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
***Restorative Yoga for Families is suspended currently***
Beginning February 1, 2018, Katie will offer 60-minute Restorative Yoga classes for parents and children/teens conveniently located near Park Road Shopping Center at Innergy Works.
This class focuses on relaxing the body and mind, enhancing attachment and connection, and developing healthy coping skills. Inspired by Bessel Van Der Kolk’s book, “The Body Keeps the Score”, Katie has many years of experience with Restorative Yoga and integrating the mind and body for overall wellness.
It Didn’t Start With You: How Inherited Family Trauma Shapes Who We Are and How to End the Cycle is a book that explores this concept of epigenetics and how we may carry our ancestors stressors and traumas in our genes. The book does a good job of explaining how this happens and provides some examples. I thought some of the examples seemed a bit “out of this world” and unimaginable but interesting. I think this phenomenon plays out more in the not so obvious ways the book provided. When we start digging deeper in our family history, we are bound to find stressors that play out in our lives as they are our own. The book uses “core language,” “core complaint,” “core sentence,” and “core trauma” development to help the reader discover their greatest fears and help possibly connect to an ancestor who had a similar experience.
“When entangled, you unconsciously carry the feelings, symptoms, behaviors, or hardships of an earlier member of your family system as if these were your own.”
Many chapters including the “core” ones have writing exercises to help with discovery and ways to process well as release our stressors and traumas. I believe the writing exercises are beneficial and give the reader ways to work through what they have found. The author goes into areas that are traumatic that we may overlook including in utero and early childhood attachment issues.
Overall, the book was intriguing for me personally as a therapist as it provides another avenue for self-discovery as well as understanding possible reasons why we struggle with what we struggle with. I would suggest having the support of a mental health professional while diving into these topics.
Read this book if:
You are interested in epigenetics
Believe your ancestors may provide more insight into your own struggles
A mental health professional and want to help your clients dive deeper into their past
A study was done recently that reported 40% of dads who spank their 1 year olds are depressed. This brings light to a relatively new concept; post partum depression in dads. It is reported that more dads are feeling low after the birth of their child because of unemployment rates and increased time at home. More fathers are stay at home dads who are feeling the pressures stay at home moms have felt for decades.
More pediatricians are screening fathers for signs of depression when they bring their baby in for check ups. Researchers also found that fewer dads are reading to their children which decreases bonding. Researchers expressed concern over dads spanking children 1 year of age because of the increased chance of injury and that these children are less likely to form the connection between their behavior and the spanking.
Many moms are reluctant to admit feelings of post partum depression and dads are even less likely to report. Post partum depression affects about 25% of women. Researchers and pediatricians recommend mental health services to new parents who report having these feelings.