Richard Schwartz attended Purdue University, where he received a Ph.D. in Marriage and Family Therapy. He began his professional career at the Institute for Juvenile Research at the University of Illinois and later joined The Family Institute at Northwestern University. He held the position of associate professor at each of the prestigious institutions. During his career, Schwartz encountered many clients who claimed to recognize that they had several components, or parts, to themselves. His clients would describe these as rebellious and troublesome when unattended to and more compliant and obedient to the “Self” when they were acknowledged and their needs were addressed. Out of this realization, Schwartz developed a therapeutic technique called Internal Family Systems (IFS) Therapy.
Schwartz founded an organization in Oak Park, Illinois to provide training on IFS in 2000. The Center for Self Leadership (CSL) offers workshops throughout the world to clinicians and laypeople. Through its website, CSL presents conferences and various resources to those interested in learning IFS. Schwartz is affiliated with several professional journals, is a fellow for the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy, and has published numerous articles and books.
Contribution to Psychology
Internal Family Systems Therapy was developed by Schwartz as a method of helping clients discover the source of healing within themselves. IFS is a non-pathologizing technique that is based on compassion, trust, honesty, and encouragement and invites a client to acknowledge each unique part of themselves and to recognize the strengths and weaknesses within them and how they influence behaviors and emotions. IFS integrates family systems therapy and systems thinking and delivers them through a blended psychotherapy.
In IFS, a client explores how each of their individual parts relates to the Self. The parts each have distinct characteristics, and Schwartz labels them as follows:
IFS has been found to be an effective form of treatment for people with various challenges, in particular those suffering from trauma. IFS is used in group settings, individually, or even applied to couples. IFS is also a valuable resource to clinicians and professionals in educational settings and can be used in mentoring situations and as a method of peer counseling. Those who wish to be trained in IFS can learn the technique through Schwartz’s organization, the Center for Self Leadership.
Dick Schwartz Featured on GoodTherapy.org
Dick Schwartz has presented two CE Web Conferences with GoodTherapy.org, available to clinicians for CE credits:
Books by Richard Schwartz