation wish to extend our deep gratitude to
Jon for his many years of dedication and service
to the world of IFS, without which we may not be
at this place in history. Likewise, we express our
heart-felt warm welcome to Katie and look
forward to our collaborations with her in
anticipation of a new future ahead. __MG
In 2008 Jon Schwartz, MEd, arrived on scene at IFS Institute (then The Center for Self Leadership) after many discussions with his brother, Dick, about undertaking this position as Executive Director. The Center had a handful or
so of staff and about 18 trainers. His experience as executive director at both Urban Peak, a center for runaway and homeless youth in Denver, Colorado, and Poyama Day Treatment, a psychiatric day treatment for children and families in Independence, Oregon steered the then-mature-yet modest organization to many changes.
Over the years there
has been an exponential increase in interest
toward IFS. Jon recognized several reasons for the increased demand. First among them are the facts that 1) IFS is a clear, easy to understand Model that offers good news for those ensconced in “I am this one thing thinking” (Example: “I am this depressed person”); and 2) Dick’s single minded focus, ability, and lack of
pretense in conveying the Model. The trainers’
ability to deliver an amazing experience for trainees and the insights and leadership of IFS community members, including Program Assistants (PAs),
are essential constituents. Jon also believes that
the transferability of learning IFS in video and online spaces and the adaptability and transcendence of IFS across multiple cultures cannot be left out of the equation. “If communicated in a Self-led way, IFS is relevant across the human spectrum,” he reflected.
Some of the many significant changes that Jon brought to CSL/IFS Institute include incorporating systems integrity (policy/procedures development, staff roles, and chains of command, etc.); fiscal discipline; the creation and implementation of new programming (new L2 programs, L1 retreat-style, online programming, etc.); the IFS Certification
process; supporting the reactivation of the
Foundation for Self Leadership and formation of
its original board of directors; growth in a number
of international partners and training locations worldwide; moving the IFS Conference from Chicago to Providence, then to Boston, and again to Denver; the creation of OTP*’s and outreach to diverse and minority communities; the successful transition to online training programs in response to COVID-19; and the creation of ATP** and LTP*** programs. All in all, with his leadership, a ten-fold financial growth occurred. Additionally, Jon, along with friend Bill Brennan, wrote a book about helping readers understand themselves better called There’s a Part of Me…
“Personally, IFS has helped my understanding of my own and other people’s nature and how human systems and societies, large and small, act and react with one another. I also made some friends along the way,” he shared. His Level 1 training in 2002 with Dick and Michi Rose, PhD, LMSW, his L2, and his PA experience for Toni Hebine-Blank, RN, MS, CS-P, provided him with a foundation to understand the Model as he worked within the organization. “I really enjoyed working with a dedicated, talented team of staff with whom we’ve formed excellent relationships,” he reflected. He’s most proud about taking his ideas from conception to implementation while witnessing how they have succeeded, leading efforts to bring the IFS community from homogeneity to diversity, and bridging IFS access from a community composed primarily of people with time and money, to communities that frequently lack the time and money of more privileged people, increasing the diversity in our community. “It’s still a long, long way to go, but I’ve worked hard to get us on this path,” he proudly shared.
“It’s not a small thing that I feel aligned with the next person and others feel good about her coming on board.”
Since the transition, he and Katie have gotten to know one another well, and he’s enjoyed working with her and will continue to be available to her at any time. “I feel confident she’s in a good position to do great work for IFS Institute,” Jon said. “It’s not a small thing that I feel aligned with the next person and others feel good about her coming on board.” As Jon leaves his position, he does so without any specific plans. Rather, he looks forward to seeing what new opportunities might arrive for him after having spent the last 36 years in management. One thing is clear, he is eager to find pro bono
ways to provide a much broader and direct positive impact on people’s lives. Happy trails, Jon, we wish you well in all your future endeavors. __ MG
Editor’s Note: More information on these
IFS Institute programs may be found in
past editions of OUTLOOK.
* OTP is the Organizational Training
Program, see Optimization, Diversity,
and More: A CSL Update in April 2019
** ATP is the Accelerated Training
Program, see An IFS Institute Update in
November 2020 https://FoundationIFS.org/
*** LTP the Leadership Training Program,
see An IFS Institute Update in November
Welcome Katie Nelson!
The Foundation extends a very warm
welcome to Katie Nelson, MBA, the new CEO for IFS Institute. Katie comes
well-equipped to lead the Institute into the future, having worked at the fourth largest management consultant firm in the world, Oliver Wyman. There, she spent twenty-three years serving in two roles. As Management Consultant, Katie supported large organizations and executive teams in making strategic decisions about business growth, examining the bigger picture over
As Global Director of Learning and
Development, she provided an internal role, imparting skills to assist the success of all employees from freshly-out-of-
university consultants to the most senior Partners, as well as created peer support groups for them to share experiences and grow together.
Her new role as CEO is
a unique combination of her former roles. Katie looks forward to both spreading the Model
and growing the business further. “I realized during the interview process that I was very excited about expanding learning programs at the Institute, but I also had parts of me that had been sleeping who were waking up and getting excited about leading the business,” Katie shared. “The future for IFS feels very expansive, and I look forward to supporting the Institute’s work in areas we can’t even imagine yet.” she continued.
Katie arrived to IFS Institute with an enthusiasm
for the Model, having first learned about IFS in
December 2019 at a retreat with Dick. The transition is going well. She has met all of the Institute staff and most of the trainers with plans to continue
getting to know everyone better in individual
meetings. In April, she began her IFS Level 1
and looks forward to learning more. Katie will be interfacing with the Foundation’s executive director and board members in much the same fashion Jon Schwartz did, though she anticipates opportunities for more collaboration, or at least sharing ideas on similar initiatives, such as the diversity and inclusion objectives both organizations feel strongly about.
“We collectively have huge issues to solve, and I believe the future will require businesses, governments, and organizations to be much more collaborative and Self-led. IFS is an important tool to enable that development to happen in the world,” she explained. To this end, IFS Institute is beginning to think of itself less as an entity in and of itself, and more
of the leader of an ecosystem. This orientation
requires the Institute to manage what’s going on
in its own boundaries and within the partnerships
and relationships with others, using the Model.
“We are just starting to understand what that
entails. In a way, IFS lays the ground for a
textbook of sorts of how to have Self-led systems,
no matter the ecosystem,” she reflected.
“We collectively have
huge issues to solve,
and I believe the future
will require businesses,
governments, and organizations
to be much more
collaborative and Self-led.
IFS is an important tool to
enable that development
to happen in the world,”
“I love what I do. I feel very grateful for being
given the opportunity to take on this new role
and I so appreciate the warm welcome from the
broader IFS community. I deeply respect Dick’s
work, the Institute team and the trainers. They
are an incredible group, and I feel privileged to
serve alongside them,” Katie said. Outside of
work, Katie is a single mother of a soon-to-be
driving teenage son who also provides her
at-home tech support and a large dog who
provides moral support—all in trade for
regular meals and laundry! She can be
reached at email@example.com. __MG
Plan your long-term gift to the Foundation!
Leave a good legacy for a better future. Please remember the Foundation for Self Leadership in your will or estate planning.
Help sustain its global mission of research, service, and advocacy into the next generation. All it takes is a quick phone call to your attorney to add a charitable gift to your will.
To leave a gift in your will, simply share this sentence with your attorney or financial planner:
“I bequeath $ ________________ or ________________ % of my estate or ________________ shares of ________________ equity stock or ________________ (valuable physical property) to the Foundation for Self Leadership, c/o David Bea, Esq.; Bea & VandenBerk Attorneys at Law; 225 West Washington, Suite #1010; Chicago, Illinois 60606, USA (+1.312.442.9076)
I have included the Foundation for Self Leadership in my will.
Better yet, engage the Foundation in a conversation early on to identify optimal ways to channel your gift to support strategic priorities in alignment with your personal and/or professional interests.
Write us at Outreach@FoundationIFS.org
News Over at IFS Institute
Editors’ note: Keeping the IFS community
up to date about the recent developments
at IFS Institute is an important activity for
the Foundation. With each OUTLOOK, we
aspire to share with you details from the
Institute to celebrate its achievements
and changes there. The Institute and the
Foundation are connected in vision; yet,
they operate as separate entities.__MG
The Annual IFS Conference will be held
virtually this year. Please mark your calendars
for October 14 – 16, 2020. More details will be
forthcoming on the Institute’s website
(ifs-institute.com). Both the Institute and
the Foundation hope to see you there!
With the intention to support making trainings
more accessible, the Institute has adopted a new
lottery system for those applying for trainings.
Before the lottery system went into effect, every
new training listed was filled within a few short
minutes. Please view each new training’s webpage
for details on how to apply through the lottery.
Jessy Daniels joined the Institute team in
December of 2020 as Assistant to the Training
Coordinator, Mary Anne Gardner. We all welcome
Jessy to the team and community!
A new online Scholarship Application tool was
recently adopted, as well as a new online Program
Assistant Application tool to enhance efficiency and
provide a more user-friendly experience for those
interacting with the Institute.
SEPARATE & TOGETHER
Question: Is there a difference between
the Foundation and the Institute?
The Foundation for Self Leadership and IFS Institute are
engaged in significant collaborative efforts, with great common determination and towards a shared vision: to facilitate
Self-discovery and promote Self leadership across the world.
Yet, they have separate and independent legal,
fiscal, and governance systems.
The Foundation for Self Leadership is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit dedicated
to the supporting robust research to establish IFS as evidence-based,
broadening access to IFS in communities otherwise underserved by IFS,
and expanding the outreach and advocacy of IFS across the globe. The Foundation was established in 2013 and is the creator of OUTLOOK.
The Institute is dedicated to ensuring consistency in the education of IFS Model. IFS Institute, while originally called The Center for Self Leadership (CSL), was established in 1985 and is home to all formal IFS in-person trainings and online programs, hosts the annual conference, and manages a growing store of IFS books and resources.
“Share our similarities, celebrate our differences.”M. Scott Peck
Donor-Advised Funds: A Closer Look
The Foundation has, of late, received quite a few charitable gifts through
donor-advised funds. That prompted us to take a closer a look at these
funds because they can provide many advantages to the donor.
A donor-advised fund is simply
an investment account for the sole
purpose of supporting charitable
organizations. And there are few
giving strategies that provide
as many financial planning
opportunities as does a
1. Flexibility in the types of
assets that can be donated,
such as non-publicly
2. Gifts are tax-deductible in the
US in the year the contribution
is made. What’s more, the limit
on deductibility is up to 60%
of adjusted gross income.
3. Funds are invested,
and grow tax-free.
4. Donor receives a larger
tax deduction, but no capital
gain tax, on appreciated assets.
In the US, donor-advised funds
have been around since 1931,
but only become more widely
accessible in recent decades.
This trend is growing as employers
begin to sponsor donor-advised
funds and donor-advised sponsors
lower account minimums.
Questions? Contact us at
Spreading the Word:
Derek Scott on Teaching IFS, Gay Men, and Parenting
As IFS Level 1 trainings have become increasingly difficult to take, individuals continue to discover ways to soak up the power of the Model while they await acceptance into official trainings. Derek Scott, RSW, is the founder of Internal Family Systems Counseling Association (IFSCA), a Canadian organization dedicated to promoting the Model and the teachings of Richard Schwartz, PhD.
Derek is a gay man, parent, and certified IFS therapist whose work is informed by social justice parts. Nearly seventeen years ago, he began creating various IFS-focused YouTube videos in an effort to make accessible what he calls “the truth of our existence.” To date, more than sixty such videos on topics such as parenting, grief, shame, child abuse, and understanding your own system have logged over 750,000 views and he has nearly 10,000 followers. The spring board for his teaching IFS courses came in 2016, when he taught an IFS and Grief workshop at the MD Psychotherapist Association Conference in Toronto which generated broad interest. His one-day workshops began to fulfill the curiosity of people wanting to understand the Model. Soon, however, he noticed a significant gap of opportunity for people to continue learning IFS once they completed his introductory workshops, given the increased difficulty of acceptance into Level 1 trainings. So, he created IFSCA with the intention of teaching online IFS courses and workshops*.
IFS Stepping Stones, available a few times a year, is a 16-week online course offering thorough didactic, experiential, and supervised practice components. Derek also teaches a popular 4-Day Intensive. Hundreds have graduated over the years and many go on to take IFS Level 1 trainings. In addition to his own teachings, Derek invited others to teach their IFS-based specialties through his IFSCA MasterClass Series. Dick Schwartz provided the first class on IFS and Spirituality. Other MasterClass teachers have been Bob Falconer, MA, CHT, on Guides and Unattached Burdens; Kay Gardner on Legacy Burdens; Susan McConnell, MA, CHT, on Somatic IFS; Tara Vogel, CPC, on Parts and Astrology; Janina Fisher, PhD, on Trauma, and Michelle Glass, CIFSP, with the Daily Parts Meditation Practice©. The community response has been very positive, appreciating the many resources Derek provides. These offerings are now filling a social-community- building need, in addition to the educational demand since COVID-19 began. To find upcoming learning opportunities, visit his website at https://ifsca.ca.
At the age of nineteen, Derek began his mental health service as a peer counselor at the University of Keele, England. After emigrating he began working as an AIDS counselor in the early 80’s. Experiencing first-hand the prejudicial heteronormative frameworks society instills, he has positioned himself to bring a safe learning environment to the queer community. “There is a paucity of gay men in the IFS community. I want to teach gay men who can teach to the broader queer community,” he enthusiastically shares. In January 2021, he taught his first day-long IFS Intro for Gay Men workshop to 65 participants. The feedback was so encouraging that he has extended the program into Stepping Out, a 16-week Stepping Stones course that began in March and will then be offered again in September. Acceptance of diversity being highly valued, he supports anyone who wants to start a similar IFS trans or other queer affinity group.
As a gay dad and therapist, the topic of IFS and parenting has long been dear to his heart. For the past several months, he has been releasing short videos designed for non-therapists on the subject, which can be found on his
“There is a paucity of gay men in the IFS community. I want to teach gay men who can teach to the broader queer community,”
YouTube channel, www.youtube.com/user/derektherapist. “Because shame is endemic, passed down through the line, I want the videos to go far and wide to shift the culture as much as possible so we have less clients in therapy,” Derek relays. These videos have also been greatly appreciated. More information about any of Derek’s offerings can be found on his website https://ifsca.ca. __MG
*Though endorsed by the Institute, please keep in mind that these IFS educational workshops are not official IFS trainings.
25 Years Young
Editor’s Note: For four committed IFS practitioners in Iowa City,
their IFS peer support group has formed an integral part of their lives, providing support in times of grief and the ideal environment in which to develop and practice their IFS skills. Having started 25 years ago, it is considered to be the longest-running IFS peer support group in existence (although we are happy to hear of others) and has provided a long-term and stable space for both personal and professional growth. It was a pleasure to speak with Joanna, Sally, Janet, and Anne about the formation and longevity of their group. __SD
As part of his visit to Iowa in 1996 to
deliver a workshop, Richard Schwartz, PhD, planted a seed in a group of
burgeoning IFS therapists that has
flourished and flowered ever since.
At his suggestion following the
workshop, Janet Shepherd, PhD,
Licensed Psychologist; Joanna
Lawson, EdS, LMFT, and IFS Clinical
Consultant; and Sally Henderson, PhD, LMFT, LMSW, traveled together to
the Annual IFS Conference in Chicago and attended a session on forming a peer group presented by Michi Rose, PhD, MSW.
They subsequently came home and formed the
initial core of the group, which has met weekly until 2010 and biweekly since then. While the group has been mostly closed over the years, it has at times judiciously and consciously opened up the space
to other people when an appropriate opportunity has coincided with the right timing. For example,
the group has recently been joined by Anne Cremer, MSW, LISW, in 2019. While she is a relative newcomer to the group, Anne had been in a different IFS peer group previously for eight years and brought invaluable experience as well as a fresh perspective.
The warmth and respect these four women have for each other was palpable as they told their story.
A key theme that arose repeatedly in the telling of their story was the deep, intimate, and vulnerable nature of the group’s relationships, which have been built up over time. The warmth and respect these
four women have for each other was palpable as they told their story. Janet noted that having stayed connected with the ups and downs of each other’s lives over the years has forged an ongoing presence with one another through important life changes and has been a potent experience for her. She remembers that when her husband died in 2002, the peer group, along with the wider IFS group through
which she was completing her Level 1 training, provided invaluable support in processing her grief and connecting her with Self when that felt very far away. As Janet said, “There was a belief, support, and energy that made it okay to fall and be held where everything fit together and it all made sense; not in a head sense per se, but a heart sense.”
Anne agreed and noted her own experience of
deep grief where she felt held by the group and found it invaluable to attend regularly and engage
in IFS practice as either the client or the therapist.
“It was a beautiful and safe experience. It’s like
the triads in a training, but it’s built up over time,
and so the safety and vulnerability are
Sally and Joanna were equally positive about
the long-term nature of the group and the subsequent safety it has provided. Sally noted that those members over the years who have had the bigger mission for the IFS Model have also developed the bigger commitment to the group, and she observed that this was a key feature in terms of why the
group has functioned so well for such a long time. In support of this, Joanna noted that “some group members over time wanted to talk about other
models, and some of us continued to be
“There have been other times when parts have been triggered in the triadic work, but the trust and commitment to the process ensured that members were able to speak ‘for their parts, rather than from their parts.’”
committed only to IFS and kept asking for us
to stay on topic—and so we did!” Sometimes
the shifts and changes have been conscious,
and sometimes they have been less conscious.
For example, the group remembers that at one point they brought in food to the sessions—which was a lovely experience, but it subtly changed
the dynamic in a way that was not helpful to the original mission. The group simply noticed this, raised it consciously, and talked it through while staying committed to the process. There have been other times when parts have been triggered in the triadic work, but the trust and commitment to the process ensured that members were able to speak ‘for their parts, rather than from their parts.’”
Unsurprisingly, the group members have some tips they can offer to other groups around developing a solid base and maintaining longevity.
Decide whether you want to be an
open or closed group.
Be judicious about selecting group
members, and if you decide to be an
open group, have a consensus on how
you will choose new members.
Decide on your objectives:
reading IFS literature together
practicing IFS techniques such as parts mapping, sculpting, and fire drills
Be clear about your commitment. If you
are going to do your own personal work,
be appropriately open and vulnerable, and be willing to completely expose yourself and all your parts while bringing as much Self-energy as you can to every meeting;
Notice when you have blended parts and
be willing to work through triggers with one
another, knowing that you have colleagues
to support you and your parts as you do it;
As in any group, this group is a microcosm
of our worlds. Be aware that you are going to bring all your stuff. The others will see it even when you don’t, and they will also trigger you! Don’t give up. There is so much to gain from being in a group of “tor-mentors” like this.
You will learn so much about yourself and IFS.
Will there be a leader in your group,
will you have a leaderless group, or will
Do you want a social atmosphere (such
as sharing food), or do you prefer more
of a business orientation?
Don’t feel as if you need to have all the
skills at your fingertips to start a group.
Show courage and jump on in.
The group’s members can be contacted as
follows regarding their peer-group experience:
Janet Shepherd: firstname.lastname@example.org
Sally Henderson: email@example.com
Joanna Lawson: firstname.lastname@example.org
Anne Cremer: email@example.com
I waited my entire life for a place to land.
If you told me that place abounded in me
I would have said that’s fool’s folly,
no one can see internally
until the discovery of a key
that fit a door inside marked with the letter C.
Now I see the place of mystical prophets
and seers and valiant deers,
what majestic sights to discover and recover:
Princesses and demons and dragons to
befriend and unburden in the end.
A royal road to the Unconscious…
alas, Freud had some things right.
He knew that it took might
and the bravery of a knight
to tap into one’s own inner light.
But he was polarized with Jung
who knew that the Self was there all along
and if you got quiet, you could hear its heart song.
It would follow your every step into the abyss
while never leaving you amidst the darkness
all the while allowing you to fall deeper into the knowing
and showing you all of the little ones locked up in fear
waiting for you to hear
what they never got to say,
as the protectors got in the way.
A story to be told
for you to behold
a tale as old as time,
excuse my rhythm and rhyme,
we are like the beggars sitting on the treasure chest
asking Brother, can you spare a dime?
Thank you for welcoming me home
and letting me know I am not alone.
This caravan together, I will cherish forever.
Candyland memories of gumdrop mountains
and gingerbread plum trees
have been released and along with them
I am free to be my Self and
all of my parts are welcome too
we will run towards, instead of far away
it’s a new day
I am FOUND!!
by Melissa Rochman, PsyD
Editor’s Note: Melissa Rochman, PsyD,
was in her Level 1 training in Morristown,
NJ with lead trainer Mary Kruger, MS, LMFT,
and assistant trainer Terri Dalton, PhD, LCSW,
CADC, in 2020 – 2021. She wrote this poem to
share at her graduation as an expression of
her gratitude for her Level 1 journey with
a masterful teaching team (including the
Program Assistants). She reflected, “Though I
honestly thought I took the training to benefit
my clients, I could have never imagined how
much I would personally benefit.” In addition
to finding her parts and her Self, she feels
gifted with a revolutionary model of healing
and a community of like-minded professionals
and friends. “Thank you, Dr. Schwartz, for
being an intrepid traveler and allowing us to
follow your trailheads,” she expressed. “May
the Self be with us all.” Many L1 graduates may
resonate with this poem. __MG
Editor’s Note: Paul Ginter, EdD, Licensed Psychologist, has been part of the IFS family from very early on. Throughout his career, Paul has developed an interest in IFS and spirituality and has established an international presence as a trainer, facilitating trainings in 10 countries including China, Australia, England and in
Europe. Spend a moment with us as we get to know Paul and discover some
of the early origins of the development of IFS in the USA. __SD
Having completed his doctoral program in counseling psychology at Western Michigan University in the early 1990’s, Paul started working as a psychologist straight away, and it was only a couple of years into his career when he
initially learned about IFS from a
colleague. Paul remembers this clearly, “My colleague was really excited about this new therapy and suggested it would be a great fit for how I work. She urged me to get on board.” And get on board he did!
After an initial consultation with Tom Holmes, PhD, (who had been working with Richard Schwartz, PhD, Founder of IFS), Paul invited Dick to present IFS at the University in Tennessee where he worked. Paul then began to fly to Chicago monthly
to take part in Dick’s ‘booster trainings’ which
allowed participants to learn and consolidate IFS skills. At the time, Paul was the only clinician in the
Southeast doing IFS, but in order to soak up as much IFS as he could, he moved from Tennessee to the epicenter of Internal Family Systems training and development in Chicago to take a job there and be closer to Dick and the burgeoning activity around the Model. Around this time, Dick started working with a number of clinicians including Michi Rose, PhD, MSW; Barb Cargill, MA, ADTR; and Tim Pedigo, PhD. He invited Paul, along with these
three clinicians, to conduct the progenitor
of the first ever training (then called the Basic
Training) which was based in Chicago.
Paul took part in three of these initial trainings
and then moved to Michigan for another job,
but he continued to stay connected with Dick and the Model. Paul remembers that Susan McConnell, MA, joined the initial team of clinicians involved in these early trainings and then took on the task of writing up the content of what Dick was doing organically into the first written form of the Level 1 training. Hence, the formal Level 1 training was born, and the Model was off and running. Paul concedes with a laugh that this is his reason for never formally having completed a Level 1 training. He continued providing trainings in those early years and has been a Lead Trainer with the Institute for the last 17 years.
Paul concedes with a laugh that this is his reason for never
formally having completed a
Level 1 training.
When asked about his inspiration for being a Lead Trainer, Paul mentions the feeling of being connected to the larger IFS community. “The training attracts such wonderful people,” says Paul. “It’s hard to find a group of people with whom you can grow and be appropriately vulnerable and make the world a better place; and IFS attracts those types of people.” He feels that the Model promotes itself. He is aware that because of the recent growth in interest in IFS, there has developed a tipping point in terms of people being exposed to the Model and the principles of IFS. His trip to China in 2018 is a good example, and Paul recalls doing demonstrations in front of 250 participants. Being in the middle of that level of Self-energy and positive feedback from the group is one of the many highlights of his time as a trainer. He also works hard to be inclusive and create a safe space for participants and Program Assistants.
His trip to China in 2018 is a good example, and Paul recalls doing demonstrations in front of 250 participants. Being in the middle of that level of Self-energy and positive feedback from the group is one of the many highlights of his time as a trainer.
For Paul, being a trainer is an amazing privilege which affords him a lot of opportunity to be around people who care and who are committed to making the world a better place. Observing participants transform personally and professionally in his trainings is a positive feature for Paul; but he also makes special mention of the importance of being involved in the trainer community as well. He has completed trainings with many other trainers in the community, including Rina Dubin, EdD; Elizabeth Taeubert, LCSW, RN, MS; Mary, DuParri, MA, LPC; and
Mariel Pastor, MA, LMFT. Whether it is because
of his exposure to participants or his trainer
colleagues, he muses, “rarely a day in training
goes by when I’ve not learned something.”
Paul has always had a strong interest in spirituality and has practiced mindfulness meditation for many years. He finds an overlap with IFS and its capacity to facilitate in people a rich, meaningful connection with something deeper within themselves and others. When doing the work, Paul often experiences a sense of spiritual connection in a deep and at times transcendent way. “Trainings and client work using IFS allows us all to have a very deep relationship with our own parts and the parts of the client or
participant in a way that is sacred,” he shares. For those wanting to engage further with Paul he can
be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
FOUNDATION BOARD NEWS
To honor his long-term service and leadership as
chair, the board of directors bestowed the title of
Chair Emeritus upon Harley Goldberg, DO, who had
to step away from the board for medical reasons.
(See Resolution in his honor on the opposite page.)
The board welcomed two new members: Sady
Kim-Singh, MSW, LCSW (February 2021) and Stewart Brown, PhD (March 2021), who will serve a three-year tenure each, through Calendar Year 2023.
Sady Kim-Singh, MSW, LCSW, has previously worked in community outpatient mental health and in the K12 school setting. Sady’s work as a school counselor involved clinically supervising and implementing a school-based counseling program aimed at expanding mental health programming and services at the elementary level. Sady currently has a private practice in Montclair, New Jersey.
Introduced to IFS early in her social work career, she has found it invaluable in helping clients understand themselves with more complexity and compassion. The IFS Model aligns with Sady’s beliefs about the human condition, that we are dynamic, exist in multiplicity, and have an innate desire to heal. Sady is particularly passionate about the Foundation’s mission of bringing the IFS Model to school settings and other places where there
is great need and where it would have immediate impact.
Stewart Brown, PhD, is a clinical psychologist who
spent most of his life working in the Department of Veteran Affairs Readjustment Counseling Service / Vet Center
program where he provided direct service to combat
veterans and their families. He was responsible, as a Vet Center director, for the administrative component of his team to include fiscal and personnel oversight. For the last four years of his VA tenure, he moved to a regional office where his responsibility was expanded to include clinical oversight of 42 sites in a ten-state area. Since retiring
from the VA in 2011, he has maintained a part-time private practice in Boulder, Colorado.
Meeting IFS Founder Richard Schwartz, PhD, and being introduced
to Internal Family Systems work in 2001, Stew gradually shifted his
orientation and methodology to an IFS perspective. Today he believes
that the IFS process offers greater depth, quicker
pace of progress toward healing, more respect for
clients, and a spiritual conceptualization that other
orientations lack. Additionally, its non-pathologizing
stance is welcoming and facilitative. He hopes to
make this process available to military-related providers
specifically, while at the same time generally
seeking a wider dissemination of IFS principles.
The Board also gave a big THANK YOU
and a warm send-off to both Mark
Milton, who has served on the board
since 2013 when the Foundation was
formally launched (or reactivated after
being dormant for over a decade);
and Pam Krause, MSW, LCSW, who
completed her three-year term.
Pam, an IFS Senior
Lead Trainer, has made
to board deliberations
and led the coordination
of Foundation events at
Annual IFS Conferences
during her tenure as well
as long before she joined
the board. Upon rotating
off, Pam expressed her
“profound joy for having
been able to contribute to the growth of the Foundation
while serving on the board, and pride in both
how far the organization has grown since its inception
and how much the board has evolved toward
a more effective governing body.” Pam remains a
steady advocate for deepening the Foundation’s
strong connections and collaboration with its sister
organization, IFS Institute.
Mark, who more
than two decades
ago founded a Swiss
4 Peace, to foster
among youth through
sports, and has served
on the Executive Circle
of the Spirit of Humanity
Forum since its
formation, is an active
IFS practitioner and coach. He shared the following
with the community:
I am grateful to have had the privilege to serve
the Foundation for Self Leadership for more
than seven years (2013-2020). I entered with
the dream of contributing to IFS advocacy beyond
psychotherapy, particularly for youth. During these
years, much has happened and been achieved by
the Foundation, the Institute, and their inspiring
community. The momentum is now there and
growing every day.
The deep understanding of Self and parts
facilitated by (IFS Developer) Richard Schwartz,
PhD, is calling us to spread it in the world. The next
step of the journey may well be to go beyond the
Model. Humanity needs more than ever such insight
and wisdom to gently learn how to live respectfully
together, welcoming and embracing our differences
with consideration and love.
May the discernment, wisdom, and humility
it will require to spread IFS beyond its own
model be present.
With gratitude and best wishes,
At one of his last meetings on the board, Mark shared
one of his poems he had written a year prior:
Dancing with Life
Learning to navigate through
uncertainty is the music of life
To grasp stability our delusion
Life is movement inside and outside
We are to become sailors enchanted
by the dusks and the dawns
As well as embracing the storms
May gratitude and trust become
our guides through life
Opening us to love and the yet unrevealed
__ Mark Milton (January 4, 2020)
Bestowing Upon Harley Goldberg, DO, Title of Chair Emeritus In Recognition for His Sustained Service to the Foundation for Self Leadership
WHEREAS, Harley Goldberg, DO, served as a charter member of the Foundation for Self Leadership's Board of Directors when the Foundation was relaunched in August 2013;
WHEREAS, he was unanimously and enthusiastically elected by his colleagues on the board as chair from 2016 through 2019, a role he fulfilled with high commitment and dedication, deep vision and competence, and attentive care;
WHEREAS, he managed with a steady hand an extensive executive search process on behalf of the Foundation in 2019 and effectively served as acting executive chair for two months that year;
WHEREAS, he applied his seasoned knowledge in research to enhance the work of the Foundation, graciously represented its vision and its values within the IFS and broader community, and contributed to its sustainability through generous financial support;
WHEREAS, he has gained throughout the full trust, respect, admiration and love from his colleagues among staff associates and on the board of directors;
Now, Therefore, be it affirmed and resolved that the board of directors unanimously and vigorously acknowledge his tireless leadership and service to the Foundation's mission of advancing IFS and its positive outcomes in the world,
And that the board bestow upon him the title of Chair Emeritus, with privileges thereunto pertaining, including an open invitation to join any board meeting of his choosing and Foundation programs and activities,
And that this proclamation represent a heartfelt expression of every board member's deepest gratitude for his notable efforts and generous, far—reaching contributions.
Approved unanimously by the current board of directors, February 5th, 2021
Vicki McCoy, MA, Chair
Requina Barnes, LICSW
Les Fagen, MA, JD
Kelly Gaule, CAP
Toufic Hakim, PhD, Executive Director
Sady Horn, MSW, LCSW
And immediate past members
Pam Krause, MSW, LCSW and Mark Milton
Foundation Board Member Nominations
ABOUT THE BOARD: The Foundation for Self Leadership’s Board
of Directors serves as the organization’s governing body. It will be
constituted to support the long-term goals and needs of the
organization, direct the organization toward its stated purpose,
which the board will establish, with integrity and accountability to
its community of constituents and beneficiaries. (From Policy on
Board Membership & Expectations, updated December 6, 2019)
Members of the board volunteer their time
of service, except for the executive director,
who receives a nominal stipend for engaging
in organizational and operational leadership.
Serving on behalf of the broader community
of IFS practitioners and the helping professions,
the board holds fiduciary and legal responsibility
for the Foundation.
Its multi-faceted function is to set a clear,
long-term path for the organization, with near-term
milestones, and to oversee the executive function,
which is charged with identifying and pursuing
strategies aligned with the established vision and
consistent with stated priorities.
Two of the board’s important roles are (1) to stay
connected with the constituency it represents and
on whose behalf the Foundation operates; and (2)
to engage in its own growth and development as
a collective body.
At this stage in its evolution, the board intends
to expand its membership to 11 from its current size
of seven members. Toward that goal, it is reaching
out to the community for nominations.
In its policy on Board Membership & Expectations,
and in an effort to be fully representative, the board
explicitly affirms that it will endeavor to be diverse
and inclusive in its membership, with no reservation,
across a number of areas: gender and sexual
orientation, ethnicity, race, age, country of residence,
economic status, physical ability, academic
background, professional experience and
training, and even pre-membership familiarity with IFS. The primary goal is to fulfill its
responsibilities the best way it can, enriched
by as wide a range of perspectives and
experiences as possible.
The board is currently seeking to engage
four new members, the term of service
being three years renewable, with proven
experience and accomplishments in one
of these domains:
research, preferably in mental health or behavioral science
corporate leadership or management
accounting or finance.
Members of the community are invited to make nominations by sending names and email addresses of qualified individuals, as instructed below, after the nomination is cleared with the individual you’re nominating. Alternatively, individuals may submit an up-to-one-page bio and a statement of interest. Qualified candidates for membership will be
asked to submit a CV and a statement of interest. They will be then
interviewed by two existing members of the board and then by
the full board before being invited to serve.
Please send nominations to Vicki J. McCoy, Chair (VJM@FoundationIFS.org), copying
Toufic Hakim, Executive Director (Toufic@FoundationIFS.org). Thank you for your interest.
Board of Directors
We are committed to working
with the community-at-large
to advance the Foundation’s
mission and vision: to facilitate
access to mental and emotional healing and well-being by
promoting research, access
and advocacy around IFS
as a paradigm of the human
mind, a practice for personal
and relational development,
and a protocol for healing
Requina Barnes, LICSW; Practicing Therapist,
Stewart Brown, PhD, Psychologist
in Private Practice, USA (2023)
Lester Fagen, MA, JD; Partner in Business
Office of Cooley, LLP, USA (2021)
Kelly Gaule CAP, Leading Principal,
Promus+ Consulting (2023)
Toufic Hakim, PhD; Senior Managing Principal,
Group i&i consultancy, USA; (2022) Executive
Director and Founding Publisher of OUTLOOK
Sady Kim-Singh, MSW, LCSW, Social Worker
in Private Practice, USA (2023)
Vicki McCoy, MA, President, McCoy
Communications and Training,
USA (2022) Chair
The board recognizes former CEO Jon Schwartz, MEd, and Founding IFS Institute Chair Richard Schwartz, PhD, for their generous support and engagement in various board meetings throughout the year. The board looks forward to interacting with new CEO, Katie Nelson, MBA.
OUTLOOK is an occasional magazine
that the Foundation for Self Leadership
publishes to share news relevant to IFS,
the IFS community, and developments
relating to the Foundation. It is not
intended to appear solely and passively
in the conventional print mode; rather,
it is designed to interface with the
Foundation’s social media and online
platforms. Nor is it a venue for sending
information out; it is envisioned more
as an attempt to generate discussions
within the community around issues
and ideas of general interest and
The ultimate purpose of OUTLOOK is to support the Foundation’s mission of promoting the notion and agency of Self leadership. By naming it OUTLOOK, we hope it stands as a reminder that IFS is at once an external as much as an internal peace-seeking model, while holding a far-reaching view of the future.
The Foundation is grateful to Advisor and Publisher Toufic
Hakim, PhD; Editor Michelle Glass, BA; and Assistant Editor Shaun
Dempsey, PhD, who play key roles in its production; Sylvia Miller for
layout and graphics design; Joshua Lisojo, MS, for online content;
and Kira Freed, MA, BCC, LPC (ret.); Brenda Hollingsworth, MSW,
LCSW; Karen Locke, MA; and Laura Taylor, JD, for proofreading.
Do you know of any IFS-related news our community would like to know? Do you know of a client eager to share their personal Story of Transformation? Please share with us such developments or happenings within one of these categories: IFS research, IFS within psychotherapy or programming, and IFS applications beyond psychotherapy. Please complete the form or send general information in a short email to Michelle Glass at OUTLOOK@FoundationIFS. org. We will reach out to you for additional details or specific guidelines. Thank you for your submissions and helping keep our community apprised of IFS-related endeavors.
Editors of OUTLOOK reserve the right to make final decisions regarding content of OUTLOOK.
Founded in the early 1980’s by family therapist and author Richard Schwartz, PhD, Internal Family Systems (IFS) Therapy suggests that the “inner self” is not a single persona but rather a complex system of distinct parts (thoughts, feelings, and beliefs), each with its own viewpoints, desires and agendas. The main agenda of these parts is to protect us from inner pain generated through developmental and life traumas. The Model rejects psychopathology and posits that there is an undamaged Self with healing attributes that is at the core of each individual, even in the presence of extreme behavior.
The Model continues to generate growing interest among psychotherapists and practitioners outside the realm of psychotherapy, where it promises a myriad of applications simply as a thought process. Thousands of practitioners have been trained in IFS through a rigorous training program, administered by IFS Institute; and tens of thousands of therapy clients and workshop attendees have experienced personal transformations through the IFS paradigm. Read more about IFS here.
About The Foundation
The Foundation for Self Leadership is an independent, not-for-profit 501(c)(3) organization registered in Illinois, U.S.A. Its mission is to advance IFS research,
promote the IFS Model far and wide
within and beyond psychotherapy, and
increase access to IFS trainings,
especially among groups that do
not have ready access to IFS.
The board and the Foundation’s executive function are supported by staff associates who often go beyond the call of duty.
(While it’s not obvious given their high-level
productivity, together, these associates’ formal
engagement amounts to the equivalent of fewer
than 80 hours a week.) The Foundation is
highly appreciative of their dedication.
Desmond Butler, MA
Shaun Dempsey, PhD
OUTLOOK Assistant Editor
Toufic Hakim, PhD
Michelle Glass, CIFSP
Josh Lisojo, MS
Website Programmer and Developer
Barbara Perkins, MA
Senior Associate Director for
Development & Communications
Ilanit Tal, PhD
Associate Director for Research
The Foundation’s operation is aptly
supported by three volunteer associates:
Anne Eberhardt, Dipl-Psych, Archiving
Kathleen Johnson, MD, Development Data Support
and Beau Laviolette, LCSW, Special Projects.
Visit us at www.FoundationIFS.org
Copyright © 2021 Foundation for Self Leadership | P.O. Box 873 | Union, NJ 07083 | USA