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From the Board


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).



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.



Inward and


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.



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 more information!

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 IFS research.

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:



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, helping Richard 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)

  • Prolonged Exposure

  • Eye Movement Desensitization
    and 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

  • Acupuncture

  • Biofeedback

  • Clinical Hypnosis

  • Guided Imagery

  • Massage Therapy

  • Meditation

  • Tai Chi/Qi Gong

  • Yoga

  • As listed by the VA’s Integrative
    Health & 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:

  1. Empirical evidence will continue to build regarding the efficacy of IFS Therapy in treating PTSD.

  2. Soft evidence gathered from practitioners and clients alike is accumulating and appears encouraging.

  3. 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.)

1. www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5047000/

2. www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6394282/

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

5. www.ptsd.va.gov/professional/treat/essentials/dsm5_ptsd.asp

6. www.publichealth.va.gov/epidemiology/studies/new-generation/ptsd.asp

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

11. www.va.gov/health/docs/VAAccessAuditFindingsReport.pdf

12. www.ptsd.va.gov

13. www.ptsd.va.gov/professional/treat/txessentials/

14. www.va.gov/WHOLEHEALTH/professional-resources/IHCC.asp

15. https://patriot.uthscsa.edu/strongstar/cap.asp


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 Western psychological 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 tomholmes42@gmail.com. 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 chady.rahme@ithraa.org. For more information visit Ithraa’s website: www.ithraacenter.org or their Facebook pages at: www.facebook.com/Ithraacenter/ or www.facebook.com/ Ithraalebanon/.

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 benjrivers@gmail.com. His University of New England article can be found here: www.une.edu.au/ connect/news/2018/02/13235.


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 also qualify.

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




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
Pages: 210
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 Frank@FrankAndersonMD.com



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 challenging times?

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 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.”
__School Principal

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 abiding commitment.
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.
__Elementary Teacher
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 restorative.__TMH

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 pathtorecovery365@gmail.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

  • We have acknowledged that we were not living a Self-Led life—that some parts were burdened with extreme addictive behaviors and felt unmanageable.
  • We have come to believe that Self could heal our burdened parts and restore us to inner peace.
  • We are willing to be Self-led whenever possible and be guided by the IFS Model of healing as we understood it.
  • We have made a compassionate and courageous inventory of our burdened and unburdened parts, as well as our Self-led qualities.
  • We have engaged in courageous conversations, sharing the results of our inventories with another trustworthy, Self-led person.
  • We are committed to focusing on healing and recovery.
  • We are embracing our injured parts and working towards embodying Self so that our parts could be unburdened.
  • We have made a list of all persons our parts had harmed, including ourselves, and became willing to make amends to them all.
  • We have made Self-directed, compassionate amends to our parts and other people whenever possible, except when to do so would cause further injury.
  • We engage in ongoing reflection of our parts-led behaviors and continue to make amends as needed.
  • We continue to make conscious contact with our inner systems and spiritual resources as we understand them, allowing the healing of our burdened parts and the power of Self to lead.
  • Having had a personal transformation as the result of these Steps, we carry the message of Self leadership to others and practice these principles in all our affairs.

©2020 Nadine Lucas


Have You Moved in the Last Year
or 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/ become-a-friend-of-the-foundation or OUTLOOK@FoundationIFS.org.

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 regular hospitalization. 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 treatment effects 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 davidmedeirostherapy@gmail.com. __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.

Merriam-Webster online


IMAGINE with Us…

In a future not too far away

A spoken universal language, beyond common consonants and vowels,

One that seeks to value the core humanity in each of us,
above all else
And yearns to build one another up not tear us down or apart

One that emanates from deep listening and responds
with interest and intrigue

And cares least about posturing, scoring points,
or placing stakes in the ground

A revealing lens into one’s inner makeup, beyond dogma or religion

One that shows the pain behind the behavior, in colors
and high resolution
And highlights how we are similar in essence and unique
through our differences
One that magnifies our own capacity to care, endure,
heal, and change
And shows that our ability to connect with the other
comes from deep within.

Now imagine such language and lens in much fuller use

In our schools’ classrooms and playgrounds,
By students, teachers, principals, and other adults alike
In our corporate and business worlds,
By executives, board members, managers, and staff
In our legislative bodies and city councils, regardless of political party
In our homes, with our friends and families
In houses from which our leaders govern and ministers preach
In our courtrooms and prisons, on our street corners and places we gather
In our fields where we play and rub against each other
In our medical centers, bedside or screen-side
By doctors, nurses, and caretakers

And then imagine with us,
how our world could evolve.

The Foundation continues to imagine with you
And we endeavor to turn some of these images into action…
For ever greater peace of mind; for ever greater relational peace
and social harmony...



Foundation for Self Leadership

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. Walter
Cohen Foundation/Joanne
Cohen-Katz, PhD

Frederick Thomas Giving
Fund/Joy Shivas, MSW, LCSW*

IFS Institute*


Hagit Zeev, MA, LMFT


Fagen Family Fund/Lester
Fagen, JD*

Michelle Glass*

Vicki J McCoy, MA

New England Foundation
for the Arts

Shepard Family Foundation/
Lee Shepard, MBA*


Richard Abrams

Mark Gorman, LPC and
Melissa Gorman, MA, LPC*

Toufic Hakim, PhD and
Robyn Rajs, MA, LPC*

Brenda Hollingsworth,

IFS Great Lakes Retreat*

Pamela Krause, LCSW*

Carl Marcus, MS, MSS, LCSW
and Karin Marcus, MA, PCC, BCC*

Jim Mulroy*

Jayne Smith, PhD, LPC-C*


Amazon Smile

Frank Anderson, MD*

Mona Barbera, PhD*

Patrick Baum

Nancy Bravman, LCSW*

Liz Brenner, LICSW

Doris Cameron, LICSW*

Dave Cantor, LMFT, JD

Elaine Casquarelli, PhD, LPCC

Greg Collins*

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*

Chicha Glass

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*

Sarah Levitt

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,


Michéle Quesenberry*

Glenn Reinl, CPA and

Sara Kresbach*

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

Marcee Sherrill

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*

Scott Brewster

Linda Culpepper

Donna Dallal-Ferne, LMFT

Isabel d’Arenberg

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

Joan Marttila

Vivie Mayer

Mark Milton*

Miki Morimoto, MD*

Ilpa Patel, MPA*

Harriet Pecot

Richard Podlesnik*

Lisa Saile*

Guthrie Sayen, PhD*

Martha Schlesinger, PhD

David and Nezi Schwartz

Marla Silverman, PhD

Leslie Joy Simmons, LCPC

and Miles Simmons, MD

Linda Singer

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*

Carol Wolf*

Edward Yeats, PhD*

Tami Zak, MBA, MS*


Susan Aeschbach, LICSW

and Neil Gladstone, LICSW*

Cheryl Bonder

Nancy Bookbinder

Marta Chausée, MS*

Kevin Cheesebrough,

Captain USN (Ret), PCC

Kelly Clancy, OTR/L,


Gary Coleman*

Catherine Cope*

Ocean Costelloe

Façade Interactive

Nancy Fader, MA, MFT

Lucinda Flavelle, MA*

Neil Gladstone

Tracy Gordon

Benjamin Cooley Hall,

PsyD, MDiv

Emma Harper

Ken Hundert, MA

Elliott Locke

Kenneth Mackie, LCSW*

Mindee Marks

Elise Parsons

Paypal Giving Fund

Barbara Perkins, MA

Barbara Richford

Veda Rosenberg

Dana Rosenstein, LCSW-C

and Nancy Drayden Hebb*

Kathy Sattin

Rebecca Socia

Maureen Staley Cary, LMHC

Amy Tremain, MA, PsyD, LP

Andrew Viar*

Eve Wenger, MBA

Douglas Wessel

Jennifer Wheeldon

Gary Whited, PhD, LICSW*

Andreas Williams

Mitchell Wood, MDiv, LCSW

Jennifer Wortham, LCSW*

Yvette Yeager, MSW, LICSW

and Tom Bassarear, PhD*

June and Mike Zagury

Lukas Zillmer

* 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

following sponsors.

Jewish Communal Fund

Fidelity Charitable

San Francisco Foundation

Schwab Charitable

U.S. Charitable Gift Trust


We gratefully received donations

in tribute to the following individuals during 2020.


Frieda Goldman

Rabbi Glaser


Jeanne Catanzaro, PhD

Julie Clark

Rhoda Coleman

COVID Healthcare Workers

Gertrude Dubin

Toufic Hakim, PhD

IFS Schools Program

Brandon Kelly


Karen Locke

Theodore Imanuel Parsont

Deliah Rosel

Richard Schwartz, PhD

Elizabeth Seeger


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

Brian Jaudon

Kathy Johnson, MD

Seth Kopald, PhD

Kelly Kreutz, LICSW

Beau Laviolette, LCSW

Karen Locke, MA

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.

Contributors’ Circle

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 environmental activist.

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: FoundationIFS.org/support/cornerstone-partners.

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, at Barbara@FoundationIFS.org.



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 Foundation accomplishments 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.

$80,000 USD

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.

$15,000 USD

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..

$325,000 USD

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.

$40,000 USD

Contributors’ Circle

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 FoundationIFS.org/support.

Community Connections

News Over at IFS Institute

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

Onwards and Upwards:
A Farewell to Jon

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 https://FoundationIFS.org/news/outlook/ outlook-april-2019

** ATP is the Accelerated Training Program, see An IFS Institute Update in November 2020 https://FoundationIFS.org/ news/outlook/outlook-nov-2020

*** LTP the Leadership Training Program, see An IFS Institute Update in November 2020 https://FoundationIFS.org/news/ outlook/outlook-nov-2020

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 day-to-day operations.


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 katie@ifs-institute.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.


Question: Is there a difference between
the Foundation and the Institute?

Answer: Yes!

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 donor-advised fund(1):

1. Flexibility in the types of assets that can be donated, such as non-publicly traded assets.

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, professionally managed 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 significantly enhanced.”

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:

    • case consultation

    • reading IFS literature together

    • practicing IFS techniques such as parts mapping, sculpting, and fire drills

    • personal work.

  • 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 leadership rotate?

  • 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: janetshep.phd@gmail.com
Sally Henderson: sallyhenderson@yahoo.com
Joanna Lawson: joanna@joannalawson.com
Anne Cremer: anne@cremercounseling.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
some peace.

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

Trainers’ Corner

Part of the Family—Right from the Start

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 pginter@comcast.net.


Operational Update


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 immense contributions 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 nonprofit, Education 4 Peace, to foster emotional awareness 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,
Mark Milton

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


Request for

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 and leadership.

Requina Barnes, LICSW; Practicing Therapist, USA (2022)

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 great impact.

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.

What would you like to see in OUTLOOK?


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.

About IFS


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.

Judy Bourdeau
Database Administrator

Desmond Butler, MA
Operations Associate

Shaun Dempsey, PhD
OUTLOOK Assistant Editor

Daniel Fermin
Financial Controller

Toufic Hakim, PhD
Executive Director

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