Robert Falconer has an undergraduate degree in cultural anthropology, with a focus on the history of religions.In the early 1980s he pursued his masters degree in psychology while balancing a career in construction and real estate investment.When Robert started as a therapist, he focused on the work of Milton Erickson and hypnotherapy. He then moved into working with Jack and Helen Watkins; who developed ego state therapy. In his career as a therapist, Robert spent considerable time at the Esalen Institute and decades involved in gestalt therapy. Robert has been familiar with IFS therapy for 20 years, but completely devoted himself to the model for the last 10 years.

Robert was one of the first men to speak publicly about being sexually abused as a child, and for many years he worked primarily with men with a similar trauma history. Now he works with people learning IFS. Most recently Robert co-authored with Dick Schwartz a book entitled “Many Minds, One Self:evidence for a radical shift in paradigm“

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This is IFS Talks, an audio series to deepen connection with the Internal Family Systems model through conversations with lead trainers, authors, practitioners and users.

Today on IFS Talks, we're speaking with Robert Falconer. Robert Falconer has an undergraduate degree in cultural anthropology with a focus on the history of religions. In the early 1980s, he pursued his master’s degree in Psychology while balancing a career in construction and real estate investment. When Bob started as a therapist, he focused on the work of Milton Erickson and hypnotherapy. He then moved into working with Jack and Helen Watkins, who developed Ego State Therapy. In his career as a therapist, Bob spent considerable time at the Esalen Institute and decades involved in Gestalt therapy. Robert has been familiar with IFS for over 20 years, but completely devoted himself to the model for the last 10. For more than a decade, he was the director of the Institute for Trauma Oriented Psychotherapy. Bob was also one of the first men to speak publicly about being sexually abused as a child. And for many years he primarily worked with men with a similar trauma history. Now he works with people learning IFS. He has published six books, co-edited four, and most recently co-authored one with Dick Schwartz, entitled Many Minds One Self. Bob, thank you so much for being with us here today on IFS Talks. It's a privilege. 

Robert Falconer: Oh, thank you. I'm delighted you invited me. I really enjoyed your other talks online, I think you're doing a real, real service to the community. 

Aníbal Henriques: Thank you, Robert. Thank you so much. How is it for you, Bob, to hear this bio. What parts come up?

Bob: "Who, me is that me?" So, there's some of...I Know a lot of people with trauma histories have this...Sometimes we call it the imposter syndrome. Ernie Rossi, a great therapist and researcher, when he was getting his third Ph.D., what occurred to him when they handed him the diploma was, I fooled them again. And somehow people, maybe especially men who were molested as children, no matter what happens in the outside world, they feel like they're fake. So, there was a little, a little echo of that, but not painful at all as you read that biography. You know, there's still that "Who me?".

Aníbal: Yes, it's still there, it’s still there, who me.

Bob: Yes.

Aníbal: It comes from those parts of yours that still carry some burdens. Yes, of course.

Bob: Yes. And since we're going to focus today a lot on men who were sexually abused as children, I think I just sort of like to launch and talk about what my own history was like...

Aníbal: Good.

Bob: As we get further along, why IFS has been so important to me.

Aníbal: Wonderful.

Bob: I was raised in New York City in what from the outside was a churchgoing upper middle-class family, but from my earliest memories, my father was sadistically raping and abusing me and my older brother. He had some of his gay lovers who were also child molesters, living in the house with the family throughout my childhood. Sometimes one, sometimes more, they also abused me. Mom was institutionalized a few times for mental illness, and she also sexually abused me. My brother committed suicide, or let me be more precise, died in a probably suicidal accident when we were teenagers.

Aníbal: Ok.

Bob: And he had also, at one point, turned on me. I was the youngest brother. He was given the opportunity, he could sort of join the other men and start abusing me or he could stay being one of the abused. And he took that opportunity. I would have taken that opportunity to if it had been offered to me, I was actually jealous that he was offered that opportunity. And because of knowing that about myself, it's allowed me to be compassionate with sex offenders and to work with them.

Aníbal: Make sense, yes.

Bob: So, he committed suicide when we were teenagers. A few years later, when I was 21, my father was murdered in an unsolved crime. There was money in his pocket, so it wasn't a robbery. The police said it was probably about a woman, but he would have sex with anything, but women were not high on his list. I imagine he was molesting the wrong person's children. As you can imagine, I was sort of a mess coming out of a family like this.

Aníbal: Yes, how do you survive extreme events like you have been through as losing a brother to suicide, right?

Bob: Well, I think...Sometimes I joke there were angels in my life, but I'm not so sure how much of a joke that is anymore.

Aníbal: And also, you lost your father to murder.

Bob: Yes, I was, you know, actually I was quite happy when he was murdered.

Aníbal: A part of you.

Bob: And I was ashamed because when I got the news, I was teaching at a high school and the headmaster took me into his office and said "You know, your father's been murdered." And I cried. And I hated that man so much that I was ashamed that I cried. You know, but it's a very natural human reaction, and I think it's actually proof that something clean and good in me had not died.

Aníbal: Beautiful, yes.

Tisha: So, there's a lot of painful experiences that you went through and adjusted to and I was thinking, just reading your bio, where the trauma was and where these parts were, as you were, you know, maybe working in construction and real estate development. And how did that all live in you in the early days?

Bob: Oh, it was buried.

Tisha: I was wondering, yes.

Bob: I was tough. I was totally independent. I didn't need anybody else on the planet. When I was in high school, I drank way too much. And was a binge drinker. And in college, I started doing LSD, and that made me hate alcohol, So, ironically, I quit drinking entirely for many years, which was...My father was also an alcoholic and mom was also probably an alcoholic and definitely a prescription pill addict. So, in the early years, I worked very hard. I was a very active athlete. I played competitive tennis. I would work hard all day, play tennis, have some pot, maybe, have a glass or two of wine, and I could sleep through the night, maybe. Sleep has always been an incredible issue for me as it is for most survivors. For most of my life, I would have nightmares so bad that I would sweat through many shirts, many T-shirts, I had to have three or four to change and I'd wake up screaming and throw the covers around. I just thought everybody was like this. I didn't know this was some weird thing that people thought was very odd.

Tisha: Was there something that happened that began to unlock the buried trauma?

Bob: Oh, Yes. Like I was saying, I was very active physically and very aggressive. And, you know, the construction world, they encourage you to be crude.

Aníbal: Yes.

Bob: You know, with the way we said good morning to each other at a job site would get you thrown out of a training. Very different worlds. I had a back injury. And overnight, I couldn't do the heavy construction work, I couldn't play tennis and I lost all my friends because they were all tennis people or construction people.

Aníbal: Oh, huge loss.

Bob: And I'd thought, you know, I thought I'd done a lot of work. You know, I studied Jung a lot and done all this other stuff. But when that happened, it broke open all the trauma and all these parts came rushing out. If somebody had told me that was one of the great blessings of my life at the time, I would have tried to strangle them. And it was one of the great blessings of my life. And it's really unfortunate that our blessings have to be so well disguised.

This one rabbi said. That you have to give thanks for everything, because we're too dumb to tell the blessings from the curses. My father was also the deacon and trustee of a big Presbyterian church. Besides being a businessman, So, I did not go into a church of any kind for more than twenty-five years, and the first time I tried to go into a church, I nearly vomited. I became physically nauseous. I don't think people heal from this kind of extreme trauma without some kind of spiritual connection, and I think that's one reason why the abuse by priests is so poisonous to people, because it prevents them from going back to the well where they can find the deep healing.

Aníbal: Yes, makes sense. 

Bob: So, you know, I'd done therapy. I thought I knew my inner world, but I'd been fooling myself. And with that back injury, it really started opening up. I found a good therapist here. You know, Santa Cruz, when I started this stuff, no therapy schools recognized child abuse as a major factor in trauma. None. In the late 1960s, there was a major textbook for psychiatrists that said incest is vanishingly rare, less than one in a million cases and when it happens it's often good for the children.

Aníbal: Oh, my God, that was the 60s?

Aníbal: That's like 1968, I think. So, we have come a very, very long ways.

Bob: Yes. Santa Cruz happens to be the place where Ellen Bass and Laurie Davis lived, and they wrote The Courage to Heal. She's a writing teacher and a lot of the women she was helping write wrote about being abused as a child. And they said, I've never told anyone. And then there was this place here in town called the Survivors Healing Center, that was founded by a couple of local therapists who worked with child sexual abuse and it was a storefront operation with no money. And they were the pioneers. And all the schools, and all the experts and all the big shots thought they were nuts, you know. So, for me there was almost a crusading attitude of, "hey, it's time to tell the truth."

Aníbal: It's time to tell the truth. Bob, you have joined the 1 in 6 movement.

Bob: Yes, I have. They came much later.

Aníbal: That much later. Do you want to explain what is the mission and the purpose of this platform?

Bob: Ok, yes. The current estimates, and I believe the world expert on statistics on child sexual abuse is a man with the name of David Finkelhor at the University of New Hampshire. So, I usually rely on his statistics. I think he's the best that's out there. He says it's about one in three women are sexually abused before the age of 18 and about one in six men. I think the numbers are much closer. I just think we men lie about it a lot more.

Aníbal: And why is so?

Bob: Well, I think for men, there's tremendous shame for any survivor, but for a man to stand up and say "I was raped" is even harder, I think, than for a woman. There's a lot of, you know, the shame is tremendous. It's very, very hard for a man to admit something like that. Anyway, so, many years later, there was an organization called One in Six that was founded that was specifically to work with men who were sexually abused and to invite people to publicly say they were sexually abused and be photographed and sometimes give video interviews and tell other men it's ok to say this publicly. But that was...I don't think that started until 20 years later.

I was on the board of directors of the Survivors Healing Center for a long time and worked with other non-profits. So, the kind of work I was doing early when I was working with my own abuse was a local therapist who had developed her own method. It was very much parts work. She didn't call them parts. She called them the insiders.

Aníbal: The insiders.

Bob: Which I still, it's a name I use, So, it was very much parts work, not as sophisticated as IFS, I don't think, but I worked with her. I still see her every once in a while. She's retired and, you know, but I still see her some. And I was so fortunate to find a sympathetic therapist that long ago.

Aníbal: That finally validated your experience or could also work with it?

Bob: Yes, could also work it and knew about parts and knew about parts who hid and exiles and protectors, even though she didn't use that language at all.

Aníbal: At the time you were in your 30s or...?

Bob: Yes, 30's, early 40's. But I was already seeing a few clients. And back then, I wrote a book under a pseudonym called A Man's Recovery from Traumatic Child Abuse, which described my own recovery in detail. And I did not want my clients knowing all the details of sadistic sexual abuse that I went through. And I think that book is still in print, I'm not sure. I used the pseudonym Robert Blackburn Knight. So, I did that, and I worked with Jack and Helen Watkins, the Ego state people, I got to know them, and they used to come down to San Francisco Bay Area and I went up to where they lived in Montana. And Ego state therapy is very much like IFS. The one thing that's quite different is they explicitly use hypnosis to access the inner states, which, as you know, Dick doesn't.

Aníbal: Dick doesn't, yes.

Bob: But, you know, if you watch people, when Dick works with someone, when he asks them to go inside, they enter an altered state of consciousness and they are profoundly altered. And Dick doesn't like discussing altered states of consciousness and I think he has good reasons for that.

Tisha: It sounds like for you, your experience with the Watkins was a valuable part of your healing process and learning process.

Bob: Very valuable. And I worked a lot with Milton Erickson and his work, not directly with him, but with his eldest daughter, Carol Erickson was a major force in my life. And they very much, you know...So, I was very familiar with all the hypnotic research, and so I came from that sort of altered state paradigm. And I actually like Dick's way much better of just asking people go inside, who's there. And they enter this other world, this inner world, without any folderol or special invitation, the other stuff now seems to me quite unnecessary.

Tisha: Were there exiles that you approached through hypnosis that you might not have met through IFS?

Bob: Good question. I don't know. What I did early on, and a lot of people did this early on in the trauma field that was a major mistake is I would use hypnosis. Hypnosis is a powerful tool to push past the protectors, batter down the walls and get to what I thought was the meat, you know, the intense trauma, memories and all this, you know, the terror and the pain. And I just went for that. And the model was abreaction catharsis kind of model.

Tisha: Yes.

Bob: And it worked, but it caused tremendous pain and distress. And after a session like that, there'd be a huge backlash and self-hate and loathing and internal civil war and all the things that Dick's more sophisticated, gentle model avoids.

Tisha: Yes. You overrule the protectors and then probably a lot of backlash, a lot of firefighter activity.

Bob: They were not happy, to put it mildly. 

Aníbal: So, Bob, when did you get across with IFS?

Bob: Well, I was trying to figure that out, and is actually in the bibliography of that book I just referred to that I wrote back in the early 90s or mid 90s, but I didn't really get serious, you know. I was so tied into the Gestalt community at Esalen, which is I live quite close to Esalen. So, I've been there more than one hundred and twenty times.

Aníbal: Wow.

Bob: And I knew all the Gestalt people. I was so tied in there, I wouldn't let go of that. It took a lot for me to realize, hey, this IFS stuff is a lot better. And quite similar to Gestalt in many ways, but better and stronger.

Aníbal: So, to you, IFS offers a very powerful way to let go of the shame and self-blame that every sexual abuse survivor feels.

Bob: Yes, and one of the great blessings of it is this knowledge that I see IFS, there's lots of ways to describe the therapy process, but one I really like is first you go to protectors, but not expecting them to change at all. All you're trying to do is get their permission. Once you have their permission to go to the exiles, you can go to the exiles, do the witnessing, retrieval, unburdening. Then you go back to the protectors and ask them to change. That simple, simple seeming model takes so much of the suffering and difficulty out of therapy for extreme abuse survivors, that the therapy no longer is this incredible battle.

Aníbal: So, Bob, what parts come up in IFS sexual abuse treatment when you sit with someone? And we all sit, even if we don't know, very often with people that I can see, they have some sexual issue and abuse in his past or her past, but not often they share. They know it. But for you, once you have an already long experience with sexual victims of abuse, what parts emerge in IFS sexual abuse treatment?

Bob: Well, there's huge protectors, huge ones. Self-hatred, self-loathing. Incredible amounts of self-hatred. And then there are the terrified exiles who were back there being abused, and very often the self-loathing protectors are doing everything they possibly can do to keep those exiles locked in the basement. And they will. If they think the therapist is attacking this or trying to open the basement door, they'll attacked the therapist, you know. And rightly so. They think this is how to save the person's life. So, that's why this three-stage model is so important of getting permission from these protectors, and they're often or they used to be for me, hard to be compassionate with. Because you see this part that's absolutely despising your client and trying to destroy him or....

Aníbal: Ok.

Bob: Here's a vivid example. I use this example a lot because we have to ask every client. It's really bad to assume anything. A lot of times, for instance, I'll have an intuition this person was abused. I don't go with that. I never say that to a client. And I don't take those assumptions for real.

Aníbal: Good.

Bob: So, I had this male client who was a severe cutter, you know. Self-mutilation. And he cut on the trunk on his stomach and chest.

Aníbal: Wow.

Bob: And one time he had cut himself so badly, hundreds of cuts, that he was in the hospital from blood loss. And I thought "oh, I know what this is about,", you know, if he causes physical pain, it will stop the emotional pain. And, you know, I sort of went in there, a little arrogant. I didn't go into the hospital. I dealt with him by phone saying, you know, just sort of thinking I knew what was going on. And he said "Oh, no, Bob, that's not why I do that. It was my mom who abused me, and my skin liked her touch. I hate my skin."

Aníbal: Ok, complex.

Bob: I never would have guessed that in a million years.

Aníbal: No.

Bob: And this guy was kind enough not to fire me as his therapist. For being arrogant and thinking I knew what was going on in him.

Aníbal: Always learning.

Bob: Boy, has he been a good teacher, you know?

Tisha: Right. I guess we need to maintain our curiosity all the time and not make any foregone conclusions.

Bob: Even on ones you think are, you know, drop dead simple. We know why they do this. No, we don't. And one of the things Dick says that I like a lot is: Don't think, just ask.

Aníbal: Yes, just ask.

Bob: That's one of the little sayings I have going around in the back of my head often when I'm doing therapy.

Aníbal: Don't think.

Bob: Don't think. Just ask. Don't think, just ask. The other ones I have going around the back of my head are WAIT, why am I talking.

Aníbal: WAIT, precious one.

Bob: Because I should be listening. And when I'm really bad with the WAIT, when I'm running my mouth too much, I go to WAIST, why am I still talking?

Aníbal: Well done Bob.

Bob: So, those are the slogans I often have running in my head.

Aníbal: Bob, I'd like to quote Nancy Wonder, colleague of ours, an IFS colleague, and she's telling us about how sexual abuse impacts our system. And she's saying "Most child sexual abuse victims don't trust other people, especially those with an incest history, it's hard for them. The research shows that incest survivors have difficulty with relationships, they have trouble regulating their emotions and relationships, they even avoid intimacy. A lot of sexual abuse victims avoid things in general. Some also develop sexual parts that develop sexual abuse and other clients also avoid sex at all. And finally, most people who have had any kind of sexual abuse have a difficult time just staying present with sexual partners.

Bob: Yeah, I think that's all true.

Aníbal: That's all true. It's devastating. Yes, it can be devastating.

Bob: And, you know, I think sexual abuse survivors tend to go in two directions, they don't have a sort of normal attitude toward sexuality, they either become totally hypersexual and try and have sex all over the place with as many partners as possible. Or they become sexually anorexic. It's very much parallel to eating disorders. You know, sort of binge purge or someone who horrendously overeats versus someone who's starving themselves to death, sexual abuse survivors are very much like that with sexuality.

I want to mention one other person I haven't mentioned yet who's incredibly helpful, and that's Pia Mellody. She was an RN, not a regular therapist, and she's a 12 step self-identified alcoholic. And she worked a great deal with survivors of sexual abuse. And the system she developed was very, very similar to IFS. She talked about the wounded inner child, which would be our exiles, and then she talked about the adult adapted wounded child, which would be our protectors.

Aníbal: Ok.

Bob: And she knew how to work back and forth between them. And she did all this inner framework of 12 step addictions treatment, and I think that's one area where IFS really could grow a lot. We really could partner with the 12-step community much more effectively than we're doing, because I think they actually fit together very, very well.

Bob: There's also that spiritual element there. That's a really profound aspect of healing that's known in the 12 step and similar to Self-energy.

Tisha: I'm so glad you brought that up, because that's something I didn't want to forget to talk about. One of the things that's so moved me about IFS and was so important...Dick said Self can never be damaged, no matter what happened to you, it can't even be dirtied. The message I had got most of my life from all of the, quote, experts, the best you can hope for is sort of a nasty little life and you probably should be on meds and don't expect much of anything. You're messed up. Too bad, it happened, you're crippled.

Aníbal: No hope.

Bob: Dick said “No, no. Self cannot be touched, it can't be damaged no matter what happened.” That was so powerful for me. And that is so powerful for abuse survivors. I'm not really in the trenches anymore. I spent almost all my time training therapists and helping people learn IFS, but I have one guy who's still really in the trenches. This guy was badly sexually abused. And then became a hunter when he was in his early teenage years, killing animals. Then started torturing the animals and then started having sex with them while he was torturing them to death.

Aníbal: Wow.

Bob: This man tested the limits of my compassion. But I've come to love him deeply, and this man hated himself more than I have ever seen anybody hate themselves. For him, this message that you have something in you that cannot be destroyed, it cannot even be dirtied, I think was lifesaving.

Aníbal: Wow.

Tisha: Yes, it counters those deeply held beliefs of being broken.

Bob: Yeah. And all the attachments studies, I think, are so poisonous for people. I think they're misinterpreted. People who say, oh, if you don't get it, by the time you're four or something...

Aníbal: You're lost.

Bob: You're hopeless. That is so wrong. So wrong.

Tisha: You've experienced that personally and worked with people who have countered that.

Bob: Yes. In some ways, I'm still a mess, but I think I've led a life that helps a lot of people and I'm happier. I'm in my early 70s and I'm happier now than I've ever been.

Aníbal: Wow, beautiful.

Bob: And more joyous and more full of love. I want to mention one other thing, it just came up. The image of Self being undestroyed for me is like a stormy day, no matter how bad the storm is, the sun is not affected, you know. Not at all. There could be floods and your house is blown down and all this happens, the sun is still there, not even dirty, nothing happened.

Aníbal: Beautiful idea.

Bob: So, that's the daylight image of Self. I also think there's a night sky image that's really important to me, that if you look at the night sky and just pick one little area of it, it could be just black, you know, nothing. You get a binoculars, you might see a couple of dim stars, you get a good telescope, you see a few more stars. You get a really good telescope, you can see stars and galaxies and you actually can see back in time, almost to the beginning, the big bang of the universe. I think that's what more advanced IFS work is like. You don't come to an end point of "oh, I got this now." It just opens up to deeper and deeper realms in that inner world that allow more and more access to Self and talk to a lot of other things that are of great value.

Aníbal: Very inspiring. What do you enjoy most to do nowadays?

Bob: Oh, this is just going to sound...I dance a lot and I haven't been doing it as regularly as I should, but I get up very early. I like to get up before dawn and be outside at dawn. And I dance with the trees. I live out in the forest and that's my way of praying.

Aníbal: Mm hmm.

Bob: There's an ethnic group in Russia called the MARI, and they never pray indoors. They say if you're in a building, you're limited into a particular culture and historic framework. But if you're out in the woods, you're in a much bigger container.

Aníbal: Make sense.

Bob: And in California, where I live, it's not such a big deal to go outside to do this. But in northern Russia where they live, this is a big commitment.

Aníbal: It's a challenge.

Bob: So, they inspire me. Yes.

Tisha: What a contrast to that church that brought up the somatic nausea. You've created your own commune with nature.

Bob: Yes. And a man who was a big part in redeeming spirituality for me was a man named Brother David Steindl-Rast, who's a Benedictine monk, and his main topic is gratefulness. Gratitude. He's written many books. And I was sort of an aggressive jerk for a large part of my life, and I would go around to these spiritual leaders and teachers and I would say "Your God is all good, right? And all powerful.” And, you know, and they'd go "Oh, yeah, yeah." And I'd say "Well, I can remember being a six-year-old cowering in the corner of my bed against the wall, my father's come in the room, he's drunk, he's naked, he has an erection, he's red faced, screaming obscenities at me. Where is your God? Where is your God in that?"

Aníbal: Yes. Yes.

Bob: And most of them would turn away like they smelled something bad, you know, they didn't...Brother David came towards me while he put his hand on my shoulder and he said "God was there, Bob, he was looking out in the room through your eyes and he was weeping."

Aníbal: Wow.

Bob: So, I spent as much time as I could with brother David.

Aníbal: Wow.

Bob: I wanted that kind of spiritual presence in my life. And he's still alive, but he's in his late 90s now and in seclusion in his home monastery outside of Vienna.

Aníbal: Bob, you are quite committed to IFS in many ways, right?

Bob: Yes, definitely.

Aníbal: You want to share with us? You just wrote this wonderful book with Dick Many minds One Self. But you are also teaching and practicing?

Bob: Yes, one of the other things I enjoy a lot besides dance is studying. For some people that's really, you know, annoying or bad, but I love it. So, a lot of that book with Dick was my joy in studying and doing all the research. I can start reading like these articles and academic books that put most people to sleep and I'm fascinated and sort of come to eight hours later and go, you know. So, I'm working on some other books around IFS issues, and I teach a lot. I've been a Program Assistant many times. And something I'm really excited about now is what's happening with IFS in China. But let me say, I do see people, you know, I have a few clients who are still the heavy-duty abuse clients, but most of the people I see are people who are learning IFS.

Aníbal: Ok.

Bob: But what's happening in China? There's a woman, Dr. Hailan Guo, who founded this organization. She's sort of like the Oprah Winfrey of China or the Dr. Phil. Many, many people know her. She's a media presence. And she developed this stuff she calls Interpeace Coaching, which is mainly IFS and some of Kristin Neff and Chris Germer's Self-compassion work. And she has turned IFS into a peer counseling method. She says almost no Chinese person would go to a therapist. It's way too shaming, but they will do peer counseling. So, she's developed this complex system of supervisors and supervisors of supervisors and short-term training for these peer counseling groups. And she has these whole pyramids of trainees and supervision over supervision. And she's reaching many, many people. She looks like this sort of friendly little old grandmother. And she's actually one of the toughest people I've ever met. And she just looked at me as though she was just saying something casual, just Bob, it's my goal to relieve the suffering of millions.

Aníbal: Wow.

Bob: And I, I really like her model, and she's having me help train some people and do some classes there. And it's fascinating to work through translators and in another culture. The inner world's the same.

Aníbal: The inner world is the same. Yes. Amazing.

Bob: Yes, it's the same. The differences are not...I don't think they go so deep. Maybe I'm fooling myself, but I think we're basically the same.

Tisha: Have you been traveling over there in the past or have you been mostly connecting with China online?

Bob: Just online, just online. They invited me, but thanks to the virus, I'm not going. That's not for the foreseeable future.

Aníbal: What future, Bob, can you see for the IFS model? I mean...

Bob: What future?

Aníbal: How much IFS can impact not only our field of psychotherapy, but even more than that?

Bob: Yes. Oh, yes. It becomes more of a life path rather than something that's focused on healing difficulties or pathologies.

Aníbal: Yes.

Bob: And a very good friend of mine who's an attorney is deeply involved in IFS and his IFS in mediation. And we've had some trainings out here with mainly with divorce lawyers. So, that's very positive. IFS in education.

Aníbal: Yes.

Bob: There's now a friend of mine in... He teaches in the adult school in Salinas. Salinas's maybe the roughest town in my neighborhood. Very, very Mexican. Lot of gangs, a lot of violence. And he teaches the people who dropped out of high school and are now back, you know, trying to get some kind of equivalency diploma. And he's using IFS in the classroom. And he's been so successful that the principal of his school has invited him to train the other faculty. And that's been so successful that now the whole school district is having him train other teachers in how to use IFS in the classroom.

Aníbal: Beautiful.

Bob: And he sort of has to disguise it a little bit because he's not a licensed therapist. So, they call it psychosocial education programs. And I believe that the IFS Foundation has funded a study, an outcome study on IFS in education.

Aníbal: Great.

Bob: And I'm also working with some ministers and spiritual directors. IFS is perfect for this kind of spiritual growth. It's such a good fit for many of them. 

Aníbal: Beautiful. Bob, thank you so much for having us. It was a joy to be here with you and Tisha. And I hope we can keep meeting, maybe we sit  again for another talk and for other sharing of this model, our work and our lives. Thank you so much.

Bob: It was a pleasure to be with you, too.

Tisha: I thank you so much for your tenderness and your courage and for allowing us to hear about some of the burdens you've worked with and I feel a lot of admiration for what you've done and how you've contributed. So, thank you for being with us. 

Bob: You're so welcome.


Recorded 15th April 2020
Transcript Edition: Carolina Abreu