IN THIS ISSUE: From the Board From the Editor Inward & Outward Research In Psychotherapy & Counseling Beyond Psychotherapy & Counseling Community Connections Stories of Transformation Operational Update Contributors’ Circle About OUTLOOK About IFS About the Foundation
From Your Board
Dear Friends of IFS and the Foundation,
As the Foundation enters its sixth year of activity, we all have great cause to celebrate. We dedicate a few lines in this issue of OUTLOOK to review ever so briefly with you a few of the developments made possible through the Foundation.
We use the phrase “through the Foundation” rather than “by the Foundation,” because to a large extent we consider the Foundation for Self Leadership to be only one element of a three-way partnership—a partnership that formed naturally to advance emotional healing and well-being in the world through the IFS lens and wisdom of Self.
While the Foundation is a stand-alone, independent 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization, incorporated in the U.S. and governed by its own global volunteer board of directors, we work with individual and organizational partners and continue to expand our network.
We are very pleased to continue our critical, collaborative engagement with the Center for Self Leadership (CSL), which is the training engine and home of IFS. The two organizations have distinct finances and financial systems that are not comingled, as well as separate controllers and financial management processes. As two legally distinct organizations, they submit separate corporate reports and tax filings.
As a matter of practice, you’ll be pleased to know, the organizations’ directors maintain regular meetings together to discuss new initiatives, review progress, and explore joint programs. Our Board of Directors hosts meetings with CSL’s leadership, Executive Director Jon Schwartz, and Founding President Dick Schwartz, PhD, at least semi-annually, not to mention the many informal conversations that take place.
CSL is but one key partner of the Foundation. The other key partner is YOU, the IFS community. Together, we all share a vision of healing and hope.
Together, we promote IFS in various ways and through diverse applications as a modern paradigm of the human psyche, a clinical protocol for healing, a philosophy of practice that brings inner harmony and fulfillment, and an approach for resolving conflicts and building mutually supportive relationships—be it at work or at home. We thank you for all you do to stretch the boundaries of IFS and how, through its lens, language, and learnings, individuals across our planet can be hopeful that it is possible to find peace within and with others.
Since 2013, the Foundation has been able to manifest quite a list of accomplishments with your help, support, inspiration, and encouragement, (See Foundation’s Operation Section.) A lot has been completed to date, and yet we have much more to do. Bringing IFS to the world, as our collective vision calls for, requires us to strengthen the Model’s credibility, increase its visibility, and deepen its accessibility.
RESEARCH. With your support, we will gather and examine further empirical evidence regarding the efficacy of the IFS psychotherapy treatment in clinical settings. We have begun by prioritizing funding for studies involving individuals suffering from PTSD and depression. We’re proud to share with you that the Foundation structured and implemented an independent review process to assess the quality and merit of studies considered for funding. We will continue to seek additional funding to award competitive grants for rigorous studies in these areas.
We remain intrigued by questions about how non-therapy IFS applications can lead to sustainable change, e.g., how conflict resolution through the IFS Model can facilitate agreement among quarrelling parties or how IFS executive coaching can empower leaders to transform their organization’s work environment.
SERVICE TO SCHOOLS. Considering the need to bring the notions of Self and parts to youth, we are focusing on K—12 schools as a sector where exposure to the IFS paradigm and practice can be of significance. Our approach is to immerse teachers in IFS experiences and observe change within them and through them. The Foundation will be looking for support to expand these programs while we simultaneously study the outcomes.
SERVICE TO MILITARY VETERANS. Given the need to support the transition of deployed military veterans back to a normal life away from combat,
the Foundation is seeking to bring IFS to the attention of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. One approach is to support agencywide IFS trainings at a veterans’ health agency, combined with research to understand the longer-term effects of the training programs on therapists and patients.
SERVICE TO COMMUNITIES IN NEED. The Foundation is exploring the possibility of establishing an IFS Healing Corps of volunteers willing to be mobilized to areas of natural or human-caused crisis to offer hope and healing.
ADVOCACY. The Foundation will continue to speak on behalf of IFS and the community, in close partnership with you and CSL. We will host dialogues, share stories, and encourage the promulgation of soft evidence (as well as the hard evidence that is available).
In addition, we will proceed with the global media campaign that we started developing three years ago with Education 4 Peace to promote emotional awareness and a way of being and behaving compatible with Self leadership (see later pages in this OUTLOOK).
COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT. The Foundation has deep roots within the IFS community and will continue to build networks and joint efforts within this community. In addition, it is evident that we should forge partnerships with like-minded organizations that do work in similar orbits and look for ways to establish synergies and common ventures with them.
We thank you for your continued interest in the Foundation’s mission.
Only by us working together, can IFS become a widely recognized and embraced evidence-based clinical protocol for healing, a commonly embraced modern view of the human psyche, and an enthusiastically sought-out living practice. This is our contribution to a collective vision of healing and hope.
Frank Anderson, MD, Vice Chair & Director of Research Development Les Fagen, MA, JD; Pam Krause, MSW, LCSW; Vicki McCoy, MA; and Mark Milton
To reach a board member, please write FirstName@FoundationIFS.org.
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From the Editor
A new season is upon us! Children and many adults are now again at school,
falling into routines both new and familiar. Often, this comes with mixed emotions, including excitement about novel learnings, wondering about new friends to be made, and apprehension about personal safety, among others. In a world with sometimes glaring polarizations, threats to our well-
being and self-determination, and the busyness of day-to-day life, students, teachers,
and parents need more support than ever.
Enter the Foundation for Self Leadership...weaving
connections, supporting programs, contributing
to the community staying informed and engaged,
and identifying ways to serve.
Together with you, we are providing this much-needed underpinning. In these pages, encouraging stories about members of our community illustrate concrete action being taken to buoy extreme emotions and navigate inner and outer storms. Whether it’s teachers learning about their own inner landscapes to better mentor their students (Teacher Resilience As a Path to Student Resilience); therapists fostering stronger parent-child bonds and child welfare through parts work (Bridging Parent-Child Relationships: Helping Children and Parents Befriend Parts); athletes on the field articulating their inner emotional awareness through Inside Out characters (My Inside Team: Peace through Emotional Learning –
A Global Campaign Featuring Pixar’s Inside Out
Characters); or vulnerable narratives being courageously shared internationally on radio (Courageous
Conversations Cultivating Community: Safe Space
Radio), seeds have been sown across the world now
and are taking root.
With your encouragement and involvement, we have come a long way in our five short years, but we have much more ground to cover. Imagine what your younger years would have been had you been fortunate to establish the foundation and gain the wisdom of Self-energy. This is what the Foundation intends to help others do. We hope that you celebrate with us and find renewed hope personally and professionally through the inspiring work of our collective community. __MLG
The community will be interested to learn that the pilot study Pilot Intervention Center: IFS Therapy for the Treatment of PTSD and Complex Trauma, the first study that was funded by the Foundation (October 2014), has been accepted for publication in Psychological Trauma: Theory, Research, and Practice, a peer-reviewed journal. Please stay tuned for further details. When the paper is published, the Foundation will share its abstract and key findings with the community.
The Foundation is grateful to Hilary Hodgdon, PhD, PI, Trauma Center at JRI, who led the research study; to Frank Anderson, MD, who initiated this work and provided leadership and support for clinical supervision; to Wendy Hrubec, LICSW, who coordinated the study project; to Elizabeth Southwell, who managed the data for the fidelity review, and to multiple other IFS therapists who participated in the client screening and clinical sessions, among them: Fran Booth, LICSW; Jeanne Catanzaro, PhD; Rina Dubin, EdD; Marushka Glissen, LICSW; Suzanne Hoffman, PsyD; Jackie Kikuchi, PhD; Paul Neustadt, MSS, LICSW; Jessica Reed, LICSW; Larry Rosenberg, PhD; Richard Schwartz, PhD; Ann Sinko, LMFT; and Martha Sweezy, PhD, LICSW. Many volunteer members of the IFS community also lent a hand with the adherence rating to ensure that the sessions were IFS compatible. The Foundation is grateful for their time and support.
While many books have been written about utilizing IFS with adults, only a small handful of publications have addressed how the Model may be used with children. Three such authors include IFS Lead Trainer and Foundation board member Pamela Krause, MSW, LCSW; Arthur Mones, PhD, ABPP; and Lois Ehrmann, PhD, LPC. In the most recent book to hit the shelves, Internal Family Systems Therapy with Children, author and certified IFS therapist Lisa Spiegel, MA, LMHC, brings to life the use of parts work with children through engagingly written case material with her child and family clients.
Lisa took great care to capture the Model in language that is easy and understandable by therapists, clients, and parents. For anyone with an interest in IFS, the book clearly describes the important concepts of Self, protectors, and exiles. It may have usefulness even if one does not plan on working with children.
Each chapter begins with definitions of key words so that the reader need not reference the glossary frequently. Filled with exercises, case examples of both children and parents, and photographs of children’s art or externalized parts, readers are given an up-front seat to the ease and real-life expression of the Model in action.
At the annual IFS conference in 2017, Lisa presented All Parts Big and Small: How to Use the IFS Model with Children and Their Parents. Lisa used case examples and video to help participants feel as if they were right in her consultation room.
Two such case examples:
1. In the parent guidance chapter, Lisa says, “the idea is to help parents see their children as not a unidimensional negative aspect, rather as having parts that get extreme and to also help them see their own corollary extreme part.” One mother came in to discuss her son’s temper tantrums, initially describing him as a difficult and defiant kid. Working with Lisa and reviewing past interactions between the two, this mother learned that her son had an Angry part and also identified her own inner Angry part. She could now see her son as a child with a range of different parts. The awareness of their parts built a bridge for the two to talk about their negative interactions during arguments and softened their relationship.
2. A young Hasidic girl who had been through other forms of therapy to work with her “worry,” which had been torturing her, learned to befriend her Worried part rather than identifying it as the enemy, fighting against, and exiling it. One day she had a light-bulb moment in which she announced, “Oh my gosh! It’s not an enemy— it’s trying to help me!” These profound moments when children and adults alike discover their protectors’ positive intentions are key.
The book has received many great reviews, including one from our own Richard Schwartz, PhD: “This book is an important contribution not only to the growing literature on IFS, but to the field of child therapy in general.” Another review on Amazon states, “It made me feel profoundly hopeful that Spiegel and others like her are helping children reclaim their inherent joy, not through an attitude of negation, but through this method of acknowledging, allowing, and understanding all of their parts.” Lisa’s book is available through Amazon.com, through the Center for Self Leadership’s website, and through Routledge’s website. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
It may sound far-fetched at first—a pie-in-the-sky dream. Isn’t this, though, what many of us have gained, discovering ourselves through the IFS window as if for the first time: hope and the promise of healing and peace? Isn’t this what many of us do for our clients: show them the path to their inner world and help them discover Self?
These are the lucky ones—lucky enough to find IFS and discover Self. How about the multitude of others who may not have access…in spaces where IFS has not yet been? Let’s share it far and wide and make a compelling case for it through research, advocacy, and service. This is what your Foundation for Self Leadership is endeavoring to do with the community and on its behalf.
We are working to ensure that everyone has the opportunity to discover Self. Everyone…a child, a veteran, or our neighbor next door…we wish for individuals and families in our communities to become mindful of their inner working and secure in their connection with their inner wisdom. From in-depth experiences, we know the power of Self. Help promulgate it far and wide.
We hear it often said that once we discover our parts and Self, the learning can never be unlearned. We embrace a new way of being in the world, a new way of seeing the world…and that capacity has been with us all along. Help make such views and the goodness it ensues infiltrate our world.
As one example, your generosity will help engage one more teacher in a new IFS program for Minneapolis schools, and through her to many students or a veteran who will be served when the VA agency therapist serving him gets trained in IFS.
PLEASE JOIN US TODAY. Together we make the much-needed difference. Together, we contribute to a better world—opening windows to Self, one after another. Visit FoundationIFS.org/donate to give the gift of Self-discovery that lasts a lifetime.
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, tentatively named My Inside Team, to promote emotional health and well-being through self-awareness.
The Campaign, which opens with an extensive public media initiative, will consist of a series of animated videos featuring characters from Disney•Pixar’s Inside Out, specifically Riley and her five emotions. Through it, celebrity athletes (also in animated forms) will share lessons they have learned about listening to their own emotions and leading them, especially under stressful conditions, to exhibit prosocial behaviors.
“This is a notable, uncommon development that we hope to build upon for years to come,” commented Foundation Executive Director Frank Anderson, MD, who has been working diligently with Board Members,
Mark Milton and Toufic Hakim, PhD, and other volunteers to design and implement the Campaign.
Partnering with Pixar Animation Studios to develop the Campaign strategy and creative, an arrangement that was formalized in June 2018, is key to realizing the Campaign, which resonates well with the work of the Foundation and E4P’s vision.
The Campaign is further aligned with the United Nations Sustainability Development Goals (especially SDG3, Good Health and Well-being). The team planning and managing the Campaign Team is currently establishing connections with entities involved in implementing SDG’s.
Are you with us in this Campaign? These star athletes, some of whom have “acted out” in public (their behaviors were impulsively driven by their emotions and were reacting while “in an agitated emotional state”) share with us their insights. Their lesson will highlight their
new-found ability to notice emotional triggers and keep them in perspective – sharing how to be with the emotions, instead of in them.
This Campaign is inspired by the work of Education 4 Peace, a Swiss nonprofit, with major sports federations to incorporate self-awareness into their educational programs. The field of sports was chosen as the initial domain for launching the Campaign because it represents fertile grounds to cultivate social and emotional learning for new generations.
“When playing sports, children are expected to balance competitiveness on the field with respect for each other,” Mark, E4P Founding Director and member of the Foundation’s board, noted. “What an opportunity to learn on the field how to build relational skills that will be valuable at times of adversity.”
There are high emotions in sports. It is known that athletes who are aware of their emotions and can lead them (rather than be led by them) perform better than those who do not have the same awareness. And athletes can be role models and effective teachers for our children. For these reasons and more, athletes will be invited to partner in this initiative.
Becoming sensitive and attuned to one’s emotions is, most of us recognize, an important learning objective. Among its likely far-reaching effects: less reactivity and more mindful responsiveness, greater inner calm, and a deeper desire to resolve conflicts with others more peacefully.
At a time when our communities are burdened by erratic behaviors and extreme feelings causing pain in multiple settings, there is an urgent call for us to embrace our common humanity with compassion and without judgment. Inspiring today’s children and young adults among us to do so is of particular importance.
In some ways, this effort is considered an investment in the future, and in our collective vision of inner healing and well-being through Self-leadership.
When Frank Anderson, MD, then-Chair of the Foundation, screened the Inside Out movie trailer to many ‘ohh’s and ahh’s’ at the 2014 IF Conference, it was extremely well received. The movie was informed by neuroscience and inspired by Director Pete Docter’s personal experience in watching his daughter grow up – aspects that appealed to all attendees. (Thanks to Derek Scott, RSW, a member of our community for bringing it to the Foundation’s attention and to IFS trainer Fran Booth, LICSW, for suggesting a “pre-screening.”)
Then one thing led to another...
A Boston pre-screening of the movie was arranged in June 2015, days before the movie opened across the U.S. (Thanks to the hard work of the IFS New England community for making this possible.)
Conversations started with Pixar about the Campaign, which would depict athletes’ own emotions in the same way the movie showed the five emotions in protagonist Riley’s head (Joy, Sadness, Fear, Anger and Disgust).
Soapbox Films was invited to produce the video segments. “Our engagement with Soapbox was very synergistic. It led to a basic rendition of the concept, and execution which was embraced by key Pixar staff and filmmakers,” added Frank. Further discussions and reviews led to a signed agreement with Pixar in June 2018.
Viewers of all ages responded well to the movie. The Campaign will build upon that interest and extend the movie’s positive impact among children, coaches and parents. “Our intent is to produce high-quality shorts to be broadcast in major sport venues in the U.S., Europe and around the world,” said Toufic. “We are grateful to Pixar’s commitment to our effort and to the community for its support.”
The community’s engagement, guidance and connections will be critical for the success of the Campaign. Please stay tuned for more news at the upcoming IFS Conference and in the near future.
These were Tim’s early words during his participation at the first online Foundation Forum (Taking Self to School on September 21), quoting from The Larger Self by IFS Developer Richard Schwartz, PhD.
Serving as a panelist, Timothy Jungwirth, MEd, was representing 15 other middle school teachers in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Together, the 16 teachers had been engaged in a 10-month-long, 40-hour immersive experience, which was funded, with the help of the community, by the Foundation and led by Jody Nelson, EdD, LMFT and her team.
The main effect of the experience, as Tim offered, was an emerging “growth mindset” that he and his teacher colleagues have adopted. It is essential, the teachers have to come to realize, that they model openness within their classroom as a way of becoming more supportive of their students and dealing more constructively with difficult situations.
Expanding the teachers’ own mindset, he shared, was asking to transform their teaching practice. It all appears to have sprouted from key observations posited by IFS, namely that “when we listen to, and ultimately, embrace our unwelcome parts they transform,” as suggested by Dick.
In response to a question by moderator Anna Tansi, MS, Tim shared that he had applied for the pilot program because he’d been wanting to “understand trauma and its impact on students and student learning,” give feedback to students that builds affective connections, and inspire student achievement. Given the at-risk student population that these teachers serve, it seems necessary to gain such self-understanding first and develop the skills to put it into work. Tim stated that he and his colleagues now see the possibilities and are engaged in a personal transition that he believes will positively affect their teaching effectiveness: “We see ourselves making these changes.”
The Forum was organized within the context of growing societal tensions, nationally and globally, and a steady rise in worry and stress among adults (as concluded in the 2017 Stress in America report of the American Psychological Association). These concerns find their way readily into the thinking and behaviors of school students—not to mention the effect of increased levels of stress experienced by school teachers, triggered by intensified paperwork requirements, narrow
performance-tied evaluations, heightened public scrutiny and attacks, and perhaps more importantly, concerns about violence in schools and behavioral issues in the classroom.
What has become clear from this teacher experience is that helping to develop a “common language,” including language used in the IFS model of Self and parts, “can help build relationships organically on a daily basis,” as articulated by Jennifer Krizan, MA, LMFT, LICSW (a school counselor in Minneapolis who also served on the panel), not only with students but also among teachers and staff. This is how trust is built and various members of the school community can support each other throughout the day. Through this language, Jennifer added, students and teachers “become less defensive; conflict gets resolved much more easily; and us grown-ups take things less personally.”
Today, Tim thinks about building student resilience as he interacts with his students. If students are risk-averse, which he may now consider to be one of their protective parts, he tries to work with these parts because he needs students to take judicious risks and to discern when it becomes necessary to do so. Students need more mental health support, Tim insisted. The more teachers know about themselves, and the more resilience they themselves build, the better they can help students navigate turbulent waters and build emotional resilience over time.
The teacher experience is now spilling into the classroom as each teacher is implementing a personal agenda of action for bringing to students in her/his own way what she/he had discovered. “All I have to say,” Jody added, “is that enthusiasm for learning and growth is infectious.” Teachers’ emotional learning and discoveries “will make a difference in the life of these kids.”
The 10-month Pilot Teacher Experience, funded by the Foundation, is being independently evaluated by Jennifer Griffin-Wiesner, MEd, who is using the DeLand IFS Scale* as one of her measurement tools. She reviewed all teacher journals and conducted focus-group interviews with all 16 teachers. More is being done to learn about effects on students.
Through a comprehensive application review, the management team selected 16 teachers, 69% of whom were female, with an average of 14 years of classroom teaching. As one participant stated in the application: “Throughout my 15 years of teaching, a lot has changed. We know much more about mental health and working with kids. Nonetheless, our teacher training is really lacking for us to be prepared to work with all students effectively.”
The most common reason for participation, as relayed by 44% of participants, was to grow and learn as a teacher. Application entries highlighted this view: “I ask my students to focus and make changes in their emotional lives, but I don’t often have the chance to focus on my emotional life.” “I teach better when I’m in a good place emotionally. I want to be there more and help others to get there.”
Observations and findings will be shared with the community when the assessment is complete. Early results of the review are showing that participants have experienced increased access to qualities of Self leadership, including confidence and connection. Beyond effects on their relations with students, they’ve seen these qualities manifested with family and friends.
Some initial reactions, in teachers’ words, as shared by Griffin-Wiesner:
“I found myself having more patience than I thought I would have with my students.”
“What can we do to create an environment that’s better? It made me think about that.”
“I’m thinking, ‘I’m gonna go into this year with a different mindset or routine or expectation.”
“The word I keep thinking of is bridge…trying to make those connections…how we can work with kids better, how we can frame or tee up our teaching a little differently or our classroom atmosphere a little differently.”
(*) The DeLand Scale, developed and validated by Lia DeLand, MS, NCC, LPC, is available for research through the Foundation for Self Leadership. For more information, please reach Research@FoundationIFS.org.
The Foundation for Self Leadership is grateful for the community’s continued support, which makes these efforts possible. The Foundation intends to replicate this pilot program, once refinements informed by the evaluation are in place, to four other schools and institute deeper assessment of student outcomes. This, it is hoped, will help make the case for greater expansion and scale-up.
Since 2008, Anne Hallward, MD, a psychiatrist in private practice in Portland, Maine, has been offering a unique approach to mental health. As the host of Safe Space Radio, which is broadcast on Public Radio stations across the U.S. and can also be heard online, Anne’s aim is to reduce shame, stigma, and silence by broadcasting courageous conversations about difficult subjects. On an individual level, the show inspires a re-humanization where both listener and guest are granted safe space to welcome home their exiles, feel less alone, and access the courage to start their own conversations. More broadly, the program serves as a public health response to shame and as a form of human rights education.
As a clinician, it became clear to Anne that shame was at the core of her patients’ suffering, no matter what their initial reason for seeking treatment. Radio, an intervention without visual exposure, is a medium in which protectors may permit stories to be shared without fear of inducing more shame. As listeners are often alone, this intimate experience allows for us to bear witness – both to other’s stories and our own similar narratives. Anne’s comforting warm voice and thoughtful reflections invite Self-energy in the guest and listener for these often-stigmatized topics. “Before every interview, I take enough time to really see each person’s beauty.
This, to me, is a way to access the clarity and connection of Self,” she remarks. “The eight C’s have helped me rethink and re-imagine the way I work, both as a clinician and radio host. IFS means the world to me. I like to think of the show as a form of ‘en-couragement,’ a way to foster courage in our listeners.”
The show has had both individual and far-reaching impact. Countless listeners have sung the praises of Safe Space Radio. One listener announced, “I felt normal for the first time in years,” after listening to Still Here: Caregivers and Dementia, an episode in which Anne and her mother, and several other caregivers speak candidly about their experiences of being caregivers. After a series on transgender issues, the number of psychiatrists who got trained to provide evaluations for gender reassignment surgery increased from one to twelve in the state of Maine. These first-hand guest accounts are now being used in trainings for doctors, teachers, and therapists around the US in various programs made possible from The Josiah Macy Jr. Foundation. For example, the Experience of Schizophrenia, an interview with Elyn Saks, a professor of law at USC Gould School of Law who has schizophrenia, gives a very human and intimate glimpse into what it is like to live with psychosis, inviting the doctor-in-training to identify, and relate with compassion and greater understanding, when working with future patients.
Since 2013, Safe Space Radio has received numerous national and regional awards including a Gracie Award for “Outstanding Host of a Local Radio Show,” and The APA’s Jeanne Spurlock Award for Social Justice. To learn more and listen to podcasts, visit safespaceradio.com. Anne can be reached at email@example.com.
Answering the Call: a CSL Update
In response to the amazing and overwhelming demand for all things related to IFS, the Center for Self Leadership is expanding its training and service infrastructure. CSL has employed new administrative and training staff. CSL is pleased to introduce Sara Oberg, who joins the CSL team as Online Business Manager, and Lindsay Garrity as Training Program Site Sourcing Coordinator. CSL is now in the process of hiring two additional administrative positions as well, while new IFS trainers are being hired and promoted.
Requests for more training in coaching led to CSL’s launch of a new IFS webinar series, IFS-Inspired Coaching: Aligning the Inner System, featuring Anna Tansi, MS, and Brian Jaudon, which began in October. “The six-week webinar imparts the wisdom of these two outstanding IFS-based coaches and represents CSL’s first IFS Coaching project,” shared Executive Director Jon Schwartz, MA. “We’re very excited about this webinar series with Brian and Anna.”
Editor’s Note: Considering that the work of IFS is carried out by members of this community, the Center for Self Leadership (CSL), and the Foundation, OUTLOOK regularly features CSL updates in its semi-annual editions.
Tall thin, very thin, stalks of wheat wave in the gentle breeze. They could be beautiful, but they are parched, signs of a famine, of a lack so great that my eyes tear and I feel sobs rising in my throat.
I see clearly the lean cows swallowing the fat ones, and remember how when in exile, outside the land, my peaceful, harmonious self can be swallowed up; feelings of inadequacy paralyze speech and action.
In the dim mist of the past, as if materializing out of a dark fog, there emerges an image of a little girl looking through an airplane window at a big city far below. It is the first time she has flown, the first time traveling far from home. I feel her excitement, and then the sobs begin to rise again and I become one with her, feeling her pain as she sits by the edge of the desert resort pool, parents on the other side talking to newly-made friends, brother gone off to seek out other boys, alone in a strange, unfamiliar world, lacking words to bridge the isolation.
Returning to my adult self, I move into her world and walk slowly toward her until she sees me. She lights up, reaches out her hand to take mine, then pulls me away from the expansive pool, over a sweet smelling newly cut lawn, to a playground where she places me in the corner, near the strong diagonal column of the big-girls’ swings.
“I just want to feel your support from afar and know that I am being seen,” she tells me before running off to play on the round-about. I witness her rejuvenation, the easy flow of her movements, her comfortable interaction with the children. The sun beams down upon the growing young wheat stalk, once again supple and whole.
Since Spring 2014, a group of women have gathered in Zefat,
Israel, to study and practice IFS with certified IFS therapist
Nitsan Joy Gordon, MA, incorporating tools of art, movement,
and drama. One member, Yehudit Goldfarb, PhD, inspired
through her own inner work wrote the poem - The Young
Wheat Stalk. Yehudit is a writer, photographer, and teacher
of literature, mysticism, and movement. She is the originator
of Otiyot Hayyot, an integrative form of moving meditation
based on the shapes of the Hebrew letters. IFS has helped
her maintain a centered, patient awareness, aliveness,
and creativity and has provided her with tools to help
others achieve the same. For more information,
Nitsan, founder and director of Together Beyond Words,
an organization dedicated to empowering women, reducing
prejudice, and promoting peacebuilding in Israel, was featured
in the October 2015 edition of OUTLOOK article Bringing
More Self to the Conflict in the Middle East. A true hope
merchant, she has been a catalyst for both inner and outer
peace, promoting lasting impact on individuals and communities.
For more information on Together Beyond Words
and their offerings, please see www.en.beyondwords.org.il.
Israeli IFS women’s study group. Yehudit is second from the end on right.
Be counted as an active member of our growing caring global community. Foster compassionate Self-leadership with your support. Impart the wisdom of IFS and advance the work of the Foundation to those in your circle. It takes a village, please join our efforts!
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to keep abreast of a wide range of developments around IFS
and our community, please visit
Steve Spitzer, PhD, founder of the Jericho Circle Project (JCP), a not-for-profit organization that provides men’s support groups in correctional facilities, shares a transformative session with one inmate as he prepares for release. OUTLOOK featured JCP in Creating Freedom and Healing for Inmates, in our October 2015 edition. Steve may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Someone knocks on the door. We do not have time to dress. He wants us to go with him through the blowing rainy streets, to the dark house.
We will go there, the body says. And there, find the father whom we have never met, who wandered out in a snowstorm the night he was born, and who then lost his memory, and has lived since longing for his child. Whom he saw only once while he worked as a shoemaker, as a cattle herder in Australia, as a restaurant cook who painted at night.
When you light the lamp, you will see him. He sits there, behind the door — the eyebrows so heavy, the forehead so light, lonely in his whole body, waiting for you.
Robert Bly (Excerpt from This Body is Made of Camphor and Gopherwood)
In Homer’s Odyssey, the blind seer Tiresias cautions Odysseus that the treasure he seeks is not the one he shall find. This is an insight into the journey of personal discovery that rings true for many IFS clients, therapists and agents of social change. The presenting problem may lead us astray in our search for a deeper and more meaningful truth. The promise of this truth is that it can support clients in reframing their quest and finding a more positive and life-affirming path. Well-intentioned, yet ultimately Self-sabotaging parts can send us astray in the search for the very qualities of Self that we seek.
As facilitators in men’s circles in prison, we often find that inmates present issues that could easily be misconstrued as indicative of underlying disorders or pathologies. In fact, those problems are often part of a more fundamental quest to access Self-energy that remains below the surface. With trust and patience, the source of these issues can be brought to light, sometimes with surprising results.
A man sitting in one of our Jericho Circles (let’s call him Charlie*) recognized that he had a gambling problem. Gambling was not connected to what brought him to prison in the first place, but the issue now “had him by the throat.” He was obsessed with playing cards instead of pursuing the healthier goals of preparing for his release and connecting with his family. When he first showed up in our group, he was spending hours
gambling, and going further and further into debt. He was also consumed with shame for “betraying his family” (who were unwittingly supporting his habit), and losing connection to his son.
Charlie’s gambling habit, when viewed in a larger context, can be traced back to a legacy burden of collective trauma and historical exploitation that incarcerated men often carry. As a descendant of the Caribbean diaspora born of slavery centuries earlier, the broader pattern reflected in Charlie’s case was the separation of sons from their fathers. Remembering our mythology: in many ways Odysseus’s journey is about coming home and the search of a son for his lost father.
Charlie was locked in a physical prison that was designed, legitimated, and imposed by law. Nonetheless, the more powerful and enduring burden he and his ancestors carried was one of cultural and historical dehumanization and deracination. Working directly with his parts, Charlie found himself on a new quest— a journey where the treasure he sought was not the one that first appeared on his treasure map.
The truth that he buried was a realization that he had betrayed his family, especially his son, through his crime and subsequent incarceration. Ironically, this betrayal was part of an intergenerational cycle that stretched back centuries into the past. Although the exact form and circumstances differed, the pattern was being repeated: he betrayed in much the same way that he had been betrayed.
As an immigrant from the Caribbean in the U.S., Charlie was part of the African diaspora, born of a world system of slavery set in motion centuries earlier. He, his father, and his son were the most recent carriers of the heavy chain that was forged and passed on as a legacy burden—a burden that was created by a system of domination and transferred, often unconsciously, from one generation to the next.
As he became aware that he was part of a vicious cycle of victimization, betrayal and re-victimization, Charlie could finally see the bigger picture, recognizing both the roots and consequences of this cycle. Connecting the dots between his ancestry and trauma in his family system, Charlie could both take responsibility for perpetuating the cycle and forgive himself for patterns that were not his (part of the legacy that was passed down from his ancestors). In Charlie’s case, his unburdening was supported by bringing in the energy of a favorite grandfather who became an inner resource guiding him on his path.
Getting to the heart of this realization, the work supported Charlie in gaining control of his addiction, making amends, forgiving himself for his actions and breaking the trance that held him captive. In this way, he began the difficult process of repairing his relationship with his family, and turning a vicious circle into a virtuous circle.
The gambling part had arisen as a kind of multi-level protective system. On one level, it kept Charlie from experiencing and acknowledging his current sense of isolation and estrangement from his family and community. On a deeper level, the Gambler both concealed and reenacted a collective and generational wound that was buried deep inside and was, in some sense, transpersonal. This latter discovery helped him find a new direction and purpose in his life.
For me, as a facilitator in the process, I got in touch with the power of IFS as an approach that promotes both personal and generational healing. This discovery put me in touch with the “medicine” that is often concealed within the “poison” of our wounds.
*Men in Jericho Circles are informed that their personal participation will be held in strict confidence and their anonymity preserved, even when elements of their work may be shared for educational and training purposes.
Editor’s Note: The Foundation continues to support ongoing research studies that validate the IFS model. The IFS pilot study Pilot Intervention Center: IFS Therapy for the Treatment of PTSD and Complex Trauma, the first study funded by the Foundation and accepted for publication in a peer-reviewed journal, as mentioned in the Research section of OUTLOOK, suggests that IFS is a promising, efficacious treatment of complex trauma. For decades, therapists, practitioners, and clients have known first-hand the deep and lasting healing this research supports.
Chronicles of IFS healing sessions, when shared by its author or an IFS practitioner, bridge connection from one human to another – where once isolated parts may begin to feel more connected both internally as well as externally. We believe that featuring Stories of Transformation encourage others to share their healing. To share your story, contact Michelle Glass at OUTLOOK@FoundationIFS.org.
FOUNDATION’S ACCOMPLISHMENTS 2013-2017
The application that led through an independent review to the recognition of IFS Therapy as evidence-based was developed and submitted by the Foundation. IFS is considered effective for (1) improving general function and well-being. It is deemed promising for enhancing (2) physical conditions and symptoms and (3) personal resilience and self-concept; and for reducing (4) phobia, panic, and generalized anxiety disorders and symptoms, and (5) depression and depressive symptoms. (See posting on the Foundation’s website.) [5.5K USD]
With the help of volunteer coordinators and raters, the Foundation facilitated the crafting of a synthesis of IFS psychotherapy protocol and constructs, as well as the development and statistical validation of an IFS adherence scale. The fidelity scale is an essential tool for researchers. (This is different from Lia DeLand’s IFS Scale.) [5.5K USD]
In order to maintain research integrity and independence of our funded studies, the Foundation has set in place a review process with clearly-articulated merit criteria. An independent review council of reviewers has been identified to conduct anonymous and independent reviews. The Council reviews all grant applications to the Foundation requesting research funding. [3.5K USD]
In an attempt to support researchers, the Foundation published on its website a new Resource page, which includes a searchable list of IFS-related publications (books, articles, theses), designed with researchers in mind, to showcase the depth and breadth of IFS development. [12.5K USD]
In partnership with Education 4 Peace, a Swiss nonprofit, the Foundation has been planning a global animated video campaign. Its key message, to be conveyed primarily to youth by celebrity athletes, is to inspire prosocial behavior among sports players through self-awareness and emotional fitness. The partnership signed a licensing agreement with Disney/Pixar in Summer 2018 to use the Inside Out characters as a part of this campaign. [10K USD for initial design phase]
Extending access to notions of Self and parts among school students, a new pilot program was funded and launched at two middle schools in Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA, serving at-risk student populations. Sixteen teachers were engaged in a 10-month intensive IFS-based experience and developed agendas for transferring what they discovered and learned into the classroom. The project was independently evaluated; findings will be available soon. [45K USD]
This study, led by the Trauma Center at the Justice Resource Institute in Boston and supported by a group of IFS-certified therapists who conducted the clinical work, has been completed. It has shown highly positive results and been accepted for publication in Psychological Trauma. [45K USD]
This pioneering study, co-led by the Trauma Center and the Computational Behavioral Lab at Northeastern University, observed the client-therapist process during IFS sessions, measuring through high-tech sensors parasympathetic and sympathetic nervous signals, as well as cardiovascular, respiratory, and electrodermal responses. The study is nearly complete. [75K USD]
This project involved the review and crafting of editorial commentary on some 70+ publications (journal papers, manuscripts, doctoral theses) that focused on or alluded to IFS. The work was commissioned to a team of academic researchers, among them graduate students and is now accessible online (see next point). [7.5K USD]
The Foundation has developed a comprehensive website and launched a series of social media platforms. In addition, it has launched OUTLOOK, now in its eighth issue, and OUTLOOK Shorts to share news, showcase IFS-related stories and people, and deepen connections within the IFS community. An online database has been set up and a digital communication platform established to manage this effort. [62.5K USD]
The Foundation continues to implement its programs through a small team of consultants, who receive relatively modest honoraria, and the dedication of many volunteers. Among them an executive director, a research director, a development associate, an editor, a financial controller, a website developer, and governance advisors. All are engaged in a time-limited capacity and draw their livelihood from other professional involvements. [57.5K USD, or 16% of total expenses]
(Dollar amounts are cumulative.)
Since it launched its website, the
Foundation has endeavored to develop
its www.FoundationIFS.org website into a
valuable resource center for the community,
a platform for gathering and sharing news
and information, and an archival site for
important messages and materials.
We will share periodically in OUTLOOK new features or additions to the site and to the Foundation’s online presence that may be of interest to the community.
Those who visited the site in the last several months would notice that a new RESOURCES section was added. Under this section, we currently provide access to:
A new online database of annotated IFS-related publications that may be of particular value to researchers. The list of publications, reviewed and annotated by a team of volunteers, will keep growing.
A set of university syllabi relating to IFS courses or modules within courses taught at the university level in mental health professional training. These syllabi have been graciously shared by members of the IFS community.
The latest addition here is the NREPP posting, which is an exact replica of what was listed on the U.S. Substance Abuse Mental Health Services Administration’s National Repository of Evidence-based Practices & Programs (NREPP). NREPP had recognized IFS Therapy as an evidence-based practice, acknowledging that the treatment led to a number of effective and promising outcomes, following a rigorous, independent review. The Foundation will permanently host this listing on its site—the way it was posted verbatim on the SAMHSA site.
The Resource page will also include all archived Foundation Forum videos, the first of which on Taking Self to School (from September 21, 2018) is available to be viewed.
Information about the IFS in Schools pilot program, referred to in this OUTLOOK, which engaged 16 teachers at two middle schools in Minneapolis in an immersive IFS experience, now appears under News\IFS in Schools. Please stay tuned for more to be added once the independent evaluation of this program is completed and reported.
The website now includes video recordings of messages shared by members of the Foundation’s Board at various annual conferences, the latest of which by the Foundation’s Executive Director presenting in October 2017 the vision for advancing healing and well-being through IFS. These and other recordings are posted on the Foundation’s YouTube® Channel.
For previous issues of OUTLOOK, in html and PDF, please visit OULTOOK’s page on our website.
Community members expand the depth and breadth of IFS healing in ever growing ripples around the world. Together, we are achieving the Foundation’s missions. In each of your own ways, you are instrumental in creating positive change. We are forever grateful for everyone’s contributions, whether financial, with volunteer time, or in myriad other ways, large and small. Thank you!
WHY DO YOU DONATE TO THE FOUNDATION?
“For over a decade, I have felt the palpable and permanent healing from complex trauma resulting from my own in-depth IFS sessions. As a certified IFS practitioner, I am blessed to witness others’, often dramatic, healing. To say I believe in the healing possibilities through the Model is an understatement. When I heard about the newly formed Foundation for Self Leadership, five years ago while at an IFS retreat, I could not help but be overjoyed that a nonprofit had been created, independent of CSL and to complement CSL’s efforts, with the mission of disseminating IFS far and wide, expanding IFS research, providing IFS training support to serve marginalized communities, and now bringing IFS into schools. I knew instinctively that I wanted to be part of this important movement. I wanted to be another instrumental ripple creating healing change for the world! Not only do I routinely donate financially (including placing the Foundation in my will) and through many ‘labors of love’, wherever possible I let others know about the Foundation and encourage everyone to do so.
I believe in the Foundation as much as I believe in the possibilities through IFS.”
~ Michelle Glass, certified IFS practitioner, Editor of OUTLOOK, and Donor Stewardship Associate, Eugene, Oregon
What inspires you to donate? Please share your story to OUTLOOK@FoundationIFS.org.
OUTLOOK is an occasional bulletin 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 Publisher and Advisor Toufic Hakim, PhD, and Editor Michelle Glass, who play key roles in its production; Sylvia Miller for layout and graphic design; Grant Leitheiser, LMFT and Joshua Lisojo, MS, for online content; and Kira Freed, MA, LPC; Karen Locke, MA; and Laura Taylor, JD, for proofreading.
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 this form or send general information in a short email to Michelle Glass at OUTLOOK@FoundationIFS.org. We will reach out to you for additional details or specific guidelines. Thank you for your submissions and helping keep our community apprised of IFS-related endeavors.
Editors of OUTLOOK reserve the right to make final decisions regarding content of OUTLOOK.
Founded in the early 1980’s by family therapist and author Richard Schwartz, PhD, Internal Family Systems (IFS) Therapy suggests that the “inner self” is not a single persona but rather a complex system of distinct parts (thoughts, feelings, and beliefs), each with its own viewpoints, desires and agendas.
The main agenda of these parts is to protect us from inner pain generated through developmental and life traumas. The Model rejects psychopathology and posits that there is an undamaged Self with healing attributes that is at the core of each individual, even in the presence of extreme behavior.
The Model continues to generate growing interest among psychotherapists and practitioners outside the realm of psychotherapy, where it promises a myriad of applications simply as a thought process. Thousands of practitioners have been trained in IFS through a rigorous training program, administered by 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 here.
The Foundation for Self Leadership is an independent, not-for-profit 501(c)(3) organization incorporated 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.
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; Director of Research & Clinical Supervisor for IFS Research Studies (2018)
Lester Fagen, MA, JD; Partner in Business Office of Cooley, LLP, U.S.A. (2020)
Toufic Hakim, PhD; Senior Managing Principal, Group i&i Consultancy, U.S.A.; Executive Director; Publisher of OUTLOOK & Media Content (2019)
Pamela Krause, MSW, LCSW, IFS Senior Lead Trainer, in Private Practice, U.S.A. (2019)
Vicki McCoy, MA, President, McCoy Communications and Training, U.S.A. (2020)
Mark Milton; Founding Director, Education 4 Peace, Switzerland (2020)
Daniel Fermin, part-time Financial Controller; Jenn Matheson, PhD, LMFT, Senior Coordinator (Volunteer); Anne Eberhardt, Dipl-Psych, Operational Associate (Volunteer); Kelly Gaule, Development Advisor/Associate; Michelle Glass (Certified IFS Practitioner), Editor of OUTLOOK and Stewardship Associate; Michele Bruce and Ilpa Patel, MPA, part-time Administrative Staff; and Joshua Lisojo, MS, Website Programmer and Developer.
Visit us at www.FoundationIFS.org
Copyright © 2018 Foundation for Self Leadership | P.O. Box 873 | Union, NJ 07083