Introduction to the Internal Family Systems Model by Richard Schwartz covers the basics of the therapeutic model that works with our internal parts. Schwartz developed the model to help us understand our inner workings better and as a way to “be curious” about all of our parts instead of judging and shaming.
This concept of “parts” is not new to any of us. Oftentimes we say, “a part of me wants to go to work and be productive, and a part of me wants to stay in bed all day.” Internally, we have these sometimes conflicting messages. The book and model helps us identify our parts, determine their role as well as how they originated, and allows us to reconnect with our “Self.” The parts that Schwartz describes are our “Exiles” which hold painful emotions; “Firefighters” who act in response to our exiles to “extinguish” and soothe those parts; and our “Managers” who protect us and try to exercise their control. Lastly, we have our “Self” which is made up of who we are at our center and embodying calmness, connection, compassion, courage, curiosity, etc.
This book helps the reader in dipping their toes into this therapeutic model. I am a strong supporter of those interested finding a therapist to help guide them with this process. This book can be helpful for those beginning this work and wanting more knowledge and understanding. The IFS model and information found in this book can be helpful in a variety of mental health areas as well as those who want to understand themselves better.
After reading this book, I am interested in going deeper with this model as it seems to make sense and fits in nicely with other mind and body work that I provide.
Read this book if:
- You are a therapist interested in a quick and light introduction to the model
- Your therapist is trained and using this model with you
- You are interested in learning more about yourself and all of your parts
Schwartz, R. C. (2001). Introduction to the internal family systems model. Oak Park, IL: Trailheads.