Their intense neediness and rage triggers all our own self-protective defenses. In this workshop, we’ll explore methods for treating borderline clients with the Internal Family System model, which explains how people try to protect their most vulnerable and frightened inner “parts” by exiling them to unconsciousness and responding to perceived threats with fury, impulsiveness, and aggression. You’ll learn how this model helps therapists become more aware that their own fearful inner parts are being triggered, and how to make this awareness part of the therapeutic process. By opening yourself up to these feelings without defensiveness--and being open about them with the client--you can access a deeper, calmer, nondefensive, compassionate inner “Self” beneath your own reactivity. The result is openhearted acceptance of yourself and the client, which will send a powerfully depathologizing message, soothe the client, and take the struggle out of therapy.
Richard Schwartz, Ph.D., is director of the Center for Self Leadership and the originator of the Internal Family Systems Model. His books include Internal Family Systems Therapy and, most recently, You Are the One You’ve Been Waiting For.