About Susan McConnell
Susan McConnell draws on a lifetime of experience integrating body and mind. Teaching children with disabilities led to counseling survivors of domestic violence, and then to a private practice as a bodyworker working at the interface of body and mind with structural therapy and cranial sacral therapy. Volunteering at an alternative health clinic for people with AIDS where she experienced the benefits of a collective and collaborative work environment gave rise to her founding Matrix Center for Body Mind Therapy in Chicago for psychotherapists and health care workers. Obtaining a Masters Degree with an emphasis in Somatic Psychotherapy, the study and then teaching of Hakomi Therapy in the late 1980s, along with Sensorimotor Psychotherapy and various movement practices led to a further development of the integration of body and mind in her teaching and her private practice.
Awareness of the inseparable nature of body and psyche inevitably led Susan to a deeper connection with Spirit. Her experiences with Zen Buddhist practices revealed that body, mind, and spirit are not separate but “interbe,” that mindful awareness opens to a Field of knowing and compassion both personal and relational, and independent of cognition. Susan discovered the healing power of a sustained, focused awareness of thoughts, emotions, and bodily experiences that is beyond words.
All of these experiences knitted together when Dick Schwartz entered Susan’s life in the mid 1990s. Being introduced through a consultation group to his newly forming model of IFS consolidated her understanding of the primacy of therapists healing our own burdens. She found her challenges with her clients were generally resolved when her own parts could step aside, and that the concepts of the IFS Model brought more clarity and power to her work with her clients with every clinical issue. Assisting Dick in his first training in Chicago, her intention was to stay one step ahead of the participants. Soon she was leading trainings both in the US and internationally. As Senior Trainer since 1997 she has developed curricula and mentored and supervised other trainers.
As IFS and the community of trainers expanded, Susan felt the freedom to bring an even more embodied experience and understanding of the internal family to therapists and practitioners of IFS. Integrating her psychotherapy, bodywork, movement, and spiritual modalities with IFS revealed and witnessed the implicit body stories of our individual hurts and societal burdens. Restoring embodiment to these systems has been her greatest purpose and passion.
Susan’s new book is now available!
Somatic Internal Family Systems: Awareness, Breath, Resonance, Movement and Touch in Practice (Published by North Atlantic Books) introduces a new therapeutic modality that blends principles of somatic therapy—like movement, touch, and breathwork—with the traditional tools of the Internal Family Systems framework.
Broadening the benefits and applications of the IFS model, author Susan McConnell introduces 5 core practices with clinical applications that include the treatment of depression, trauma, anxiety, eating disorders, chronic illness, and attachment disorders.
Hear From Susan
Online Somatic IFS Courses
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