• 1

From the Board

Fall Greetings! Welcome to the November edition of OUTLOOK, the Foundation for Self Leadership’s community bulletin.

This OUTLOOK brings you news on the continued development of IFS research, as well as other activities to promote the application of IFS in realms outside of traditional psychotherapy.

Independent IFS research supported by the Foundation has already produced the recognition by NREPP/SAMHSA of IFS as having evidence of effectiveness for specific conditions, with some additional outcomes noted as promising. With stronger empirical evidence, such listing would lead to third-party payers embracing IFS Therapy. These are early steps in building a foundation on which further research can be conducted, with the intent to expand the areas listed as evidence-based.

Perhaps more importantly, we can apply what we learn to further develop the Model and its applications. Inside this edition you will also learn about very exciting new programs that will expand the horizons of public awareness about Self-leadership, and how the awareness of parts can help bring inner, and outer, harmony.

OUTLOOK will continue to provide a forum for the IFS community so we can support, inspire, and learn from one other. As always, we appreciate those who are able to help support Foundation activities, whether as volunteers or advocates or through financial support. We sincerely thank you for your interest in, and engagement with, the Foundation for Self Leadership!

On behalf of the Board of the Foundation for Self Leadership,


Harley Goldberg, D.O.
Chair, Board of Directors



From the Editor

As a community bulletin, inside theses pages of OUTLOOK, we are pleased to inform and delight you with IFS community-building and Foundation-related endeavors. As you will see, the past six months have been productive.

Among some of the items presented here, you will find exciting developments on our new global campaign and the many advances toward our mission, both of which strengthen our reach of IFS, internally and externally. In addition, we feature inspiring articles of new applications of IFS through art, business, and counseling, along with captivating IFS Interest Groups, and an interview with Dick all sure to engender your curiosity, connection, and creativity. It is our hope that with these periodic updates, you will find your place within our ever-expanding community to connect with others and share your own thoughts and experiences. We invite you to take a ride with us. All are welcome. _MLG


 Inward & 





Highly Encouraging Preliminary Results for Foundation-Funded Trauma Pilot Study...

The Trauma Center, in collaboration with a group of IFS-certified therapists, has recently completed data collection on the first study of IFS for adults with PTSD who have a history of childhood trauma.

About the Study: A total of 17 individuals participated in the study, all with current severe PTSD diagnosis and depressive symptoms and exposed to trauma before age 18. They received 16 60-minute sessions of IFS treatment. Study subjects participated in four different assessments before, during, and one month after treatment. There was no control group in this pilot.

Observations from the study will be presented in more detail at the IFS conference this November. Here is a sneak preview: Initial results are very promising. These preliminary findings from this small sample size show a statistically significant decrease in self-reported PTSD and depressive symptoms. Results held steady during the course of the treatment and were maintained 30 days after treatment.

The study team* plans to publish final results in 2017; so please be on the lookout for an announcement from the Foundation regarding publication!

In addition to the first nearly completed research project, as many of you know, Northeastern University, the Trauma Center, and a group of IFS-certified therapists have embarked on a second study funded by the Foundation. This new pilot study, now under way, examines physiological changes that occur during IFS treatment for both therapist and client. It is expected to provide novel information on the attunement between therapist and client as well as how the body responds to IFS work. It will also help set criteria for future larger-scale, randomized controlled studies.

The two studies mentioned above were reviewed through an Independent Review Council before being funded by the Foundation. They were funded through the generous support of this community.

*The trauma research team consists of: Hilary Hodgdon, PhD, Principal Investigator; Wendy Hrubec, LICSW, Project Manager; Frank Anderson, MD, Senior Clinical Supervisor; Jacqueline Kikuchi, PhD, Initial Screener; Elizabeth Southwell, Study Site Coordinator; Richard Schwartz, PhD and Ann Sinko, LMFT, Treatment Supervisors; and Pilot Study Therapists—Fran Booth, LICSW; Jeanne Catanzaro, PhD, LICSW; Rina Dubin, EdD; Marushka Glissen, LICSW; Suzanne Hoffman, PsyD; Paul Neustadt, MSS, LICSW; Jessica Reed, LICSW; Larry Rosenberg, PhD; and Martha Sweezy, Ph.D. A group of individual volunteers is involved in the fidelity portion of the study, coordinated by Lizzy Southwell.

Depression Chart


Call for Research Studies:

Interested in conducting research involving IFS? Have researcher colleagues who may be interested in examining the efficacy of IFS in various settings? Please submit a proposal to the Foundation or suggest IFS as a research theme to your colleagues and invite them to submit a grant application. For its research priority, the Foundation is seeking studies to award competitively assessing the effects of IFS on the clinical treatment of PTSD, depression, anxiety, and/or general addiction. For more information, please see our Research Review Guidelines or Research Priorities.


In Psychotherapy
& Counseling

Art side1Art side1
Drawing from Creativity to Enhance Other Self Qualities: ArtIFS

Using creativity as a starting point, and knowing that “drawing” has its own therapeutic mindfulness-inducing qualities, Nadine Menezes and Andreas Michael, MSc, have developed a practice that blends art with IFS. They have conceived of this approach after the two visited the Tate Modern art gallery in London during their Level One IFS training.

“Instead of going Freud about it, we went Schwartz, and found it was great fun,” shares Andreas. They call their approach, ArtIFS, and consider it a simple, yet insightful, process that guides individuals through various exercises and steps of the IFS model individually or in groups. During an ArtIFS session, participants are first introduced to IFS and guided through a “creative experience” that requires no artistic skills.

The process appears to make it easier for non-verbal parts to express themselves in new ways and be noticed. Both clients and practitioners seem to discover progress not normally experienced in talking IFS sessions since, as clients stated, parts appear to feel more real. What is created on paper comes from somewhere, so it seems harder for doubting parts to question it.

The process can take from one to four hours depending on client readiness. Diverse materials have been used: In groups, Nadine and Andreas have worked with simple ballpoint pen and paper; with individuals, they also tried paint and 3D objects. Different art forms can be included, like photography, music, and film.

In one part of the process, participants ask themselves questions about the creative experience, including ones common in an IFS practice, “How do you feel towards this part?” As parts express themselves creatively, clients have the opportunity to know and build relationships with them, leading progressively to unblending, witnessing, and inviting back positive qualities. In some sessions, there is preliminary work around retrieval and unburdening.

Clients take home their artwork to continue the work and check-in’s with the parts. Andreas and Nadine have been pleased with the results so far as clients/ participants often leave sessions with increased insight and calm. One participant sums up the experience, “I find it more helpful than talking traditional sessions elsewhere. It puts me more in touch with my feelings.”

The hope is to build out their London practice, conduct research and the effectiveness of the art/IFS connection, and broaden its dissemination to educational institutions, businesses, healthcare and private organizations.

Nadine and Andreas will be presenting a workshop at the Annual IFS Conference this November and look forward to meeting Conference attendees. They will be hosting the newly formed IFS in Art Interest Group (mentioned in this OUTLOOK). Interested in joining, please visit ArtIFS.org and like them on Facebook.


Embodying the IFS Model for Both Client and Therapist

One of the Foundation’s own, Editor and Donor Steward Associate Michelle Glass, has just completed a new book developed for both IFS clients and practitioners. The book and the process she presents within it are the culmination of many years of deep inner work and her recent counseling work as a certified IFS practitioner.


“I compiled this guidebook because I believe that the results I have experienced will be accessible to others who adopt this process in their own unique ways.”  - Michelle Glass


The guidebook, Daily Parts Meditation Practice: A Journey of Embodied Integration for Clients and Therapists, brings to readers a new set of tools: Parts Timelines, Parts Catalogue Cards, Parts Biographies, Parts Maps, a Daily Parts Meditation Practice, and unique Parts Externalizations. These tools are designed with the intent to cultivate a practical application and embodiment of the model and deepen healing.

Michelle has consistently engaged in a distinctive parts-based daily meditation practice for over two years. This progressively led to a mindful, transformative experience tapping her full system of Self and parts guiding her to a sense of deeper integration and giving her life a more coherent narrative. It is this sort of experience that she hopes her Daily Parts Meditation Practice will bring to readers. “I compiled this guidebook because I believe that the results I have experienced will be accessible to others who adopt this process in their own unique ways,” says Michelle. “Aside from personal benefits, this process has, on many fronts, aided my work with clients who consistently seem to value these tools. A benefit of particular interest to many therapists, and what is available to them, is that my parts are now exceedingly uncommon visitors during sessions with my clients based on their deep trust in me because of this process.”

Each chapter contains the purpose for each exercise, an overview, guidance to client and practitioner, examples and alternatives, and more about the history of that particular exercise. Though explicit instructions are given for each exercise, best applica- tion is expected when readers alter the process to suit and resonate with their own systems.

Based on personal experience, she hopes that this practice will lead to desirable outcomes for readers: greater coherence of one’s own narrative, greater integration within one’s inner system, smaller likelihood of parts accruing new burdens (post- unburdening), deeper relationship among inner parts (and thereby external ones—“as within, so without”), access to a thirty-thousand-foot view of one’s life (system and healing), and augmented spiritual awakening. Michelle’s intent is to help us go beyond the refrain “a part of me” and reach greater comfort and grasp a more sophisticated understanding of our systems of parts and Self.

While written as a single process, each tool can be used as a stand-alone activity. Therapists are encouraged to do their own inner work and know their own system as intimately as they are helping their clients know theirs. _TMH

Michelle will also be presenting on this at the Annual IFS conference in November. The book will be available at the conference bookstore and can be purchased on Amazon.com. Daily Parts Meditation Practice is a copyrighted tool by Michelle Glass.


Beyond Psychotherapy
& Counseling



“This is an important undertaking for the Foundation in our work to foster social emotional learning by bringing notions of Parts and Self to the public, youth in particular.”






Editor’s Note: More information will be shared at the upcoming IFS Conference and in future communiqués about the Campaign showcased below, especially as exciting news about strategic partnerships become available. OUTLOOK is providing here adequate space to present its context and set the stage for the Campaign.
Peace through Emotional Learning – A Global Campaign in Partnership with E4P

The Foundation for Self Leadership is thrilled to share the following significant development with the community: Through a joint venture with Education 4 Peace (E4P), both organizations will be launching a global campaign to promote self-awareness and emotional connection.

It is intended for the Campaign, which opens with an extensive public outreach initiative, to be conducted in strategic partnership with a number of global media, health, sports, and educational organizations.

“This is an important undertaking for the Foundation in our work to foster social emotional learning by bringing notions of Parts and Self to the public, youth in particular,” commented Foundation Executive Director Frank Anderson, MD, who has been working diligently with a growing Campaign Planning Team to design and implement the Campaign. “This is our contribution to stewarding hope and social harmony.”

The first phase of the Campaign will revolve around the field of sports, an ideal setting for showcasing the importance of emotional awareness and exemplary behavior during intense interactions.

Sports represent an active playground in which children and young adults can develop much more than physical fitness; it is also a domain in which athletes who have reached stardom, becoming de facto role models, can share valuable lessons about emotions and behavior.

According to how the Campaign’s first phase is now conceptualized, a series of public service video announcements will be produced with a few celebrity athletes. These star athletes, selected because they had “acted out” in public but have come to understand emotional triggers and how to keep them in perspective, will share valuable testimonials and lessons with their fans. The strategy is for produced shorts to be broadcast in major sport venues in the U.S., Europe, and around the world. Other educational programs and products will follow in future phases.

The community’s engagement and support will be critical for the success of this Campaign. Please stay tuned for more news at the upcoming IFS Conference and in the near future about significant new developments.

Context for the Campaign – Why this Campaign?

Gaining emotional awareness and understanding of one’s inner world of emotions is, most of us recognize, an important learning objective. It is an ongoing process of discovery that could likely lead to inner peace and harmony, helping us develop empathy and compassion toward others as we navigate conflict and relations with others—toward possibly more peaceful interactions.

Especially today, considering the onslaught of extreme actions and feelings that are causing destruction and pain around the world and in our neighborhoods, emotional sensitivity and learning are of critical social value. This is most pressing, if one takes the long view, among children and young adults—a generation that can be empowered to build a more peaceful future.

This view is consistent with the IFS community’s collective vision of Self-leadership as a guide to inner healing and wellbeing and in line with a growing mindfulness movement that is spilling into our schools and the workplace.

Sports as a Field for Emotional Learning – Why Sports?

Inspired by the work of E4P, a Swiss nonprofit founded by Mark Milton, who is a member of the Foundation’s Board, the field of sports was chosen as the initial domain for launching the Global Campaign. Sports represents fertile grounds to cultivate social and emotional learning for new generations.

“After all, many children play or love to watch sports. When playing sport, they are expected to balance competitiveness with respect for each other,” as Mark states. “Like schools and homes, sport fields are great spaces to grow lifelong skills.”

At least three factors make the case for sports as venue for emotional development:

(1) There are high emotions in sports; how and when athletes act on their emotions will make the difference between constructive and disruptive interactions and affect the overall experience, during and after the game. (2) Emotional awareness has been linked to better athletic performance. (3) Sports heroes have a deep influence on young people; as such, their behaviors on and off the field have serious impact on their fans and they can become effective teachers when they can reflect on lessons learned from socially undesirable behaviors.

E4P brings seasoned experience in this field. As showcased in an earlier issue of OUTLOOK, Education 4 Peace has been working since 2007 with international and national sports federations to bring self-awareness into their national educational programs. Three national soccer associations, Belgium, France and Switzerland, are now using E4P’s book as their official tool to educate trainers about self-awareness. Building on E4P’s experience and connections, the Foundation and E4P have entered into a joint venture agreement to develop and broadcast, as a first phase, a series of these public service announcements featuring lessons learned from sports celebrities who have gained greater emotional awareness from less-than- desired behaviors and are willing to share it with the public. The vision is much broader than these PSA’s, which may become the basis for further school programs and a variety of applications.

Currently, the Foundation and E4P are in the planning phase and intend to produce as an initial step, the first video short in a series. We are building strategic partnerships with organizations that share our vision and values to make this possible. With the help of this community and these partners, it is hoped that dozens of ensuing videos will be funded and produced, featuring diverse athletes across sports and from around the globe.

A team has been diligently working on this initiative. The team’s expressed intention is to go beyond videos: the ultimate purpose of the Campaign is to promote peace within individuals and peaceful interactions among people. The Campaign Team includes Frank, Mark, board members Toufic Hakim and Les Fagen, as well as Arnaud Durand, Scott Hakim, and Grant Bester who joined the team to share skills needed to move this effort forward.

Please stay tuned for further developments and updates.

“Sport has the power to change the world. It has the power to inspire. It has the power to unite people in a way that little else does. It speaks to youth in a language they understand. Sport can create hope where once there was only despair. It is more powerful than government in breaking down racial barriers.” __ Nelson Mandella


IT TAKES A COMMUNITY... New Common-Interest Groups


Since it was activated in late 2013, the Foundation has inspired and engaged a dedicated corps of individuals in the coordination of key strategies and activities in support of the Foundation’s mission. Few are honoraria-receiving associates, while most are partners who volunteer their time and efforts to help expand IFS in areas of priority, within and beyond psychotherapy, consistent with their expertise and interest. The work of the Foundation cannot be done without the critical involvement of these partners. We are truly grateful for their contributions.

In addition, members of the IFS community are coming together to form specific IFS Interest Groups and are gelling across diverse fields with the intention of identifying and implementing strategies for disseminating the IFS model and paradigm. Maintaining an open conversation among IFS practitioners with similar professional lines of work, each Group would follow the path of the IFS-in Business group that Brain Jaudon assembled several years ago.

Currently, individuals are invited to join a number of interest groups: IFS Research, IFS and Law, IFS Art Therapists (& Other Creative Folks), and IFS in Community Agencies. These groups are in the process of getting off the ground and bringing together like-minded enthusiasts.

The IFS in Academia Interest Group is one such entity. This Group is convened by Jenn Matheson, PhD, LMFT, Foundation Senior Coordinator for IFS Research, along with Robin Warsh, MSW; Steve Krantz, DSW, LCSW; Ralph S. Cohen, PhD, LMFT; Jody Nelson, EdD, LMFT; Dan Reed, MA, MS, LPC Intern; and Sebastian Perumbilly, PhD, LMFT. This Group of full-time professors, adjunct professors, and graduate students has been working since early Spring 2016, though informally for years in efforts to advance IFS in graduate programs across the U.S.

Driven by SAMHSA’s current recognition of IFS as an evidence-based practice (a recognition that the Foundation intends to have strongly reaffirmed in a handful of years), the Group intends to foster the broad diffusion of IFS across graduate mental health programs, including psychology, social work, counselor education, marriage and family, psychiatry residency, among others.


“We believe the seeds of mental health practice are sewn in graduate school. In fact, most of us became interested in our chosen models of ther- apy in our earliest years of training,” reports Jenn. “In this context, we’d like to see IFS being taught as a model across courses or in a course by itself in mental health graduate programs across the US and Canada, then throughout the world.” A number of IFS-trained professors have brought IFS into their curricula, or are in various stages of doing so. IFS has been taught at Central Connecticut State University, Virginia Tech, Colorado State University, and Boston College, among others.

The Group’s ambitious goals include:

  • Facilitating the offering of entire IFS courses, both required and elective, to graduate students. This will generate interest in deeper training in the modality; and providing support and resources for faculty members engaged in this activity.
  • Setting up opportunities for on-site of training of graduate faculty members, which will facilitate the introduction of the model to graduate students.
  • Supporting the efforts of graduate students in IFS research toward their dissertation, while remaining focused on bringing IFS to graduate academic and clinical training.
  • Disseminating the model through professional society meetings and conferences in mental health education and training.
  • Encouraging instructors and professors to include IFS in their readings, activities, and assignments of entry-level courses.

This Group welcomes new members who are full-time or part-time professors and instructors in graduate programs. If you don’t have the time to join the Interest Group now, but have materials you could provide as a manual of resources is being developed, members of the Group would be grateful. The Group holds conference calls on the first Thursday of each month (2-3pm EDT, U.S.). For those attending the IFS Annual Conference, there will be a special interest table during lunch on Saturday. Please contact Dr. Jenn Matheson at research@FoundationIFS.org to join or for more information.

For other groups: please contact Jenn for IFS in Mental Health Agencies and IFS Research; outreach@FoundationIFS.org for information about IFS and Law; and Andreas Michael at andreas@artifs.org for the IFS Art Therapists’ (& Other Creative Folks) Interest Group.


Building the Inner Team – An Essential Step for Executive Leadership

Leadership Consultant Drew Dougherty, MBA, MA, who will be presenting Cultivating Inner Team Leadership along with Mark Hurwich, MBA, NLP, at the Annual Conference this November, has served as an executive coach within organizations for the past nineteen years, facilitating “missing conversations” that are critical for effective action by leaders, teams, and organizations. Drew’s clients, ranging from large pharmaceutical corporations, small biotech companies, and public agencies, to banks, and both high and low-tech companies, have benefited from the IFS paradigm that he has incorporated into his coaching of executive leaders over the last five years.

Drew works at supporting high performance in three domains: individual executives, teams, and organizational culture. His approach: groom Self-leadership internally so that his clients can be effective externally, as he says it: “To be fully effective leading a team on the outside the leader must first lead the “team” and different points of view and impulses on the inside of her or his own mind.”

As many IFS practitioners in the coaching and business development space can affirm, this might seem an unorthodox approach for the business sector. Corporate executives are not commonly attuned to the emotional world nor are they typically the touchy-feely type. Yet, many clients, Drew’s included, find tremendous results from increasing self-awareness.

“To be fully effective leading a team on the outside the leader must first lead the “team” and different points of view and impulses on the inside of her or his own mind.”

Drew starts by building credibility and trust in the executives’ “familiar zone” of interpersonal influence—introducing them to models that help them to observe and diagnose others’ archetypal styles in order to get the most from their teammates and flex their own style to be most influential. Using triggering events or challenging interactions among members of organizations, Drew uses that model to invite these business professionals to be curious about their own styles and parts voicing up inside their own minds, and to lead that conversation from their “most centered-leader self.”

Drew tells clients, “Just like the dynamics of your team, you’ve got to ensure the right conversations, with the right energy, to get congruent and effective action.” Conversations can be either reactive and polarizing or focused and respectfully listening and getting the best from all the diverse voices.” Consistent with the IFS model, all parts are welcome into the conversation, and it is the leaders’ job to facilitate the best ideas for aligned action.

Given the diversity of clients whom he coaches, there is naturally a wide range of self-awareness, readiness, and willingness to do the inner work; yet he has never had a client reject the invitation. After completion of an engagement, typically six months or more, his clients frequently report that “parts work and leading my inner team” was the most impactful piece of the work for them, even among those who were initially the most resistant. The willingness to be one’s own leader first inspires the cultural shift within businesses, which ultimately brings true collaboration and better results. This is the premise of Drew’s efforts and the hope of all IFS business practitioners.





From One Hope Merchant to Another

As members of this community may know, IFS Developer Richard Schwartz, PhD, served on a panel at the Mind and Life Europe Conference in Brussels, Belgium, on September 9th. A major theme of the conference was how compassion and leadership can change the world when it comes to “Power and Care,” words used to describe the two perennial polarities (both inner and outer).

Jetlagged and just having arrived home from his European trip, Dick took the time with OUTLOOK Editor, Michelle Glass, to share his experience on Monday, September 19, with our community.

OUTLOOK: Thank you for taking time for this brief interview. First, let me extend my gratitude on behalf of our community for your important life’s work and our heartfelt congratulations for your recent presentation and discussion with His Holiness the Dalai Lama and the two large IFS workshops you hosted at the Conference. Introducing IFS to this new community must have been a positive development. How was this experience overall for you?

DICK: Reactions by different parts, I guess: challenging, rewarding, and also frustrating.

O: I can imagine. To help provide better guidance to inner compassionate calm (what IFS refers to as Self), His Holiness commissioned the development of an Atlas of Emotion. Dr. Eckman recently unveiled this online application. What is your view through thenIFS lens of this Atlas of Emotions?

DS: I haven’t looked at it carefully yet. It seems to me that the Atlas of Emotions helps individuals identify emotions, but I don’t get a sense that it shows people how to work with emotions. It appears to me, and this is part of the frustration for me, that His Holiness is offering a very different paradigm when it comes to emotions. It may contradict the essence of IFS.

O: I see the big difference between identifying and working with emotions; can you say more?

DS: His Holiness has written at times that he sees there being “destructive/afflictive emotions” and there being “positive emotions.” His stated goal is to cultivate the positive ones and, in my interpretation, possibly ignore or override the negative/destructive ones. To do that, which was a theme throughout the conference whenever His Holiness would talk, one does so with willpower, effort, and discipline. I went into my presentation and discussion knowing of the differences between the two paradigms; but I am not sure if he followed my explanation contrasting his view with the IFS view. Maybe the view that no emotions are destructive did not sit well. Hence, some of my frustration. I was pleased to note that many people in that community received IFS well, especially when I later talked about the meditation community not understanding trauma. My afternoon workshops attracted about 250 people each, and I had people “go inside” and do parts work. Many participants in my workshops were presenters; so I believe my presentation had some impact on the community.

O: It is wonderful to have impact on so many in the meditation community, even if perhaps not with His Holiness. To tie back into what you said earlier, in a New York Times article earlier this year, the Dalai Lama was quoted as saying he hoped his Atlas “could be a tool for cultivating good in the world by defeating the bad within us... Ultimately, our emotion is the real troublemaker. We have to know the nature of that ‘enemy.’” In what ways might you reframe the view of the need to “defeat the bad within us” and the view of “that enemy”?

Dick Schwartz and Dalai Lama

our inner enemies as we do for external enemies?” Truth is, I chickened out! I didn’t want to be the only one to ask him a direct question.

O: I for one appreciate your tireless Hope Merchanting, which showed up on stage, in that statement, by being an advocate for those parts of us who are at best ignored and at worst violently pushed away, particularly by most meditation practices. Can you speak to how it felt for your parts to make that remark on stage in front of His Holiness and how you felt he energetically responded?

DS: Overall, I was pleased to have been invited and felt proud. I had just figured out a few days prior what I was going to say to him. Let’s just say without going into details that the version I had sent to the moderator a few days before the event was not the version I could present. I had memorized it; so you could imagine my state of mind. However, I was inspired in the middle of the night by a better version, which I presented. Nonetheless, I got through it and realized at some point that the goal was to get the points out more broadly to the audience.

O: How many attended?

DS: There were about 2,000 in the audience, but I’m told up to a million in simulcast.

O: That is quite the reach. It is said in the IFS community, and you may have said yourself, that Self may be given different names in different spiritual views, Buddha-nature, Christ Consciousness, Otman, etc. If His Holiness were to understand that aspect of IFS more fully, do you feel he would be more receptive to helping transform inner ‘enemies’ and advocating people reframe this perspective?

DS: I don’t know. I think I made this point more clearly in the Q&A segment about this other place inside of us. Because I was told earlier that His Holiness might be offended by comparisons to Buddha-nature, I described it using the language His Holiness and the Buddhist community are familiar with: as, this place that is between power and care parts that might have some element of Buddha- nature. It might not change his opinion. I am told that in higher levels of Buddhist practice, there actually is compassion for those “destructive emotions,” but the public is taught to be harsh with them.

“I was pleased to note that many people in that community received IFS well, especially when I later talked about the meditation community not understanding trauma...”

DS: Well, my last statement to His Holiness was along those lines. I said something like, “Why don’t we approach our inner enemies in the same way you want us to approach our external ones, with compassion.” Again, I don’t get a sense it had impact. However, there was a positive assessment of that quote and case study I gave in His Holiness’ newspaper. So maybe some folks, maybe younger ones, are open to consider alternative views; older people in the movement may be too committed to what they learned originally.

O: Good to hear. During your time on stage with His Holiness, he remarked that what each “expert” presented was “a good start, but that it was really only the tip of the iceberg, that it is much more complex than you know.” How did you take that statement and had you more time with him, what would you have said?

DS: If I could engage him live on stage (I had difficulty understanding His Holiness on stage) and if I had more time, I would have directly challenged the prevalent view by saying, “What do you think of having as much compassion for

O: What sort of exchange did you have with other thought leaders at the Conference?

DS: It was interesting to watch His Holiness interact with panelists. Throughout the conference, there were fascinating conversations with smart people. I made some very good connections with experts in their fields and hope to maintain these relationships, which might serve to be an opening to bring IFS ideas to other fields, including economics. There was some intrigue about the idea that we have personalities, not just one personality, and how that would change economic theory in a big way.

O: It is always exciting to make new connections and to bring IFS to many different sectors. We look forward to seeing more progress for IFS, both scientifically and spiritually, especially as new scientific evidence is being sought, and of the Model bringing healing to our planet, as more and more of us become Hope Merchants along your side.

DS: Thank you, Michelle. It was fun to do this with you.

Stories of
Personal Transformation


The clinical IFS treatment protocol is a rigorous process that has been well honed over the years. Its application is designed to guide the client through various stages of discovery, from the unveiling of Self and traumatized, exiled Parts within the system, to the unburdening of these Parts and scheduling regular check-ins with them. All this happens in a safe client-therapist space.

Outside that space, maintaining this Self-to-Parts relationship is a very personalized experience and varies from individual to individual. Beyond the modality, the IFS paradigm may be accessible to all and applicable to one’s daily activities. Stories of Personal Transformation in this section, like the vignette presented below, are designed to showcase individualized experiences, aha moments, and applications of IFS.

Oh Creeto, you must be exhausted!

Perfectionism, we’re told, paralyzes us, drowning us into anxiety or depression, giving us the illusion of righteousness and exclusivity. But it won’t happen to me, I assured myself for the longest time. I quietly embraced perfectionism as my MO, my special gift, believing in my core, it appeared, that this was my nature.

My “functioning depression,” you ask? I called it melancholy. My physical exhaustion? Nothing but a casualty of striving and stretching.

Without ever noticing it, my “unrelenting standards” schema affected those around me, no matter how hard I tried to be sensitive or understanding, bearing its brunt without hesitation instead of passing it on. I rarely took time to savor successes; but of that too I was unaware. Instead, I would focus on the next race or analyze what could have been done better in the previous one. Apart from a short-lived gracious bow, I did not take in applause or standing ovations given occasionally along the way.



This was my call or quest to “reach the unreachable star,” impossible as it was! Everything had to be performed with such originality, thoroughness, elegance, precision, and harmony that I became in every instance, and again unknowingly, an inseparable part of the process. The creator becoming the creation; how devastating an outcome, but I ignored it.

I even sought perfection in how I behaved and interacted with others. Was it all due to a powerful fear of failing, as if failure was not a necessary human experience? I dismissed it off hand too as it would be a threat to my very essence, shredding my worth to pieces.

So when a loving partner alluded to aloofness and arrogance that she saw seeping through me, my system went into lock down. Sirens! What are you talking about? Are we talking about the same caring, sociable, humble me? How can my quality standards make me appear (even to a silent few) as disconnected or one-upping others? It was just an innocent desire to think big, do much, move fast, fueled by a passion to do good! “Holier than thou” is what had come across.

This was an O’oh moment for me, a wake-up call of sorts. Maybe my quest was indeed causing me the pain and burnout that I kept on suppressing while moving forward, unfettered! I went on the internal offensive, attempting to take down the perfectionist fortress and tear down its watch tower. But the more I pushed, the more I was pushed against, bracing myself from the polar-opposite danger of coasting and swinging toward mediocrity—a truly frightening thought!

Then came the IFS viewpoint. A little window to a new vista. A reverse defogger turned on; the fog on the inside started to dissipate, letting me take it all in! It was my partner, now IFS trained, who shared elements of the IFS Model with me. What a nice offering!

The IFS call urged parts of me to step aside, and as objectively as possible, listen in the way I would to one of my sons, which was initially hard to do. The call triggered genuine curiosity about who is pushing me to the limit in all activities all the time. Might this be a well-meaning, good-intentioned protective part? I knew not, but I kept questioning.

If so, whom is the part protecting and why is the part being consistently critical of all I do? And whose voice was it? Then I (the system engineer) started assembling the pieces and reconstructing. While I had never forgotten defining childhood moments, I sidelined them. I had never lost sight of the 9-year-old, who was somehow connected to this, but he appeared like a distant acquaintance, rather than a much younger me. But there he was, in full sight, tender, tentative, and sitting on a green velvet sofa.

The IFS call urged parts of me to step aside, and as objectively as possible, listen in the way I would to one of my sons, which was initially hard to do.

There were many scenes. One, in high-resolution, transported me back to seventh grade and School Principal I.M., who had until then showered the little boy, Toofie, with nothing but praise.

I.M. called him to the front of the classroom on one “public” grade reporting day—an event that happened once a month during which students who scored 10-out-of-20 or lower on any course that month would be scolded and physically punished in front of their peers.

Little boy had had chicken pox that month, missed ten days of class, and did not score as impeccably on two of his eight courses as he had done consistently. He was called to the front and, for each the two courses, had to open his hands and stretch them out, palms facing up, to receive two hard blows from a heavy wooden stick—think a baseball bat with straight edges—swinging with the giant principal’s absolute power. An almost out-of-body experience. Little boy bit his tongue so hard to keep a scream from coming out, tears flowing down his face, embarrassed before the whole class, especially standing next to four of his classmates who commonly stood in front of the class and received 10 to 15 blows in a row without winking, emitting a single sound, or betraying in any way pain and concerns.

Little boy could not wait to get home. To his room directly. A whole afternoon of crying, his face deep into his green velvet sofa. The next day, he woke up with a bright rash across his forehead, fire-red, visible from across the playground. The rash stayed irritated for six months, despite intensive medical attention and an unsolicited home visit and apology by the principal. He walked around, his embarrassment and failure, his scarlet letter written on his forehead.

Not a serious event, in the big scheme of things. But for a little guy! I admit, I too felt embarrassment thinking back, then I was overcome with love for him. In my internal processing, Creeto also showed up, committed not to allow any of it to happen again. “Don’t you worry,” he appeared to be saying. “I’ll keep pushing so you won’t be hurt again or embarrassed again; and I’ll make sure you get your 20 over 20 every time.” How can I blame him: Right attitude, but a solution not quite so wise when seen through an adult’s lens—but it is the best he, young Creeto, could muster.

This was a significant insight or revelation. It was gained after persistent internal dialogue, conversations with my IFS-certified partner, and time with a seasoned and compassionate IFS therapist (after all, I live with a psychotherapist; so I am expected to seek therapy!). Whereas I was unaware of him, and for a while even fought him aggressively, I have now found compassion and gratitude for Creeto!

Creeto did not disappear into the sunset, though. When he shows up now, what I hear myself remind- ing him is that I am a tad more mature than Toofie, and that Principal I.M. is today but a frail old man who did not mean to hurt us then nor will he hurt us again.

Not to worry, Creeto. I will handle it from here on. You can rest now. Or maybe you will volunteer as my quality control officer. _TMH


Directors, associates, and volunteering partners of the Foundation continue to work diligently on behalf of the community to make progress toward the mission of advancing IFS research, increasing access to training, and disseminating the IFS paradigm in many settings beyond psychotherapy to enhance the workplace environment and daily living. Here is a brief sample update on recent activities:


  • Monitoring the progress and administering the grant-funding process of two Foundation-funded research studies, while overseeing their actual therapy and fidelity components (ongoing)
  • Developing new Research Graduate Fellowship Awards, which will support graduate students working with a research supervisor on an IFS research study (current activity)
  • Supporting the work of an academic interest group to make IFS accessible to graduate programs (ongoing)
  • Currently designing an online IFS library, a searchable database, which will house the IFS articles and resources vetted during the Annotation Project led by Jenn Matheson, PhD, LMFT (in early stages)


  • Developing the joint venture between the Foundation for Self Leadership and Education 4 Peace to launch a global Campaign to promote peace through emotional learning (in progress) [Please see the full article and please stay tuned for more information around this Campaign.]


  • Building the Stories of Self campaign consisting of brief soft-evidence narratives about the IFS experience of practitioners and clients, and the diversity and impact these IFS applications have had on individuals (still in early stages)

IFS Training Awards

  • Establishing criteria for new IFS training awards for mental health agencies serving marginalized communities and possibly mental health faculty (in early stages)


  • Working with a Planned Giving Consultant to develop an estate giving program (in progress).

Why do you donate to the Foundation?...

“I give money to the IFS Foundation. Why? Because I believe in IFS therapy and in its value for individuals and society. Having experienced IFS, I know how much good it can do. Over the years I have been in many kinds of therapy with many therapists, but never have they touched me the way IFS has.

There is an integrity and a deep kindness of heart to be found here that I have not found elsewhere. There is an acceptance and a sense of inner holding that is rare. I have seen many people transform inwardly and outwardly as they experience IFS. It is beautiful to see.

The possibility that more people can be touched and their lives changed for the better by my donations, by our donations, brings tears to my eyes.”

– Anonymous Donor

What inspires you to donate?

Please share your story.


The Foundation is grateful for the community’s support, which makes it possible to achieve our mission. Together, with your support, we ultimately bring deep and lasting healing to the world.

Multiple Means of Supporting your Foundation...

We’ve provided many ways to make giving to the Foundation simple. Whether direct financial donations (large or small), indirect contributions from Smile.Amazon.com, or through volunteering in a number of ways or simply placing one of our fliers in your office, there’s sure to be one (or many) that is suitable for you. Please visit our website for examples of supporting the Foundation.


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 IFS 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 the Center for Self Leadership; and tens of thousands of therapy clients and workshop attendees have experienced personal transformations through the IFS paradigm. Read more about IFS at FoundationIFS.org.



OUTLOOK is an occasional bulletin that the Foundation for Self Leadership will publish 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 so 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 Director Toufic Hakim, PhD, and Editor Michelle Glass, who play key roles in its production; Sylvia Miller for layout and graphic design; Grant Leitheiser, LMFT, for online content; and Keren Fortier, MSW, LICSW; Kira Freed, MA, LPC; Karen Locke, MA; Laura Taylor, JD; and Casita Wild, MA, 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 about their 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 online 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.



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 through scholarships, especially among groups with limited financial ability.

Board of Directors:

  • Harley Goldberg, DO; Physician Executive, Kaiser Permanente, U.S.A.; Chair (2018)
  • Frank G. Anderson, MD; Practicing Psychiatrist and Certified IFS Therapist, U.S.A.; Vice Chair and Executive Director, Development and Research (2018); Clinical Supervisor for IFS Research Studies
  • Lester Fagen, MA, JD; Partner in Business Office of Cooley, LLP, U.S.A. (2017)
  • Toufic Hakim, PhD; Senior Managing Principal, Group i&i Consultancy, U.S.A; Executive Director, Operations and Communications (2016); Publisher of OUTLOOK & Other Print/Online Media Content
  • Mark Milton; Founding Director, Education 4 Peace, Switzerland (2017)
  • Nancy Shadick, MD, MPH; Director and Associate Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School, U.S.A. (2016)

The Board and Foundation are supported
by a number of associates and volunteers:

Mary Mitrovich, providing financial management support; Barbara Levine, LICSW, serving as Secretary to the Board; Casita Wild and Michele Bruce serving as part-time administrative staff; Jenn Matheson, PhD, LMFT and Libby Halstead, MBA serving as Senior Coordinators; Elizabeth Southwell, serving as Coordinator for IFS Research Fidelity; Grant Leitheiser, LMFT, serving as Website Programmer and Developer; and Michelle Glass serving as Editor of OUTLOOK and as Donor Stewardship Associate.