Academic journal article American Journal of Psychotherapy

Book Reviews -- Internal Family Systems Therapy by Richard C. Schwartz

Academic journal article American Journal of Psychotherapy

Book Reviews -- Internal Family Systems Therapy by Richard C. Schwartz

Article excerpt

RICHARD C. SCHWARTZ: Internal Family Systems Therapy. The Guilford Press, New York, 1995, 248 pp.

Promising a read of interest, the title Internal Family Systems Therapy conjures up images of Bowenian, transgenerational theories, and Bozormenyi-Nagy's and Sparks' "invisible loyalties." Unfortunately, Dr. Schwartz does not initially define his key concepts in the overlong opening chapters, yet he ultimately presents interesting concepts that can be helpful in conceptualizing mood disorders, the much discussed multiple personality disorder, or the internal mechanisms that influence individual behavior. I am somewhat unclear about Dr. Schwartz's utilization of the term "family" in this volume as he seems to focus more heavily on the individual's "internal systems." It is not until Chapter 6, or halfway through this volume, that the author directly addresses family intervention, despite its featured role in the title.

Schwartz's concept of "parts" is interesting and worthy of consideration when a therapist is exploring the internal forces and conflicts in an individual's struggle to define himself or herself. When the client states that "part of me says...and part of me says...," Schwartz asserts that this individual is describing the multiplicity of internal parts. Each individual, Schwartz asserts, "contains a society of people...," and affirms that we "are all multiple personalities" although not necessarily disordered.

Schwartz's clinical work has apparently focused for some time on the treatment of multiple personalities, sexual abuse victims, and individuals with eating disorders. …

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