Religious Studies and Internal Family Systems Therapy
Keywords:Religious Studies, political theology, methodology, family systems
Internal Family Systems (IFS) is a psychotherapy modality that combines elements of systems theory with an experiential approach that rests on distinctions between Self and parts of self. Unlike more cognitive approaches such as Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) and psychodynamic ‘talk’ therapies, IFS challenges traditional divisions between mind and body that have endured in both the treatment of psychological trauma and in the study of religion. This essay provides a summary of IFS as it is conceptualized by Richard Schwartz, Martha Sweezy, and Frank Anderson, and then critically identifies several significant religious resonances in its approach to mediating between a stable ‘Self ’ and parts of self that are partitioned by traumatic or overwhelming experiences. I conclude with the suggestion that the IFS approach to therapy and the discipline of Religious Studies mutually illuminate and challenge each other in their overlapping approaches to the problems of value-neutrality and normativity.
Anderson, Frank. 2020a. "Clinical Applications of Internal Family Systems." Online Training, Leading Edge Seminars. 24 April.
---. 2020b. Online Discussion. 31 March 31.
Anderson, Frank, Martha Sweezy, and Richard C. Anderson. 2017. Internal Family Systems Skills Training Manual: Trauma-Informed Treatment for Anxiety, Depression, PTSD, and Substance Abuse. Eau Claire, WI: Professional Education Systems Institute.
Bielik-Robson, Agata. 2019. Another Finitude: Messianic Vitalism and Philosophy. London: Bloomsbury. https://doi.org/10.5040/9781350094109
Cavanaugh, William T., and Peter Manley Scott, eds. 2019. Wiley-Blackwell Companion to Political Theology. London: Wiley-Blackwell. https://doi.org/10.1002/9781119133759
Engler, Jack. 2013. "An Introduction to IFS." In Internal Family Systems Therapy: New Dimensions, edited by Martha Sweezy and Ellen L. Ziskind, xvii-xxvi. Abingdon: Routledge.
Fitzgerald, Garrett. 2020. "Introduction to Decoloniality and the Study of Religion." Contending Modernities. 24 February. https://contendingmodernities.nd.edu/decoloniality/introdecolonial/
Foucault, Michel. 1997 . "Subjectivity and Truth." In The Politics of Truth., edited by Sylvère Lotringer and Lysa Hochroth, 171-198. Brooklyn, NY: Semiotexte.
Geertz, Clifford. 1973. "Thick Description: Toward an Interpretive Theory of Culture." In The Interpretation of Cultures, 3-31. New York: Basic Books.
Glass, Michelle. 2017. Daily Parts Meditation Practice: A Journey of Embodied Integration for Clients and Therapists. Self-Published.
Jaeggi, Rahel. 2018. Critique of Forms of Life. Translated by Ciaran Cronin. Cambridge, MA: Belknap. https://doi.org/10.4159/9780674988712
King, Richard. 2017. "Preface" in Richard King, ed., Theory, Religion, Critique: Classic and Contemporary Approaches and Methodologies. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Kroeker, Travis. 2017. Messianic Political Theology and Diaspora Ethics: Essays in Exile. Eugene, OR: Cascade.
Meier, Heinrich. 2006. Was ist Politische Theologie? / What is Political Theology? München: Carl Friedrich von Siemens Stiftung.
Minor, Amanda J. 2016. "Internal Family Systems Model." In The SAGE Encyclopedia of Marriage, Family, and Couples Counseling, edited by Jon Carlson and Shannon B. Dermer. London: Sage. https://sk.sagepub.com/reference/the-sage-encyclopedia-of-marriage-family-couples-counseling/i6936.xml
Rosario Rodríguez, Rubén, ed. 2020. T&T Clark Handbook of Political Theology. London: T&T Clark. https://doi.org/10.5040/9780567670427
Schwartz, Richard C. 2001. Introduction to the Internal Family Systems Model. Oak Park, Illinois: Trailheads.
---. 2013. "The Therapist-Client Relationship and the Transformative Power of Self." In Internal Family Systems Therapy: New Dimensions, edited by Martha Sweezy and Ellen L. Ziskind, 1-23. Abingdon: Routledge.
Schwartz, Richard C. and Martha Sweezy. 2020. Internal Family Systems Therapy. New York: Guilford.
Smith, J. Z. 1998. "Religion, Religions, Religious," In Critical Terms for Religious Studies, edited by Mark C. Taylor, 269-284. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.