Frank Anderson began his professional journey as a chemistry major at the University of Illinois in the pre-pharmacy program. He quickly developed a fascination with the workings of the human body and switched into a pre-medicine program. He happily entered Rush University Medical College, initially wanting to become a pediatrician due to his love of children, but switched into psychiatry after a close family member developed significant mental health symptoms. He was deeply touched by this experience and also keenly aware of the impact it had on others. During his residency program in psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, he noticed that many of the clients struggling with major mental illness had also experienced significant trauma in their lives.

The pain he witnessed in others activated something deep within himself and compelled him to enter into therapy, which quickly connected him to his own trauma history. Becoming a psychiatrist at the Trauma Center in Boston under the direction of Bessel van der Kolk was a natural fit for him, where he learned more about trauma while simultaneously continuing his quest of helping others heal. He was fortunate enough to meet Dick Schwartz at a conference during this time, and his career focus instantly came into full alignment as he was able to integrate his knowledge of neuroscience and trauma treatment with Internal Family Systems (IFS) therapy.

Dr. Anderson is the former chair and executive director of the Foundation for Self Leadership, an organization focusing on IFS research and the expansion of the IFS model beyond psychotherapy. He authored the chapter “Who’s Taking What? Connecting Neuroscience, Psychopharmacology and Internal Family Systems for Trauma” and coauthored the chapter “What IFS Brings to the Treatment of Trauma.” He also coauthored the book Internal Family Systems Skills Training Manual.

He is a lead trainer and program consultant for the IFS Institute, is an advisor to the International Association of Trauma Professionals (IATP), and maintains a private practice. He is passionate about teaching and enjoys providing psychotherapy consultations, as well as teaching IFS-related workshops throughout the world. To learn more, please go

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