Opening Doors Episode 4: Internal Family Systems Model with Richard Schwartz

In our latest episode of Opening Doors with Ross Guttler, Ross dives deep into discovering his true authentic self with Richard Schwartz, the creator of The Internal Family Systems Model (IFS).

IFS is an evidenced-based integrative approach to psychotherapy that combines Family Systems Theory with the idea that each individual possesses a number of sub-personalities or “parts.” By learning how these different parts function and interact, Ross will learn to bring these different “parts” into balance and gain a better understanding of his “true self.”

“Two of my close friends have recently started seeing IFS therapists so I’ve been curious to experience it firsthand. Although Dr. Schwartz created the IFS model almost 40 years ago, it’s recently grown in popularity and now I understand why. When asked for his thoughts on its ascension, Richard shared that the psychedelic movement’s focus on ego dissolution possibilities aligns nicely with the many “parts” in Internal Family Systems. Similar to a hallucination, I found my session with Richard allowed me to inhabit multiple perspectives (parts) that collectively influence and determine how I feel at any given time. I was able to have a loving and understanding conversation between a part I called “Popular Guy” and another part that was a baby who just wanted to be fly on the wall. That conversation was mediated in a way by my collective ego, or I guess what I think of as “me.”

If this makes sense to you, I welcome you to watch our video and take a class with Richard. In fact, even if this doesn’t make much sense, I’d still recommend it. I found it to be such a beautiful blend of psychology and spirituality, because it’s my spiritual practice that allowed me to inhabit the different parts so easily. I look forward to learning more from Richard in time and using this approach to have greater understanding, compassion and healing for prior events that influence me still today.”
– Ross Guttler

Special Guest:
Richard Schwartz, PhD

Richard Schwartz, PhD, began his career as a family therapist and an academic at the University of Illinois at Chicago. There he discovered that family therapy alone did not achieve full symptom relief and in asking patients why, he learned that they were plagued by what they called “parts.”


Opening Doors is not your standard interview show.

Have you ever wondered how Amazonian indigenous cultures treat the common flu? Have you ever considered hypnotherapy to quit a nasty habit? Have you thought what else might be out there to help you disconnect from a technology-addicted society and reconnect with plants, animals and the earth?

Opening Doors with Ross Guttler, The Open Center’s CEO, is an experiential program with a range of inspiring expert guests who will lead Ross on a journey of discovery.

The Open Center, the longest-running urban holistic center in the nation, has been opening doors for the people of NYC and beyond for over 37 years. Each episode, join Ross for digestible, door-opening curiosity and fun as he seeks to understand–with authenticity–the many paths, practices and traditions that are at the heart of The Open Center’s programming.

Feeding his own insatiable appetite for learning and trying new things, Ross is sure to motivate and move you to approach your own life with a deep curiosity. Tune in and join us. Keep up with what else Ross is learning on Instagram: @rossguttler, and browse other Opening Doors episodes here.

Ross Guttler is Chief Executive Officer of The Open Center. Throughout his time with The Open Center, Guttler has led the evolution of a four decade-old New York City institution into a global changemaker with an engaged audience from more than 180 countries. After a career in wellness real estate, exploring how the built environment makes us healthier, happier, kinder and more creative, Ross found his calling at The Open Center, where wisdom traditions and spiritual practices, balanced with modern-day medical and behavioral science, art and sound, are used to help us live more harmoniously with ourselves, each other and the earth. MORE

*Featured Door Image Photo Credit: Ross Guttler.

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