Milestones, Photos & Fall IFS Consult Groups!

Sep 10, 2021 | Newsletters


Hello friends near and far,

(You’ll want to display images if you haven’t seen them on Facebook or Instagram. I’ve reposted details for those who aren’t on social media, although you’ll always see more photos there. This is an unusually long mailing, since it’s been awhile with much good news to share! Skim or read in stages if needed. The next mailing will be much simpler! I’m still searching for a simpler way to share photos and tales with you–perhaps in a Blog format posted on my website. Recommendations are welcome!)

IFS Clinicians, Click the button for details on upcoming Fall IFS Consultation Groups. They’re filling up and start soon!

A drizzling, cool morning in the dense woods of upstate New York brings a deeper connection to those of you in the Eastern time zone. Normally, I’m wired to wake up with a wave of panic–thousands of miles west in Washington state–knowing the rest of the country (and world, it seems) is at least three hours into their day– already awake, nearly asleep! Hurry, Laura, get that mailing out before everyone signs off for the day. It’s already lunchtime in Boston! Friends and family across the pond are headed to bed! C’mon, get on it! (Sending this now at 6pm ET means this is all likely true! And so it goes…)

I remind my hard-working, internal managers that the purpose of this mini-sabbatical of sorts is to Pause. Expand. Connect. Restore.

While I hoped and tried for weeks to get a mailing out, the bandwidth simply wasn’t there. Spending time with precious family and long distance friends has taken priority–a gift I’ve waited years and years to finally enjoy and not just survive. All will be well whenever this is sent. It will have to be, right?

An exhausting, stressful pandemic year+ as a mental health provider and supervisor culminated with my husband’s traumatic accident in March — just as we were emerging from the dark Covid cave of isolation and restrictions.

My internal system made it very clear earlier this summer that I needed an extended Pause from computer, work and emotional demands as soon as I could responsibly create one.

As many of you know, I’m passionate about all of us prioritizing stepping away from our daily demands to Pause and Restore. The reason I sleep so soundly and am so fully restored when I camp off the grid is because my conscientious managers can FINALLY relax. There aren’t any tasks or expectations they can tend to while backpacking in the wilderness, days from civilization. My constant challenge is to integrate small bits of off-the-grid-peace into an ordinary day. Good luck, I know!

For all of us–not just the artists, athletes, writers, musicians, teachers and academics–stepping away from the screen, the desk, the instrument, the public, the prescribed regimen is just as important for the creative process and balance as producing, training and working.

Many of my most creative brainstorms and clearest decisions have come while pausing, usually outside in nature. Years ago as a professional cyclist , some of the most beneficial bike rides were the “laa dee dah” rides that initially seemed like a waste of time. I eventually learned to trust that these long, easy miles were essential for recovery from competing at such an extreme level.

(n.b.Thank you all for your kindness, patience and support after Erik’s awful accident. His recovery has been remarkably swift and he returned to teaching Philosophy students in person last week at Gonzaga University! Yes, I’m coaching, encouraging and protecting him from the side-lines, whenever he’ll listen. ūüôā He is tough, committed to healing and has his own set of superpowers! We are infinitely grateful and humbled by how lucky, spared, graced and protected he ultimately was.)

I’ve experienced much since my last mailing. I have been on quite a sojourn–traversing 2800 miles solo across our massive country, experiencing brain-healing victories, professional milestones and sacred re-connections with family, friends and colleagues. Visiting friends in their homes and hanging out with more than one person at a time, for longer than an hour or two had been nearly impossible for years. Once my brain had healed enough for me to begin planning visits with distant friends and family, Covid shut those plans down, yet again. So I waited and waited some more…until now!

I couldn’t drive myself a half a mile for months when I first got hurt. (Brain injury in ’10 from a bike crash if we’re newly connected). Traveling in a moving car faster than 20mph (due to visual, auditory and vestibular filtering challenges) has been rough for years…as well as navigating, logistics, trip planning and problem solving. (like what to do when your phone doesn’t work for the 3 days between Montana and Indiana?!)

I drove for days under a smoke-filled, invisible sky in July from Eastern Washington to Massachusetts (land of my birth!). whee, oof, ouch, yow is right! More to share about that journey another time. I have lots of tips! You can enjoy more details and photos on my professional Facebook wall (Laura Schmidt Lmft).

I’m currently working remotely with creative, portable workspace adaptations– thanks to generous friends who are sharing quiet, private space and reliable internet. I’ve been surprised by all the memories and the somatic responses associated with traveling the rolling, forested roads I spent so much time biking and driving on while racing in the Northeast.

On our Oregon trip Left Coast trip in June, I went all out for a victory leap in my patron saint, WonderWoman’s garb (that I never wear at once, but when you’re 50, who cares?!). She’s carried me through scary brain challenges and into a life not entirely dictated by an injured brain.

I’m full of gratitude, awe and wonder over where nearly a decade of perseverance, patience, determination, self-compassion, humility, heartbreak, brain healing and infinite support from my spouse and community has finally brought me.

I have had to dig deeper than I ever knew possible–over and over and over again–but here we are with a wonder woman victory leap on the Pacific Ocean followed by a surreal sunset swim the first night I arrived on Cape Cod–after more long days of driving than I will ever repeat. I couldn’t have dreamed of a more perfect arrival.

I’ve learned over the years that if you don’t push yourself out of your comfort zone, you’ll never know what you are capable of. This is what this trip has meant to me: once again, step into fear to touch victory.

(Erik gets credit for these magical photos. We chuckle when he captures the leap in one shutter click. How is this possible? I will never know!)

I stayed with family on Cape Cod and had the privilege and honor of serving as Faculty Assistant to our intrepid IFS founder, mentor, colleague and friend, Dr. Richard Schwartz. Dick has taught a week-long IFS Introduction to therapists at the Cape Cod Institute the past 20 summers, save 2020.

The eve before the workshop, Erik and I shared a takeout seafood dinner with Dick at his faculty digs on the bay. We were graced with another magical sunset at low tide. wow is right!

The photo of the 3 of us is especially meaningful, as it represents the first meeting for Dick and Erik, after my “accidental” IFS discovery in 2008. They’ve heard a lot about each other over the years! IFS has had a huge impact on our marriage and our lives.

I wouldn’t be where I am or who I am without the support and belief from these two men. The last 13 years have had their share of victories and challenges, but here we are, celebrating friendship, healing (on many levels), connection, laughter and anticipation of a week full of IN-PERSON teaching, collaboration, learning and discovery!

My adventurous parts decided to suggest a paddle with Dick the next afternoon in this gorgeous bay. We had to time it carefully with the tides or we’d get stuck–stepping and sinking through mud back to shore–just a slight concern since I had never paddled here. (Whose idea was this?!)

It took a little while to locate PFDs (life jackets) and Dick wondered if we really needed them for such a mellow paddle.

What do you think I said?

Yeah, I’m not heading out into the ocean with Dick Schwartz without PFDs. (they’re in the boat–our compromise : ) My ONLY job was to get him back safely. I don’t think I’ve ever been so nervous about my cargo. That’s usually Erik’s job, but he taught me well!

We did alright in a serene, welcoming bay. The wind didn’t pick up and the tide cooperated. Yes, we wore sunscreen which made me laugh, as you’ll see. I’ve always appreciated Dick’s playful, real, non-pretentious parts. I didn’t intend to share them publicly, but he said go for it. The ocean brings joy, doesn’t it?!

Our first in-person (fully masked and double vaccinated) workshop in 16 months was a gift to all of us in so many ways. Administration was incredibly careful and vigilant about Covid protocols. The class also included 60 students online, which gave faculty a great technical challenge to keep this ship floating smoothly!

My parts are still giddy over this opportunity and my brain healing to be able to not only attend and assist in the morning workshop, but then to lead 3 private individual IFS sessions each afternoon with students (who are therapists). For most, this was their first direct IFS experience.

I was blown away by their openness, motivation and the sacred work that transpired on the school campus under old oak trees, on simple classroom chairs, with just a notepad, a box of tissues and a bottle of bug spray. My therapist parts were energized, encouraged and invigorated. I couldn’t imagine wanting to be anywhere else in this world. I celebrated the end of each long day with a run along the mighty Atlantic ocean and a salty, cold swim.

Dick and I have come full circle. I first attended this workshop as a student my “first IFS summer” in 2008. I still remember the demo I participated in with my long time IFS mentor Mary Kruger when I embodied my anorexic client’s restrictive eating disorder part while she worked with the part (direct access). This demo transformed my career, this client’s life and still gives me goosebumps recalling it. I remember it like it was yesterday.

I attended the Institute again in 2013 (as a small group leader) but was in survival mode during the class–at the back of this same room, wearing a visor and sunglasses to shield from the awful lights. I couldn’t run a mic (too hard to keep track of all of that (believe it or not). I had to quickly flee at breaks because the multiple, simultaneous conversations were too overwhelming for a brain that could not filter much of anything. After leading small groups each afternoon, I had to rest alone to recover for the next day.

I have fought my way back to my career, to a powerful, inclusive framework I believe in, and to a community I love and hold so dear. Here’s to persistence, patience and healing!

It’s my deepest honor and joy to get to teach and share this life changing practice of love and self compassion with students, clinicians and healers. I shake my head nearly every day in awe over how transformative IFS truly is. This framework is changing the world, one part and one Self at a time. I’m so grateful to Dick for the amazing opportunity to work with him and his students. He was pretty excited to be back in the classroom, as you’ll see from his Back to School photo below!

If you made it this far, thanks for reading and for celebrating with me! I can’t wait to see what lies ahead and am thrilled to carry all this Self energy and momentum into my Fall Consultation Groups, which I’ve invested half a century preparing for!

Let’s do this and make our world and our relationships as Self led, compassionate and open-hearted as we possibly can!

Laura’s warmth, grace and professionalism, as well as her superior knowledge of IFS, fostered a more comprehensive and wholesome training. Truly, it would not have been the same without her.

DK, LCSW – Cape Cod Institute Aug’ 21


IFS Therapists & Practitioners!
Find support and connection with IFS colleagues.
Expand your own Self energy, presence, confidence and direct experience of IFS.

  4 meetings. Monthly. 90 minutes. 5-7 group members.  

We begin the last week of September, then continue the 3rd weeks of October, November and December. 
Group Details, Dates and Times are listed on Application Page. 

Applying also includes you on my mailing list for updates, early registration, etc.
6H Group IFS Certification hours (if needed)
Pacific Time Zone (Seattle)
All Groups are for Level 1+ / Stepping Stone grads except one for non Level 1 Grads Tues 3pm PT.

After 23 years as a family systems therapist, I am passionate about helping healers be more energized, efficient and effective. I work with healers motivated to integrate IFS more fully into their lives.

Consultation groups connect healing professionals, increase Self leadership, confidence and competence in applying the Model.  Your group experience offers support and validation for hard-working and weary Therapist Parts. 

Groups include guided meditation, group sharing, didactic teaching, Q&A, experiential exercises, case consultation and direct experience with the Model if I work with you and your parts directly.

We have much to look forward to in our 6 hours together. I appreciate your curious, skeptical and persistent parts and hope you can join us!

What Summer IFS Consultation Group Members said:

“It was good to know that other practitioners experience the same fears and obstacles as me — I’m not alone!”

“This sort of group provides the support you need to feel more confident and use IFS as a therapist, and just plainly supports you as a therapist and a human being.” Anna, Kalamazoo, Michigan

“This group quickly builds safety with other participants so that we can be vulnerable and share from the heart which opens the door to deep learning.”

“Laura is so warm and safe. You will feel supported and held with her and her group.”

Refer a colleague who joins a group and receive a $25 thank you!

Time Zone converter: All groups in Pacific Time Zone (Seattle)

For all technical, registration questions, please email

Thank you for the kindness, honesty and compassion you bring to your communities! 

Please reach out if you have any questions or input.  I look forward to seeing some of you in a Consultation group!