Eventide Counseling

50 Nashua Rd, Suite 205

Londonderry, NH. 03053


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Signs of Child Sexual Abuse


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IFS Therapy


Connie Robillard is trained as an Internal Family Systems Therapist.

The Internal Family Systems model is a psychotherapeutic approach developed by Richard Schwartz, PhD. Richard Swartz studied Internal Family Systems which is an approach used as an effective approach to family therapy.  As he listened to clients talk about parts of them he began to use this model of treatment to help clients.

All of us have said things like, “Part of me wants to and another part of me doesn’t.” Sometimes a part of us takes over. We find ourselves saying and doing things that seem out of our control.

We may have watched as we became angry, actually told ourselves to stop, but our angry part took over and ran away with us.

Parts are often polarized and at war with one another. At times we may feel confused, fearful, or alienated from our self and others.


Self Leadership:

The goal of IFS therapy is to differentiate between the Self from the parts our wise true Self to be in charge of our life.

Information From The Center For Self Leadership Website:

{What are the circumstances that force these parts into extreme and sometimes destructive roles? Trauma is one factor and the effects of childhood sexual abuse on internal families has been discussed at length (Goulding and Schwartz, 1995). But more often, it is a person's family values and interaction patterns that create internal polarizations which escalate over time and are played out in other relationships. This, also, is not a novel observation; indeed it is a central tenet of object relations and self psychology. What is novel to IFS is the attempt to understand all levels of human organization -- intrapsychic, family and culture -- with the same systemic principles, and to intervene at each level with the same ecological techniques.


Managers, Firefighters and Exiles

Are there common roles for parts across people? After working with a large number of clients, some patterns began to appear. Most clients had parts that tried to keep them functional and safe -- tried to maintain control of their inner and outer environments by, for example, keeping them from getting too close, or dependent on others, criticizing their appearance or performance to make them look or act better, and focusing on taking care of others' rather than on their own needs. These parts seemed to be in protective, managerial roles and therefore are called the "managers."

Where a person has been hurt, humiliated, frightened or shamed in their past, they will have parts that carry the emotions, memories and sensations from those experiences. Managers often want to keep those feelings out of consciousness and, consequently, try to keep these vulnerable and needy parts locked in inner closets. Those incarcerated parts are known as the "exiles." The third and final group of parts clicks into action whenever one of the exiles is upset to the point that it may flood the person with its extreme feelings or makes the person vulnerable to being hurt again. When that is the case, this third group tries to put out the inner flames of feeling as quickly as possible, which earns them the name "firefighters." They tend to be highly impulsive and drive to find stimulation that will override or dissociate from the exile's feelings. Bingeing on drugs, alcohol, food, sex, or work, are common firefighter activities.


The Self:

There is one other key aspect of the IFS Model that also differentiates it from other models. This is the belief that, in addition to these parts, everyone is at their core a Self that contains many crucial leadership qualities like perspective, confidence, compassion and acceptance. Working with hundreds of clients for more than a decade, some of whom were severely abused and show severe symptoms, has convinced me that everyone has this healthy and healing Self despite the fact that many people have very little access to it initially. When working with an individual, the goal of IFS is to differentiate this Self from the parts, thereby releasing its resources, and then in the state of Self, to help parts out of their extreme roles.}


If you are interested in learning more about IFS therapy  – you can find information on the web by searching for "Internal Family Systems Therapy", "Richard Swartz" or the Center for Self Leadership – Website: www.selfleadership.org.

To make an appointment call 603-432-0581



NH Counseling Association


Certified IFS Therapists

Licensed Clinical Mental Health Counselors


Connie Robillard, MA


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