Impact of Learning Internal Family Systems Model on Self-of-the-Therapist Work in Novice Therapists: A Mixed-Methods Study
Hilaris, Dina Anne
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This mixed-methods study sought to examine the impact of learning the Internal Family Systems (IFS) model on novice therapists' self-of-the-therapist work. Criterion sampling was used to recruit participants enrolled in an IFS graduate course in Virginia Tech's Marriage and Family Therapy (MFT) Program. Participants completed three sets of questionnaires (Self-Compassion Scale, Five Facet Mindfulness Questionnaire, and Professional Quality of Life Scale V. 5) both before and after completing the course. Twelve of the 23 participants volunteered to contribute to the qualitative portion of this study in semi-structured focus groups or individual interviews. The qualitative data were analyzed using grounded theory to assist in building theory for whether and how IFS can build awareness of internal process and increased self-compassion in novice therapists, therefore contributing to their self-of-the-therapist work. The quantitative data reported an increase in Self-Kindness, Common Humanity, Mindfulness, ability to Describe one's experience, ability to Act with Awareness, and the ability to be Nonjudgmental and Nonreactive of one's experience after participants completed the IFS course. The quantitative data reported a decrease in participants' Self-Judgment, Over-identification, and Secondary Traumatic Stress after completing the IFS course. The qualitative data supported these findings. The themes that emerged for the qualitative data were an increase in Self-Leadership, Improved Relationships, and an increase in Self-Compassion. Overall, participants reported gaining greater awareness of their internal process and increasing their ability to be self-compassionate, which they report impacted and contributed to their self-of-the-therapist work. Limitations, clinical and training implications, and future directions for research are discussed.
- Masters Theses