Richard C. Schwartz, Ph.D. - The Founder of Internal Family Systems

Richard Schwartz began his career as a systemic family therapist and an academic. Grounded in systems thinking, Dr. Schwartz developed Internal Family Systems (IFS) in response to clients’ descriptions of various parts within themselves. He focused on the relationships among these parts and noticed that there were systemic patterns to the way they were organized across clients. He also found that when the clients’ parts felt safe and were allowed to relax, the clients would experience spontaneously the qualities of confidence, openness, and compassion that Dr. Schwartz came to call the Self. He found that when in that state of Self, clients would know how to heal their parts.

A featured speaker for national professional organizations, Dr. Schwartz has published many books and over fifty articles about IFS.


Richard Schwartz Appearances

Trauma and the Internal Family Systems Model: Releasing Personal and Legacy Burdens


Therapy Training Boston - Richard C. Schwartz, PhD


Live on Zoom 


Friday, March 18, 2022: 10:00 am to 5:30 pm
Saturday, March 19, 2022:10:00 am to 5:45 pm


This presentation will provide a brief review of the basics of the IFS model by Richard Schwartz, PhD, who developed the model, then will focus in detail on its use with attachment injuries and trauma related presenting problems. IFS is a non-pathologizing, hopeful framework within which to practice psychotherapy certified as an evidence-based practice by SAMHSA. IFS offers both a conceptual umbrella under which a variety of practices and different approaches can be grounded and guided, and a set of original techniques for creating safety and fostering Self-to-Self connection in individuals, couples, and families. The model posits that people have a core Self that is unharmed by traumatic events. The path to healing in the IFS model is to facilitate a process that releases constraints to people living a life that is led by their core Self rather than from aspects of themselves, called parts, that act from reactive and defensive stances, causing further problems in an effort to help or protect. 

Grounded in systems thinking, Dr. Schwartz developed Internal Family Systems, in response to clients’ descriptions of various parts within themselves.  He focused on the systemic relationships patterns among these parts that were similarly organized across clients.  He found that when clients’ parts felt safe and were allowed to relax, they would experience spontaneously the qualities of confidence, openness, and compassion that Dr. Schwartz came to call the Self.  He will show us how to support clients in that state of Self, to facilitate their healing of their own parts.

The first day of the workshop will focus on helping clients release personal burdens related to traumatic experiences in their lives. An overview of the clinical applications of IFS in trauma work will be presented. You will learn through didactic teaching, interactive dialogue, demonstration, and live interviews. 

During the second day, the focus will be on understanding and releasing legacy burdens. Legacy burdens are powerful organizers of our minds and behaviors. Dr. Schwartz will teach about the beliefs and emotions we and our clients absorb from family, peers, ethnic groups and cultural contexts regarding ourselves and/or groups with whom we identify, as well as groups we consider “other.”  We will explore the sources of those burdens and the fears of releasing them. This work is critically important to create more peace and less divisiveness in our often-fractured world. Through the concept of legacy burdens and the path to healing them, Dr. Schwartz will posit a way of understanding ethnic, racial and other differences related to intersecting identities that create paths to a more ethical and just approaches to working across differences between and among the people with whom we work.

Dr. Schwartz will discuss contraindications to using IFS therapy as well as the ways the model can and cannot be easily integrated with other approaches to trauma work. He will discuss current research on the model including limitations of the data and needs for further study.

Statement of Need: Prior to the pandemic there was a greater need for trauma trained mental health professionals than there were clinicians available. Currently, we are living in a time of significant added stress, trauma, complicated grief, and uncertainty. IFS is a model that was developed as an intervention to support clients with dangerous trauma reactive behaviors who were not responding well to traditional methods. This two-day workshop will provide clinicians working with a wide range of clients and traumatic reactions many concepts and methods to enhance their capacity to serve this population. 


Individual Registration: $350, Regular rate:$370.
Early registration deadline is January 31, 2022. 
NEAFAST members may access a discounted rate of $330.

Black Therapists Rock, National Association of Black Counselors and all BIPOC clinicians may access an equity rate of $280. 

Contact Therapy Training Boston for discount codes. No application required. 

Intro to Internal Family Systems: Healing Trauma and Restoring Wholeness


Dr. Richard C. Schwartz


The Art of Living Retreat Center

639 Whispering Hills Road
Boone, NC 28607


April 8–10, 2022

Subject to change.

Friday 7:30–9:00 pm
Saturday 9:00–11:00 am and 2:00–4:00 pm
Sunday 9:00–11:00 am Room checkout is 11:00 am; luggage may be held at Reception.


Join IFS founder Dr. Richard Schwartz, to learn the transformative therapy model that offers breakthrough healing of trauma, anxiety, depression, addiction, eating disorders, and more.

In this program, you’ll discover the power of IFS through lecture and discussion, real-life videos and case examples, and experiential exercises.

You’ll emerge from the program understanding the basic theory and principles of IFS therapy and be able to

  • Identify the effects of trauma on parts and Self
  • Access your client’s Self—a core of compassion and other leadership qualities
  • Manage client “resistance” more effectively
  • Teach your clients awareness of their own parts and how these parts impact therapy
  • Help clients release personal burdens related to traumatic experiences.

Come explore how trauma can be addressed by creating space for compassion and curiosity, with the evidence-based psychotherapy of Internal Family Systems.

Approved for 8.5 IFS CEs 


Tuition: $350