Dr Richard Schwartz began his professional career as associate professor at the Institute for Juvenile Research at the University of Illinois, before joining the Family Institute at Northwestern University as an associate professor.

Dr Schwartz developed a thereputic technique called Internal Family Systems Therapy (IFS) after working with a number of clients who claimed to recognise that they had several components to themselves. He observed that parts of his clients were often rebellious or troublesome wheen they were unattended, and were more compliant when they were acknowledged and their needs were met.

IFS claims that the consciousness is broken down into several personalities:

  • Managers, who protect and control how a person interacts with the external world
  • Exiles, who experience fear, anxiety or trauma
  • Firefighters, who work to prevent people from experiencing pain

Both Firefighters and Managers attempt to suppress exiles to avoid pain. Firefighters will often attempt to distract exiles by frequently causing them to focus excessively on other pursuits, including unhealthy ones.

In this podcast, Dr Schwartz describes how we can understand ourselves better if we think of our inner conflicts as arguments between these personalities, and that we can assume effective leadership of these parts by compassionately listening to their needs underneath the bluster.

Listen to the Podcast

- Read a transcript of the podcast