Bill Richardson

Bill Richardson (William J. Richardson, Ph.D.)

Clinical Director, Professor

Master of Arts Counseling Program,

Reformed Theological Seminary

Jackson, MS 39209


phn     601-923-1630


This web site is intended primarily for information dissemination which will, hopefully benefit my students and colleagues. 


What follows is a paper presented at the American Association of Christian Counselor's 2007 World Conference on 9-14-07.




Internal Family Systems Therapy Meets Evangelical Christianity:

Integration of Diverse Communities and Theories


William J. Richardson, Ph.D.


All that follows is copyrighted by the author, William J. Richardson, Clinton, MS.

It is not reproducible in any form without the written permission of its author, September 10, 2007.




            I am a Professor and Clinical Director of Marriage and Family Therapy and Counseling at Reformed Theological Seminary (RTS), Jackson, MS.   I have been a Christian psychotherapist and educator for nearly 30 years.  In the last four years I have immersed myself in a therapy model relatively new to me, Internal Family Systems Therapy (IFS), developed by Richard Schwartz.

            The integration of Psychology and Theology is not foreign.  Since double-majoring in Religious Studies and Psychology as an undergrad at Wheaton College I have had both feet and both brain-hemispheres in both disciplines.   But, in the midst of my recent IFS immersion (I hope my language does not offend my fellow Reformed Presbyterians) I have witnessed an integration heretofore unknown to me.   I have witnessed loving, respectful and productive dialogue between two radically diverse groups.  The IFS (non-Christian) community and the Christian counseling community in Jackson, MS have welcomed, listened to and learned from one another in ways I never imagined.  But, I am getting ahead of myself.  (More of this history is explained in Section IV, below.)

            The main point: my immersion into IFS has been professionally enriching.  I want to similarly enrich my brothers and sisters in Christian Counseling and pass-on some useful “finds” from IFS. Among IFS’s most interesting and significant contributions are the concepts of:

     1.  “Multiplicity” (that mankind’s psyche exists in its natural state as multiple, interacting

           subpersonalities) and

      2.  A resource-rich “Self” able to observe, nurture and lead sub-personalities.

These two points also pose interesting questions for Evangelical Believers.  I have wrestled with these concepts and seen many of my students do the same.  How do they square with a biblical Anthropology?   The answers I have found thus far, follow.

            One more thing.  I find myself in the rare position of working on the Christian integration of a Psychotherapy model whose founder is very much alive and willing to dialogue.  Dick is highly respected and widely published, especially in MFT circles.  I have found him unusually gracious, non-defensive and as open to learn from others as he is to teach them.  I have learned much from him.  We come from highly diverse backgrounds, cultures and faiths.  We have become loving friends.


Table of Contents


Section I   An Overview of Internal Family Systems Therapy                    Pages 2-4


Section II  Multiplicity: A Biblical Appraisal                                               Pages 5-13


Section III Self: A Biblical Appraisal                                                           Pages 13-22


Section IV A Brief History of IFS Meets RTS                                             Pages 23-26


References                                                                                                     Pages 27-28

Section I  An Overview of Internal Family Systems Therapy


A.  Multiplicity


     1.  The human mind is not unitary, but instead is naturally subdivided into numerous 

     subpersonalities.  This phenomenon is termed, “Multiplicity” (Schwartz, 1995, p. 8, ff.).


     2.  Subpersonalities are not mere bundles of emotions, thought or wants, but are “distinct and    

     interacting personalities” (2006, p. 14), each with its own temperament and talents, “having a large

     degree of autonomy” (1995, p. 13).


3.  Multiplicity is not new.  Other theorists/theories have described similar phenomena ranging in correspondence to Schwartz’s view (1995, p. 12, ff., Nichols & Schwartz, p. 428):

Freud – id, ego, superego

Jung – complexes, personas

Gestalt Therapy – parts (e.g., “top-dog, underdog”)

Psychosynthesis – subpersonalities

Transactional Analysis – ego states

Cognitive-Behavior Therapy - schemata


4.  Different from other theorists with the multiplicity concepts, IFS is focused on the ongoing relationships of these subpersonalities applying family systems theory to the individual’s internal world.  Subpersonalities interact and respond to therapy in dynamic patterns similar to those of family members, thus the name, “Internal Family Systems Therapy” (1995, p. 17, ff.).


5.  Following the lead of his clients, Schwartz refers to subpersonalities as “parts.”   (Though he advocates referencing multiplicity with any language preferred by the client, 1995, p. 34.)  Example: “A part of me attacks me for being so fat, then another part feels hurt and lonely, and then still another part takes over and makes me binge…” (Nichols & Schwartz, p. 427)


6.  Multiplicity is normal and universal.  The mind exists and functions like any other multi-part system (1995, p. 41).    Multiplicity is not a result of trauma as is Multiple Personality Disorder (MPD, now called Dissociative Identity Disorder).  Schwartz sees MPD as one extreme way that “a person’s internal parts-system might organize in response to chronic and/or severe hurt” (1995, pps. 12-13).


7.  (Schwartz categorizes subpersonalities into three groups: managers, firefighters and exiles.  The scope of this paper does not encompass this aspect of his model.)


B.  Internal Conflicts and Burdens


1.  Parts take on burdens – extreme beliefs (cognitive distortions), behaviors, feelings and desires – “derived from extreme events or interactions in a person’s history” (1995, p. 52).  For example, a female client’s parents may have emphatically stressed the importance of physical appearance. As a result, a part of her believes it will be catastrophic if she should weigh more than a particular ideal weight. 


2.  Parts with extreme beliefs and behaviors tend to dominate the internal system and to become polarized and conflicted with other subpersonalities.  Symptomatic behaviors and emotions result (1995, p. 41-44).  For example, a part believing that becoming overweight would be catastrophic might take on a hypercritical role, constantly reminding the client of her physical shortcomings in hopes of energizing her to stay on a diet.  Another part of the same client may polarize and oppose this inner critic by periodically “hijacking” the internal system of the client.  In order to relieve the stress and drown-out the constant, hypercritical self-talk, the well-meaning hijacker may lead the client in a temporarily blissful eating binge.  Of course, eventually this extreme behavior fuels the energy of hyper-critic.  A polarized, escalating “vicious cycle” is in place.


3.  The goal of therapy is to unburden parts of their extreme beliefs and behaviors so that they may function non-reactively in preferred, valuable roles and in harmony with other subpersonalities of the internal system.


4.  This goal of therapy, unburdening and internal-system harmony, is accomplished through the resources and leadership of the Self (defined, below.)   The process of therapy primarily involves helping clients differentiate their Self which has been constrained by the extreme beliefs, feelings and behaviors of reactive parts (Schwartz, 1995, pps. 39, 85).  The differentiated Self brings therapeutic leadership and resources to extreme parts.


C.  The Self


1.  Schwartz defines the Self as “who you are, at your core” (2001, p.15).  Other descriptors and distinctives of Self follow:

·         the seat of consciousness

·         different from the parts

·         witnesses parts (sees and hears the parts)

·         experiences parts, e.g., can feel their emotions and physical sensations

·         interacts with parts and other persons

·         can see the parts but cannot be seen because “Self is the me that is doing the seeing” (1995, p. 40).


2.  The Self is an active, compassionate inner leader with clarity of perspective and other qualities needed to lead effectively.   Self possesses the compassion, confidence, perspective and vision required to lead internal and external life harmoniously and sensitively.  Schwartz likens the Self to an inner orchestra conductor (1995 pps. 37-40).  It has inherent wisdom, stability and lucidity relative to the internal and external relationship life of the client (2001, p. 39).  The self is seen as inherently and completely good (Schwartz, 2003, p. 28, Schwartz 1995, p. 109) – “an undamaged core” (Schwartz, 2007).


3.  Schwartz uses the following alliterated list (the Eight “C”s) to describe the characteristics of the Self (2001, pps 47, ff.):

        •  Calmness
        • Clarity
        • Curiosity
        • Compassion
        • Confidence
        • Courage
        • Creativity
        • Connectedness

4.  The effective leadership qualities of the Self can be constrained by reactively acting subpersonalities (Schwartz, 1995, p. 39).


Section II  Multiplicity: A Biblical Appraisal

Self-relationship in God’s image

Multiplicity, that the human mind is naturally subdivided into numerous interacting subpersonalities is a major feature of IFS anthropology.  Does the Bible endorse, prohibit or even address Multiplicity?  This view of humankind is derived largely from Dick Schwartz’s clinical experience (1995, p. 1).  Pertinently, Berkoff (1941), in his Systematic Theology, writes that Theological Anthropology “reads the teachings of human experience in the light of God’s Word” (p.181).  Let us look at multiplicity in just that light and begin with the biblical doctrine the imago dei – that men and women are created in the image of God.  Genesis 1:26-27 states:

Then God said, "Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth."  So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.  (All Biblical quotations are from the English Standard Bible unless otherwise indicated.)

In the phrase “Let us make man in our image,” the word for “God,” Elohim, is a plural word followed by the plural pronoun “us” and a plural verb form “to make.”   Commentators have suggested these plurals may indicate God’s conference with the heavenly host, a “majestic we,” or the plurality of the Trinitarian Godhead.  John Currid writes, “Possibly the best solution is to understand the statement as a plural of self-deliberation” (2003, vol. 1, p.85).  Keil and Delitzsch agree saying the language suggests, “God speaking of Himself and with Himself” (vol.1 p.62).  In Created in God’s Image, Anthony Hoekema writes that we should interpret the Genesis plural language,

…as indicating that God does not exist as a solitary being, but as a being in fellowship with “others.” Though we cannot say that we have here clear teaching about the Trinity, we do learn that God exists as a “plurality.” What is here merely hinted at is further developed in the New Testament into the doctrine of the Trinity. (1986, p.12)

 Charles Sherlock, in The Doctrine of Humanity, (1996) also comments on the plural language of this Genesis passage:

The nature of the one true God is thus far deeper, holier and more beautiful than the plain, featureless deity that many people think of as ‘god.’ Divine unity is more like the harmony of a close family or group of friends than the stark sameness of a block of ice. Only of this Trinitarian God can we say, ‘God is love’ (1 John 4:16). And when it comes to thinking about being human as being ‘made in the image of God’, this vision of God makes a great deal of difference. (p.19)

            God is a relationship being.  Certainly, God is one being, but mysteriously he is also three distinct persons.  He is in relationship with himself.  Human beings image their self-relational Creator and also experience a type of self-relationship.

            Addressing mankind’s relationship nature, Sherlock writes “God is no plain, undifferentiated monad but living and active, dynamic and personal, so is humankind” (p.35).  He writes further that while the plural pronoun in this divine (Genesis 1:26-27) address alludes to something in the nature of God, it also “clearly alerts us to plurality within humanity” (p.35).  Hoekema adds, “In this way, human beings reflect God, who exists not as a solitary being but as a being in fellowship” (1986, p.14).

When Hoekema and Sherlock speak about mankind being in some way plural, they are primarily addressing man’s relational nature.  Both authors spend many pages elaborating that a major aspect of imaging God means living in relationship, specifically, threefold relationship: to God, to others, and to creation. Then Hoekema rhetorically asks, “But is there not also a possible fourth relationship, namely man’s relationship to himself?” (p.102).   Neither author devotes much focus to this fourth relationship, man’s relationship to himself.  But, along with Hoekema I see the legitimacy of this dimension, that men and women, individually, like their Creator, also are self-relational.  I think that each individual person is also “no plain, undifferentiated monad;” that one aspect of being made in God’s image is the innate ability to self-know, self-monitor, self-reflect, in a word – self-relate.  I believe this God-imaging, self-relational aspect of mankind is a general form of what Schwartz has termed, “multiplicity.”  By “general multiplicity” I mean human personality exists in more than one distinct, personal self.  Without more than one distinct person (of some sort) within an individual’s personality, the concept, “self-relationship” would be meaningless.  Relationship requires more than one person.

Self-consciousness and multiplicity

            The concept, “self-relationship” may be unfamiliar.  The concept, “self-consciousness” is not.  Mankind’s self-conscious nature reflects this general multiplicity.  Self-consciousness has two definitions: an ill-at-ease feeling in social settings, and a more anthropological, academic definition – our focus, here:

…the awareness that humans have of their own selves: their behaviors, feelings and thoughts…that originates in the self, rather than an outside source…a major factor separating humans from the animal kingdom.” (Benner & Hill, p. 1077)

            The Word of God is replete with examples of mankind’s self-consciousness, i.e., instances where persons are engaging in the process of self-awareness.  A few illustrations follow.

The Psalmist hears his own heart and relays its words to God:

You have said, "Seek my face.”  My heart says to you, "Your face, LORD, do I seek.”  Psalm 27:8

The Psalmist talks about parts of his internal world, namely, his heart and his eyes and asks God to influence them:

Incline my heart to your testimonies, and not to selfish gain! Turn my eyes from looking at worthless things…  Psalm 119:36-37,

Paul describes non-believers consciences “speaking” to them, i.e., internal dialogue:

They [Gentiles] show that the work of the law is written on their hearts, while their conscience also bears witness, and their conflicting thoughts accuse or even excuse them…  Romans 2:15

Paul describes his own self-awareness (Romans 7:22-23):

For I delight in the law of God, in my inner being [literally “inner man”], but I see in my members another law waging war against the law of my mind…So then, I myself serve the law of God with my mind, but with my flesh I serve the law of sin. Romans 7:22-23, 25 

Jesus is aware of his own feelings and wants.  He describes both:

And he said to them [his disciples], "My soul is very sorrowful, even to death…” And he said, "Abba, Father, all things are possible for you. Remove this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will." Mark 14:34, 36

            I see self-consciousness as a subcategory of self-relationship; (other subcategories might include self-love, self-image, self-deception, etc.)  Conservative theological literature liberally attests to God’s self-consciousness and mankind’s self-consciousness in his image.  Van Til writing on God’s communicable attributes quotes Bavinck, “God is fully conscious of himself…there is nothing in his being that is hid to his consciousness” (p.229).  John Laidlaw in the Biblical Doctrine of Man connects the image dei and self-conscience (the self-assessment aspect of self-consciousness).  He writes that self-conscience is “another point of analogy between the divine and the human spirit.” (p.167).   Calvin assumes man’s self-consciousness.  He starts the Institutes of the Christian Religion expounding “Without knowledge of self there is no knowledge of God” and conversely, “Without knowledge of God there is no knowledge of self” (pps. 35-38).

            Let’s consider self-consciousness.  At its simplest level self-consciousness implies that we humans can:

1.  Self-witness – Receive or “hear” information from ourselves about ourselves, e.g., knowing what we want, “I want to eat lunch, now, even though I am sitting in church,” or knowing what we feel “I am about to make an oral class presentation.  I dread public speaking!  I feel scared.”

2.  Self-communicate - Send information from ourselves to ourselves, e.g., “self-talk.”  Elaborating on the examples, above, we can say to ourselves, “You can’t have lunch, yet, so stay focused on the sermon; you can eat in about 40 minutes,” or “You can do this class presentation; you feel nervous, but your God and your classmates are on your side.”

Note that both these categories of behavior, self-hearing and self-talking are relationship behaviors.  Relationship requires (at least) two distinct persons.  This is the case with an individual person in self-consciousness.  Regarding self-witnessing, both “persons,” the self in us who “hears” and the self who is heard are distinct in some manner or the term, “self-conscious” is meaningless.  The same is true regarding self-talking; both “persons,” the self in us who sends a message and the self who receives it must be distinct in some manner.    Self-consciousness requires two “I’s.”  In this sense, at least, humans are plural persons.

            There are at least three things this plurality does not mean.  Firstly, it does not mean that we are only plural persons any more than our triune God is only a trinity.  God is three distinct persons; he is also the “Infinite One” and numerically one” (Berkhof, pps. 61, 62).  Similarly, a married couple is one, but the couple is not only one.  The one couple consists of two distinct persons married to one another.  The concept of plural personality does not replace the concept of unitary personality.  Each individual person is still one person.  It seems that human beings are singular and plural.

Secondly, this does not mean that we are plural in exactly the same way our triune God is plural – that we are tri-personality beings of some sort.  My point is that in the image of our one, self-deliberate, “plural-personned” God, we are unitary beings of personality-multiplicity, i.e., individuals in some way comprised of distinct interacting personalities.

            Thirdly, I am not proposing that the multiplicity inherent in self-consciousness is synonymous with IFS multiplicity.  (IFS understands multiplicity as core-self plus any number of subpersonalities.)  My points thus far are simply that:

1.      human beings image their self-relating God by also being self-relational,

2.      human self-relationship is evident in our innate self-conscious nature which is abundantly seen in Scripture, theological literature and common experience, and

3.      human self-consciousness is a general form of personality-multiplicity. 

Numerical Breadth and IFS multiplicity

            What about the numerical breadth of Schwartz’s multiplicity?  IFS sees human personality in its natural state existing in any number of subpersonalities (Schwartz, 2007).  As families can vary in size by the number of their members, so persons can vary in their number of subpersonalities (1995, p.16, 33).    Do the Scriptures attest to or allow for a multiplicity of greater number than that of general self-consciousness?

            I believe we can find some answers to this question by considering Pauline Anthropology, particularly as seen in Romans 7:13-25.  A selection of those verses follows:

19. For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing... 22. For I delight in the law of God, in my inner being, 23. but I see in my members another law waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin…25. Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! I myself serve the law of God with my mind, but with my flesh I serve the law of sin.

            In these verses Paul portrays himself as one person, but he also portrays himself existing as two struggling, inner entities.  Paul labels one of them his “mind,” which he also calls “my inner man.”   This “I” wants to do good, hates doing wrong, delights in and serves the law of God. 

            Paul labels the other entity “my flesh,” which he also calls “my members,” i.e., the parts of his body considered together as a unit.  This “I” perseveres in practicing evil deeds, takes Paul captive and serves the law of sin.

This two-entity aspect of Paul has variously been called “the divided ego,” (Dunn, section 18.3) the “ego in conflict,” (Moo, pps. 466-467) the “I” in discord, (Ridderbos, p.117) the “distinction between the two ‘I’s” (Schreiner, p. 375) and the contrast of “the real Paul…with the other Paul” (Morris, p.295).  Moo writes:

There is a part of this person [Paul]…that acknowledges the just demands of God’s law...If we had only to do with him, in the sense of that part of him which agrees with God’s law and wills to do it, we would not be able to explain why he consistently does what he does not want to do.” (p. 457-458)

Moo adds that there is one ego, yet there are “different ‘parts’ and ‘directions’ of this ego as they have been delineated in vv. 15-23” (p.467).  [“Ego” is italicized to indicate that its original Greek form “εγω,” translated “I” was used by the quoted author.] 

That these two parts of Paul can be seen as distinct intra-personalities seems obvious from Paul’s description of each.   Note the attributes of personal agency ascribed to each part, in turn. One is called an “inner man” who has wants (to do good), emotions (hatred and delight), can be taken captive by another and can serve (the law of God).  [Note M-1.  (Notes immediately follow each separate section.)] The other part is more of a body-oriented outer self, yet Paul languages it too, with attributes of personhood.  [Note M-2]  This part engages in actions, can take another captive and is said to serve the law of sin in just the way that the other part (the inner person) serves the law of God, vs. 25.  The fact that both parts are in conflict also speaks to their distinct personhoods – it is persons who engage in conflict. [Note M-3]

But, there are more than two “personalities” present in this passage.  There is a third “I” who is describing the other two parts.  This third “I” is evident in v. 25b, “So then, I myself serve the law of God with my mind, but with my flesh I serve the law of sin.”  Throughout this passage Paul has been reporting on two aspects of himself.  He has used his self-conscious, i.e., self-witnessing ability to observe and report first on an “inner man” and then on its antagonist.  This requires three “persons,” one reporter, two objects thereof. 

I believe that we see more than just a simple self-conscious multiplicity in Romans 7.  We see more than a man simply describing himself, e.g., “I observe myself sinning.”  We see a man describing two person-like parts (in a conflict relationship).  This has numerical implication.  Since we have this biblical example of three “persons,” an observer “I” and two observed “I”s, it appears that we can conceive of man in more than two “parts.”  This allows me to accept the possibility of Schwartz’s numerically broad multiplicity.  The number here is only three, but the Apostle Paul, inspired by the Holy Spirit has taken us beyond simple two-part self-reflection.

In summary, I do not see scriptural prohibitions against multiplicity as posited by IFS.  In fact, I see (1) a general multiplicity in mankind’s image-bearing self-consciousness and (2) at least modest support for numerically broad multiplicity in Pauline anthropology.


            Note M-1:   Moo (p. 462) writes that Paul was using the phrase “inner man” in the secular Greek

                         sense “to denote man according to his Godward, immortal side.”   He believes 

                         the term  carries the anthropological meaning (Paul describing his unregenerate experience)

                         rather than the soteriological sense (denoting the “new man in Christ.”).  If Moo is correct 

                         this lends some credence to the IFS principle that multiplicity is the natural (Believers might

                         say Creator-designed) human state.  Otherwise the multiplicity of Romans 7 might apply only

                         to believers.  Commentators are divided on whether Romans 7 depicts an unsaved person

                         striving to follow the law or a believer striving to follow Christ.  Moo, Schreiner and Morris

                         (see References) all present respectful point-by-point arguments for both perspectives of this

                         issue citing other authors and their beliefs.  (Morris sees Paul as regenerate.  Schreiner

                         aligns with Moo.)


Note M-2:   In Romans 6:12-14 Paul uses the terms “members” and “body” synonymously.  Ridderbos observes that in Pauline anthropology, “body” is not a material-sensual detachment: man not only has a body he is a body.  “It is in being a body that there is the possibility of the distinction between man and himself, between the ‘I’ and its self realization in thoughts and acts” (p. 117).  For a more in-depth treatment of Pauline anthropological topics addressed in Romans 7, namely inner man, outer man, mind, body, members and flesh, in addition to Ridderbos I recommend the works by Chamblin and by Dunn cited in the Reference section of this paper.  (“New Perspective” issues aside, Dunn’s scholarship, here seems thorough and informative.)  These three are among a host of authors indicating that Paul is not propounding a Greek or Gnostic dualism where the higher immaterial part of man is more real or essential than the outer part of man.  Man is not said to have an inner side and have an outward side, but instead to exist both in one way and the other (Ridderbos, p. 115), e.g.,  “body,” soma [Greek]  represents the embodied “I” and “mind,” nous [Greek] the whole rational person (Dunn, p. 74).  The whole person is viewed from particular standpoints (Chamblin, p. 44).  This seems pertinent to the IFS concept of “parts” as complete subpersonalities rather than merely detached emotions, wants or sensations.


Note M-3:   Please remember that I think we humans exist both unitarily and plurally, i.e., that we are monads and multiples simultaneously.  If true, this may shed some light on why Pauline commentators describe Paul as a monolith at one moment and a multiplicity the next, e.g., Morris writes regarding Ro. 7:21 that “the self-same ‘I’ has both these opposite experiences” [monolith] and then writes that v.22 contrasts the “real Paul...with the other Paul” (pps. 294 – 295) [multiplicity].  On v.25 Moo writes, “…when all allowance has been made for the different ‘parts’ and ‘directions’ of this ego …there remains one person” [monolith].  But he continues, “ these verses the chief protagonists are the ego that agrees with God’s law and the ego…that prevents ego from carrying out that law” (p. 463) [multiplicity].

Section III  Self  A Biblical Appraisal

I would like to scripturally appraise Schwartz’s view of the “Self” in three sections:

1.      The existence of the Self as a witness and leader,

2.      The therapeutic power of the Self,

3.      The goodness of the Self.

I will then state what I believe to be a Conservative, Evangelical position on human depravity and mankind’s capacity for good and will conclude with a brief personal note.

Does the Self Exist?

            First, on Self’s existence and general function as witness and leader, Schwartz describes Self as “who you are at your core”, “your True Self” (2001, p. 15) who witnesses your thoughts and emotions (2001, p. 37) and attempts to supply wise, benevolent leadership (2001, pps. 27, ff.). [Note S-1]  I find this view logically compatible with the concept of self-consciousness.   Discussed first under Multiplicity, I posited that self-consciousness is a given feature of the self-relational image of God displayed in mankind.  If we human beings can self-reflect, i.e., consider our actions, feelings, wants, etc., then, there is always an “us” who does this self-reflecting.  In God’s design we always have the capacity step back from ourselves and “consider our ways” (Haggai 1:5).  In this context, synonyms for “consider” could be observe, listen, analyze, witness.  Self-witness is the sine qua non of self-consciousness and it is integral to our humanness.  I think Schwartz has labeled the “us” who can see us, “Self.”  (He says the Self can see the parts but cannot be seen because Self “is the me that is doing the seeing.” 1995, p. 40)

            Still considering the existence and role of the Self, Schwartz believes the Self not only witnesses; it also leads (or at least has this capacity).  In fact, the prime goal of IFS therapy is Self leadership of the internal parts system (2001, pps. 40-41).  I find this concept of “Self-as-internal-leader” also quite compatible with my understanding of biblical anthropology.  Again, referring to initial considerations of self-relationship and self-consciousness as multiplicity, I noted that a feature of self-consciousness is self-talk – we can send information to ourselves.  (Of course, Schwartz would say we can send information to parts of ourselves.)   In that section I gave two examples of self-talk; both illustrations were actually simultaneously examples of self-leadership: “You can’t have lunch, yet, so stay with the sermon…You can do this class presentation [though anxious].” Self-talk coming from the “core us” seems to be an aspect of self-consciousness and a part of God’s good design.  If such self-talk is his good design, then it logically follows that he designed us to say things to ourselves that are true (Philippians 4:8) and which encourage us to think and act uprightly, i.e., according to his will.  “Speaking truth and providing guidance toward living according to God’s will,” rather nicely describes major aspects of leadership.   I believe men and women providing such leadership to themselves is a part of God’s design.  Schwartz labels it Self-leadership.

Is the Self Therapeutically Potent?

            A central IFS tenet is that Self is an active, compassionate leader with the competence, confidence, perspective and vision required to lead internal and external life harmoniously and sensitively (1995, p. 40).  Schwartz believes that facilitating an encounter between a person’s Self and any of their extreme subpersonalities will be therapeutic (2001, p. 37).  Self will bring its nurturing, wise resources to the reactive part resulting in positive change.   (The interpersonal relationship of the therapist’s Self with the client’s reactive parts is also important in IFS, but the therapeutic process and ultimate goal centers on facilitating the intrapersonal relationship of the client’s Self and parts.  I find this latter emphasis to be one of the outstanding articulations of IFS.)

      Schwartz’s positive view of mankind with inner self-therapeutic resources is certainly not new.  This is one of the foundations of the Humanistic-Existential psychologies and appears in many other theories of therapy as well.   However, his parsing of the human inner world into subpersonalities and Self brings fresh insight and application to the field.  For example, Rogerian Person-Centered or Gestalt models paint in broad strokes.  They posit that demonstrating core relational conditions or facilitating awareness (respectively) frees clients to self-actualize.  Schwartz paints in much more detail.  Building upon multiplicity he differentiates Self from subpersonalities, defines Self as a resource-rich inner “therapist” and prescribes inner relational encounters of Self with extreme subpersonalities as the operation of therapy.  Schwartz is the family therapist bringing internal family members into contact with the nurture and wisdom of a resource-rich parent-within, the Self. [“Parent-within” is my metaphorical rendering, not Schwartz’s terminology.]

      Above, I acknowledged that as a Believer I accept the existence of the Self and its role of self-counselor.  Do I agree with Schwartz that Self has the resources to bring healing?  Stated differently, do I think fallen men and women really have self-therapeutic, resource-rich inner Selves?   I do.  My affirmation rests on three points:

          1.  The potency of the image of God,

          2.  The doctrine of the good works of the unregenerate,

          3.  The witness of general revelation.

The Image of God  

      On the image of God, inner resources and the fall, my belief is straightforward.  God is so glorious and his divine imprint upon us so wonderful that our most wretched sin, even the totality of our fallen nature cannot extinguish it.  His beauty in us cannot be erased.  True, we are totally depraved, i.e., sin mars every aspect of our being, in Calvin’s words, “…no part is immune from sin…” (1975, p. 253).  Yet, inspired by the Holy Spirit, David can say to God, “Wonderful are your works,” and add, “I am fearfully and wonderfully made” (Pslam 139:14).  He is saying, “I am wonderful because I am his handiwork.”

            To be sure, our “wonderfulness” is grievously distorted.  Calvin writes (I.XV.4), “Even though we confess that God’s image was not entirely annihilated and effaced in man, however it was so corrupted that whatever remains is a horrible deformity” (Calvin, as cited in Wells, 2004, p. 27).   Compared to God’s actual purity and perfection his image in us is horribly deformed, but mankind never lost his image (McCloud, 1998, p.74).  The Glory of God relentlessly shines through the unsaved (I will use the terms, unsaved, unregenerate, fallen, non-believer and natural man, synonymously to indicate non-Christian man, i.e., not indwelt by the Holy Spirit.)   Bavink writes,

There still remain in man certain traces of the image of God.  There is still intellect and reason; all kinds of natural gifts…Arts and sciences are good, profitable, and of high value…there is still a desire for truth and virtue, and for natural love between parents and children.  In matters that concern this earthly life, man is still able to do much good. (As cited in Hokema, 1986, pps. 190-191) 

Berkhof explains that the whole world lies under the curse of sin, yet, “the earth yields precious fruit in rich abundance and does not simply bring forth thorns…” (1987, p. 432).  Though totally fallen, mankind does not “simply bring forth thorns” either.  Like the sin-cursed earth yielding “precious fruit in rich abundance, we fallen people are resource-rich.  We cannot eradicate his glory from ourselves.  Calvin (I.XV.3) also writes that, “the likeness of God extends to the whole excellence by which man’s nature towers over all kinds of living creatures.” (Calvin, as cited in Wells, 2004, p. 31.)  To say that image bearers, though horribly fallen have magnificent inner resources is to glorify God.  When Schwartz talks about a resource-rich inner man with therapeutic compassion and wisdom I think he refers to qualities of our God, indelibly woven into the fabric of our being.  By virtue of our Creator we possess vast and potent resources, even if marred.

Good Works in the Unsaved

            I agree with Schwartz; humans have magnificent self-therapeutic resources within.  My second basis for agreement is the Scriptural depiction of fallen man engaging in good works.  Theological discussion of the good works of the unregenerate is mostly found under the topic, Common Grace – the  work of the Holy Spirit to restrain sin, promote social order and civil righteousness (Berkhof, 1987, p. 436).   Van Til, commenting on God’s common grace with specific reference to Romans 2:14-15 says that “natural man may do that which is good after a fashion. It is not merely not as bad as it might be, but it is, in a sense, good…” (1949, p.238).   Also, under the rubric of common grace, Berkhof writes, “The Bible repeatedly speaks of the works of the unregenerate as good and right…” (1987, p. 443).   He then lists numerous Bible passages to substantiate his point, II Kings 10:29, 30; 14:3, 14, ff.  He also includes the following verses which I quote for focused consideration:

And Jehoash did what was right in the eyes of the LORD all his days, because Jehoiada the priest instructed him. (2 Kings 12:2)

For when Gentiles, who do not have the law, by nature do what the law requires, they are a law to themselves, even though they do not have the law. They show that the work of the law is written on their hearts, while their conscience also bears witness, and their conflicting thoughts accuse or even excuse them. (Ro. 2:14,15)

And if you do good to those who do good to you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. (Luke 6:33) 

Berkhof’s list is not exhaustive.  Hoekema adds Romans 13:3-4 and I Peter 2:13-14.  Both of these Scriptures discuss civil authorities who have been sent by God to “punish those who do wrong and commend those who do right.”  In addition I include the verses, below.  Those above, point mostly to outward good works; the verses below suggest more inward dimensions of good behavior, e.g., thoughts, feelings, motivations.  I have underlined words suggesting these less tangible, more internal dimensions:

If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him! (Matthew 7:11)

Can a woman forget her nursing child, that she should have no compassion on the son of her womb? Even these may forget, yet I will not forget you. (Isaiah 49:15)

In these texts Matthew tells us mankind is “evil” and Isaiah says that women can grossly mistreat their own children, yet the point of these verses is the comparative superiority of the Heavenly Father’s love over the goodness of earthly parents’ love.  The goodness seen in natural human parenting is a given or the comparison is meaningless.  (Note that Romans 2:14, 15, quoted earlier, names not only good external behavior.  It also and describes good internal behavior in non-believers – a conscience accurately self-judging according to the law written on unsaved hearts.) 

            Because human beings bear his glorious image and experience his (common) grace, even though unregenerate, they still perform good outward and inward acts.  However, it should be noted that while these behaviors are actually good and produced through the agency of unsaved persons, the conservative evangelical theological literature is clear – such deeds are not effective for salvation.  Men and women are freely justified by the pardoning of their sins, “not for anything wrought in them, or done by them” but by Christ’s work alone (WCF, XI, I.). [Note S-2]

General Revelation – The Human Body

            My third reason for accepting Schwartz’s tenet of a resource-rich Self is found in General Revelation (God’s self-disclosure through creation).  Above, I referenced Berkhof’s writing that the sin-cursed earth “yields precious fruit in rich abundance and does not simply bring forth thorns…” (1987, p. 432).   This is evident as we survey creation.   Death, decay and cruelty abound, but so do God’s glory and beauty.

For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made.  Romans 1:20a

The Hymn-writer agrees, “This is my Father’s world, the birds their carols raise, the morning light, the lily white, declare their Maker’s praise” (Trinity Hymnal, p. 111).   Consider one small piece of creation, the human body.  It is completely fallen – permeated by corruption in every part – yet:

a.       It can feed an infant, i.e., it can produce breast milk able to nourish a baby

b.      It can “nourish” itself, i.e., it can signal that it needs food and water and then ingest, digest and utilize imbibed nutrients

c.       It can heal many of its diseases and wounds, e.g., antiseptics don’t heal cuts, they reduce bacterial and germ activity while the body mends the laceration.

If the fallen human body, to some degree, can (a.) nourish another, (b.) nourish itself, and (c.) mend itself, it seems plausible that the fallen inner man could have similar capabilities.

Is the Self Completely Good?

            Schwartz would answer this question, “Yes.”  (Personal communication, August 10, 2007).  It is hard to overstate Schwartz’s positive view of the Self’s healing potential.  So high is his appraisal that he sees Self as completely good.  He writes, “…your core Self is inherently good, wise, courageous, compassionate, joyful and calm...” (Schwartz, Libman & Neve, 2003, p. 28)  “ undamaged core” (2007).   Schwartz believes Self’s wisdom for relational healing is complete; Self’s resources for therapeutic change (compassion, calmness, clarity, curiosity, confidence, courage, creativity, connectedness) are wholly intact, i.e., not deficient in any way. [Note S-3]  I see this as a point of difference from an Evangelical Christian view of man, as the latter includes the doctrine of total depravity (that sin profoundly mars every aspect of mankind).    I believe men and women in God’s image are incalculably resource-rich but still vitiated by the fall.  This leaves me with great, but not complete trust in the client’s Self-leadership for therapeutic and life direction.   I believe a good, but tainted Self can comprehend imperfectly and supply skewed direction.  Therefore, even Self-leadership must be evaluated in the light of Scripture.  For Schwartz, appraisal of Self-leadership from a source outside of man (the Bible) is not necessary because the Self in the client and the Self in the therapist has the all clarity necessary for healing.  I believe that even Self-clarity must be overseen by God and his Word.  This is a theocentric perspective not seen in IFS.  Schwartz’s perspective is anthropocentric, specifically, that the wisdom within the Self of man is the ultimate guide.  [Note S-4]

Evangelical Emphases on Sin and Good Works

      In my literature-search for this paper and my forty-year personal experience as an Evangelical Christian I have encountered very little information on the natural man’s positive capabilities, i.e. good works of the unsaved.   (A cursory survey of Systematic Theology texts quickly reveals many more pages on original sin than common grace.)   I think I understand the reason.  Most of our theological discourse centers on the saving work of Christ.  This makes perfect sense; we are Evangelical Christians, after all.  The lion’s share of our theological communication is aimed at telling the world and one-another that we are without hope of eternal life except for the wonderful love and all-sufficient redeeming work of our Savior.   So focused we understandably emphasize the horrible corruption of the fall and man’s inability to effect his own salvation.  It is in this sense that we understand and rightly cite Romans 3:10, ff.:

None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God.  All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one.

To accept any form of works-salvation is to completely degrade the heart of Christianity – the incarnation, life, death and resurrection of Jesus the Christ – making irrelevant our excellent Savior and his effectual sacrifice.

However, I suspect that our efforts to eschew this cardinal error have induced us to improperly de-emphasize the God-given capacities and good works of unregenerate men and women.  This is fitting when considering salvation; toward this end our “righteousnesses” are like filthy rags (Isaiah 64:6, NKJV).  But, for an accurate understanding of something like medicine, education or counseling, we need an anthropology that can see mankind’s abilities and guide us to develop persons’ resources. 

Consider the difference in studying salvation theology and education theory.  The study of salvation naturally emphasizes what man cannot do.  To be saved man must accept his complete inability to save himself and place faith in Christ’ sufficiency.  All the resource is in Christ.  The study of education is of a different sort altogether.  Education specializes in what man can do.  Here, we rely on the ability of one person to acquire new knowledge, and we study how another can best facilitate that process.   We seek to understand and maximize the resources of the teacher and the learner.  Picture a Christian teacher in a secular second-grade classroom.   If he has an anthropology incapable of crediting unsaved human beings’ intellectual abilities, then he cannot use any educational or cognitive-developmental research findings on teaching second-graders.  (Actually, he could not even use the English language, the English alphabet, mathematics, or any other subject material, etc., for all these are the “good” products of natural women and men.)  

Still considering that same teacher, would he ever direct and instruct an unsaved second-grader as follows? “Wait your turn in the lunch-line.  Don’t get in front of the first-graders just because they are smaller and younger than you.”   Yes, he would certainly and rightly give this instruction.  And to what would that teacher be appealing in the mind and heart of his unsaved students?   The answer: A resource-rich inner man made in God’s image.  The teacher is relying on inward, good capacities in the children enabling them to first, understand the principle of fairness (justice) and then see the younger others through eyes of compassion and empathy.  To be sure, some children will respond to this moral/civil instruction better that others, and consequences and rewards will be utilized.  But, the appeal to inner laws of justice and empathic consideration written on the hearts of those second-graders (Romans 2:14-15) is well-placed, can bear great fruit and is, indeed, an unspeakably important part of their education.  We would not dream of avoiding all moral instruction to unsaved school children with the logic, “No use instructing on ethical conduct; they do not have the Holy Spirit in their hearts so they could never understand or respond, anyway.”

So, the Christian teacher, architect, therapist, physician all need a biblical anthropology facilitating their understanding and utilization of the great resources of the natural man.  I do not think our evangelical emphasis on depravity has been too strong.  I think our emphasis on the abundant resources of the (marred) image of God has been too weak.  I fear that our inadequate teaching on the abounding capabilities and beauties of the pinnacle of God’s creation has left us (Evangelical Christians) with a demeaning view of fellow humans and an overly condemning view of ourselves.   (I suspect that this under-emphasis contributes to some believers’ reluctance to utilize research and concepts of secular psychologists.)

A Personal Note

Though I do not agree with Dick Schwartz’s view of Self as untainted, I am greatly in his debt for shining light on the glory of the image of God in man.  His relentless confidence in man’s therapeutic inner potency forced me to look more closely at God’s Special and General Revelation on this topic.  My discoveries are partially recorded, above.    My appreciation for the God-given beauties and capabilities within us all has increased significantly.  Dick has been an excellent teacher, and this course has been more than academic.  God has used him to greatly enhance my relationships with my family, students, clients and myself.  How fitting that an image-bearer outside my faith has been such a rich resource on this, of all topics, the magnificent capacities of the natural man.


Note S-1:   Schwartz describes two essential features of the Self -- Self  as active leader and Self as peaceful experience (a transcendent state of calm and well-being, Schwartz, 1995, pps. 37-38.)  Only the first sense, Self-as-leader is addressed here as it is deemed more pertinent to this limited critique.


Note S-2:   The Westminster Confession of Faith, Ch. VI, No. IV, On the Fall of Man reads, “From this original corruption…we are utterly indisposed, disabled and made opposite to all good, and wholly inclined to all evil…”  Commenting on this language, A. A. Hodge (1901, p.224) writes that the good to which mankind is “utterly indisposed” is good as it pertains to any ability “to operate or to cooperate for his own conversion...” a loss of “all ability of will to any spiritual good accompanying salvation,” so that he “is not able of his own strength to convert himself.”   In this same context he notes the Westminster Confession of Faith teaching that mankind can discharge many of the “natural obligations” toward fellow-men. 


Note S-3:   Three additional points on Schwartz’s belief in Self’s complete goodness should be noted.  These were all ascertained in personal conversations:

a.       This does not mean he views Self as completely sufficient for total self-healing.  Though Schwartz sees the Self as highly potent, he believes client and therapist Self-resources are “not enough.”  He believes God is involved in the healing process (not exclusively in the form of the Judeo-Christian God and Jesus Christ).

b.      Though Schwartz believes that mankind is good (1995, p.109), he does not believe that man is necessarily born perfect.  He believes that persons can be born with burdened (extreme and reactive) parts.  He refers to these reactivities as legacy burdens.

c.       Also, Schwartz believes that the Self, though good and resource-rich can be overtaken by reactive parts.   He is not sure why and considers this paradoxical.  In personal conversation Schwartz repeatedly emphasizes that he is a phenomenologist, i.e., his focus is not on defining man philosophically or theologically, but on explaining a counseling process based primarily on what he learns from clients.


Note S-4:   As I write this I am unsure of the ultimate impact of this perspectival difference between theocentrism and anthropocentrism relative to Christianity and IFS.  As a surface illustration we could consider a Christian client inclined to engage in something prohibited in Scripture, e.g., an unbiblical marriage or divorce.   Schwartz has no reason to distrust such inclinations as less than “Self-led.”  A Christian therapist would appraise the client’s inclinations in the light of Scripture.  I believe further implications of this difference deserve investigation.

Section IV A Brief History of IFS meets RTS

This document was submitted to AACC 6-30-07 for publication in

“The Marriage and Family Network Newsletter”


The Chicago Plenary Experience

            It sounds too dramatic, but it was one of the most astonishing moments of my life.   I was addressing a crowd of about 250 non-believing clinicians at a secular psychotherapy conference.  I was one of four panelists making a plenary address.  About halfway through my brief presentation (each of the panelists was to make a 15 minute statement prior to open discussion) I noticed that some of the audience had tears in their eyes.  As I continued the emotion spread. I was feeling it, too.  I tried to choke back my tears so I could finish talking.  I somehow finished and the room exploded; everyone was standing and clapping, tears were flowing.  Soon, in the open discussion, person after person emotionally relayed bad experiences with evangelical Christians -- times when they had felt rejected, stereotyped, demeaned or disrespected.  Then these same persons humbly apologized with new realization, “We categorize evangelical Christians and treat them in the same way.”  The forgiveness and healing in the room were nearly palpable.  That something extraordinary happened in this plenary was undeniable.  Many stayed for hours to apologize and try to genuinely hear one another past all the prejudicial barriers.  That was September 2005, nearly two years ago and those of us who were there still talk with wide-eyed wonder about this astonishing meeting.  Praise be to God.

            That 2005 conference was the Fourteenth Annual Internal Family Systems Conference in Chicago, IL.  The plenary was entitled “Internal Family Systems Meets Evangelical Christianity.”  My good friend and fellow therapist, Elizabeth Cochran and I were the two Evangelicals on the panel. We were invited to present at this conference by Richard (Dick) Schwartz, Ph.D., the founder of Internal Family Systems (IFS) Therapy.  Not only was I profoundly moved by that plenary experience, but as a Christian therapist and therapy professor I have been greatly enriched by Dick, his therapy model, and many new friends in the IFS community.

            Dick invited me and other believers to speak about our Christianity at the IFS Annual Conferences in 2005 and again in 2006 and 2007.  Now, we have invited him to speak about IFS at the 2007 AACC World Conference.   He and I will co-present a workshop, “Internal Family Systems Therapy Meets Evangelical Christianity: Integration of Diverse Communities and Theories.”  I am delighted to bring Dick Schwartz to AACC for two primary reasons:

1.  I have been a Christian psychotherapist and educator for 30 years and I have found IFS professionally enriching.  (I’ll explain some of the “whys” below.)  I want to pass-on some of these useful “finds” to my brothers and sisters in Christian Counseling.

2.  I have never witnessed a dialogue between two diverse groups as loving, respectful and productive as this has been.  The IFS (non-Christian) community and the Christian counseling community in Jackson, MS have welcomed, listened to and learned from one another in ways that enabled an uncommon integration of Christianity and Psychology.  I would like to see this honest, loving relationship broadened at AACC.


The Mississippi-IFS Experiment


            I am the Clinical Director of and a professor in the Department of Marriage and Family Therapy at Reformed Theological Seminary, Jackson, MS.  Our twenty-two year old program began and remains an MFT program.  However, in recent years we have expanded our curriculum to emphasize more individual psychotherapies making graduates license eligible for both LMFT and LPC (LMHC) state requirements.  In this evolution we searched for a model to help students bridge family systems with more traditional individual theories.  A graduate of our program, Elizabeth Cochran reminded me of Dick Schwartz’s Internal Family Systems Therapy.  She was then attending some extended IFS training.  I knew little about IFS and only knew of Dick Schwartz by reputation.  (In our department we have been using the MFT standard text, Nichols and Schwartz, Family Therapy: Concepts and Methods by Allyn and Bacon for years, and Dick is widely published in the MFT field.  For a sample bibliography and an overview of IFS go to

            The more I learned about IFS the more I found it a helpful theoretical bridge for our departmental needs.  My interest grew as I attended an IFS national conference and then invited Dick to present the plenary for our annual Mississippi MFT conference. 

Eventually, the Christian counseling community here in Mississippi hosted a year-long IFS Level I training.  Twenty religiously, politically conservative evangelical-believer-therapists in the Deep South taught by seven IFS trainers (including Dick Schwartz) for six intensive weekends over the space of one year.  The IFS trainers were definitely neither religiously nor politically conservative, nor evangelical believers.  Their world view was farther left than most of us knew existed.  This was a bold experiment as two communities worked to see past their prejudicial stereotypes.  I was a part of this experiment and I have never seen anything like the loving, respecting integration that was accomplished.  (The IFS trainers actually met with some of us prior to the training with the request, “Teach us about your Christianity so we can better tailor our training to you.”)  We have created lasting friendships, shared our hearts, and fervently discussed the Gospel of Christ with caring respect and genuine dialogue.


The Usefulness of IFS


            I am profoundly thankful to our God for the deep yet diverse IFS relationships He has brought to us.  I am also thankful for IFS theory.  I believe I am a better therapist and professor as a result of learning IFS.  Among IFS’s most interesting and significant contributions are the concepts of:

1.   “Multiplicity” (that mankind’s psyche exists in its natural state as multiple, interacting sub-personalities),

2.   A resource-rich “self” able to observe and lead sub-personalities and

      3.   The application of systems therapy principles to the compound, sub-personality internal world.

None of these concepts is totally new, e.g., internally interacting sub-personalities is seen in Jung’s work and Gestalt Therapy.  However, Schwartz’s refinement of multiplicity, his integration with Structural and Strategic systems theory and his practical articulation and training methods are, in my estimation, truly additive to the psychotherapy field. 

            I have found IFS enriching and useful; however it lacks appraisal and critique from a Christian perspective.  Furthering the spirit of respectful collaboration that has characterized the dialogue of these two diverse communities, it is fitting that my good friend, Dick Schwartz, who does not profess a Christian faith, will be presenting at AACC alongside of me.  He will outline his model, IFS, and I will critique it from a Christian perspective.  Dick will be there listening, responding and continuing our dialogue.




Benner, D. G. & Hill, P. C. (1999). Baker Encyclopedia of Psychology & Counseling. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books.


Berkhof, L. (1987). Summary of Christian Doctrine.  Grand Rapids, MI: WM. B. Eerdmans.


Calvin, J. (1975). Calvin: Institutes of the Christian Religion. Philadelphia: The Westminster Press. 


Chamblin, J. K. (1993). Paul & The Self. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books.


Currid, J. D. (2003). A Study Commentary on Genesis: Vol. 1.  New York: Evangelical Press. 


Dunn, J. D.G., (1998). The Theology of Paul the Apostle. Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans.


Hodge, A. A. (1901). Commentary on the Confession of Faith. Philadelphia: Presbyterian Board of Publication and Sabbath-School Work.


Hoekema, A. A. (1986). Created In God’s Image. Grand Rapids, MI: WM. B. Eerdmans.


Keil, C. F. & Delitzsch, F. (1949). Biblical Commentary on The Old Testament. Grand Rapids, MI: WM. B. Eerdmans.


Laidlaw, J. (1983). The Biblical Doctrine Of Man. U.S.A.: Klock & Klock.


Leenhardt, F. J. (1961). The Epistle to the Romans. New York: The World Publishing  Company.


McCloud, Donald. (1998). A Faith to Live By: Christian Teaching That Makes a Difference. Great

             Britain: Christian Focus Publishers.


Moo, J. M. (1996). The Epistle to the Romans. Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans  Publishing.


Morris, L. (1988). The Epistle to the Romans. Grand Rapids, MI: WM. B. Eerdmans Publishing.


Nichols, M. & Schwartz, R. (2001).  Family therapy, 5th ed. Boston: Allyn and Bacon.


Ridderbos, H. (1975). Paul: An Outline to His Theology. Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans.


Schreiner, T. R. (1998). Romans. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books.


Schwartz, R (1995) Internal Family Systems Therapy. New York: Guilford.


Schwartz, R. C. (2001). Introduction to the Internal Family Systems Model. Oak Park, IL: The Center for Self Leadership.


Schwartz, R. C. (2006). Introductory Workshop. Oak Park. IL: The Center for Self Leadership


Schwartz, R. C. (2007). The Internal Family Systems Model. Retrieved July 30, 2007, from (Copyright Center for Self Leadership).


Schwartz, R. C., Libman, C. & Neve, G. (2003). Self Leadership Training Workbook. Oak Park, IL: The Center for Self Leadership.


Sherlock, C. (1996). The Doctrine of Humanity. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.


Trinity Hymnal. (1995). Suwanee, GA: Great Commission Publications, Inc.


Van Til, C. (1949). An Introduction to Systematic Theology. Philadelphia: unpublished class syllabus, Reformed Thelogical Seminary Library, Jackson MS.


Wells, Paul. (2004). In search of the image of God: Theology of a lost paradigm? Themelios. 30.1.