Julie Honeycutt, MMFT, NCC, LMHC, LPC is National Board Certified Counselor licensed in Michigan, Massachusetts, Tennessee, and Virginia.
She is a certified IFS therapist (2011) and completed Level 3 IFS training in 2008 under the teaching of the founder and creator of IFS, Dr. Schwartz (see Julie with Dick below at her L-3 training) and is an IFS-I Approved Clinical Consultant for those seeking IFS certification.
Julie’s integration of IFS and the Judeo-Christian worldview began in 2004 while finishing her integration of faith & counseling degree at Reformed Theological Seminary. She had the unique experience of going through Levels 1 & 2 IFS training solely with other like-minded Christians, including spiritual directors, pastors, professors, and theologians. Together with the IFS trainers and founder, Dick Schwartz, space was given to wrestle with where the IFS model of therapy does not align with the Christian worldview and discover the aspects of the model that compliment and enhance one’s Christian faith.
How I learned about IFS and the ways that shaped my use of IFS as a Christian Dr. Schwartz & Julie 2008
God bless the trainers, Cece Sykes, Karen Blicher, Dick Schwartz, and Paul Ginter for having the courage to come down to Jackson, Mississippi to teach a group of Evangelical Christians the IFS model. Not only were they brave, they were compassionate toward our religious and theological parts. They did a beautiful job of holding a lot of sacred space for our parts that needed to ask hard questions and wrestle with where IFS didn’t line up with our faith, and of course, explore where IFS does line up. Most of what I learned in those years, I hope to share with you here throughout my website, in a way that honors all those who’ve been my teachers.
In 2004, twenty religiously, politically conservative evangelical therapists in the Deep South (Mississippi) were trained in IFS for six intensive weekends over the space of one year. This Level-1 training was highly successful on many levels. The trainers were gracious with us and we had lots of questions. It was also successful in teaching us how IFS can enhance our faith and help us grow in our relationship with the Lord and as a result, additional trainings formed.
During the three years that conservative, evangelical therapists were being trained in IFS, Dr. Richardson and Elizabeth Cochran were invited to the 14th annual IFS conference in 2005 in Chicago to be on a plenary panel discussion titled, "Internal Family Systems Meets Evangelical Christianity." They shared their story of the impact of IFS on their Christian community and during the open discussion, there was an incredible unburdening experience as people shared about their hurtful experiences with Evangelical Christians followed by apologies for stereotyping all Evangelical Christians as hurtful people. This was a trail that was blazed again in 2006 and 2007 at the conferences, creating a shift in the IFS community toward conservative Christians.
After those years of teaching Evangelical Christians the IFS model, Dr. Schwartz and Dr. Bill Richardson co-presented at the American Association of Christian Counselors (AACC) conference in 2007. Their workshop was titled, "Internal Family Systems Therapy Meets Evangelical Christianity: Integration of Diverse Communities and Theories."
For the next decade, Mary Steege and myself were the only Christians presenting at the IFS conference with fewer participants each year so, it felt to us that Christianity was growing thin in the IFS community and somewhat hostile. In 2017, John Schwartz (yes, Dick's brother) was the executive director of, what was called then, the Center for Self Leadership, and is now called, the IFS-Institute. John organized a diversity panel to speak at one of the plenary session titled, Marginalized Populations in the IFS Community, and I was invited to represent the conservative Christian community on that panel. This experience led to the formation of the Diversity and Inclusion Committee. While this committee eventually took on a new agenda in its efforts to be inclusive of the marginalized within the IFS community, I am very grateful to Dick and John for including the voice of Christians along the way.
IFS wasn’t heard of by many therapists when I moved back to Nashville in 2007; however, now IFS is international, research based, and being taught in universities as part of the basic curriculum in most counseling programs. I say all that because when I moved back to Nashville, I fell into introducing IFS to therapists because I wanted like-minded Christian colleagues around me like I had in Mississippi. I’ve been introducing the model to Christians ever since because this model and method of healing is so effective in creating a contemplative space for each of us to encounter God’s presence in the midst of our struggles.
Some of my integration mentors and my earliest influences include Bill Richardson, Elizabeth Cochran, Jim Hurely, Cindy Christian, Carol Hollandsworth, Karen Blicher, Cece Sykes, Dick Schwartz, Paul Ginter, Chris Burris, Gidget Stewart, David Walley, John Oliver, James Honeycutt (yes, my husband), and so many more.
Some of my integration influences include, Larry Crabb, Richard Foster, Gerald May, Henri Nouwen, Peter Scazzero, Russ Harris, Jean-Claude Larchett, Stephen Muse, and Karl Lehman. While I haven't had the opportunity to interact with them, their writings have been highly influential.
Other Christian specific training and experiences that influence the way I use IFS include the American Association of Pastoral Counseling and Spiritual Direction.
My training and clinical supervision through the American Association of Pastoral Counseling (AAPC) from 2004 through 2006 included 3 units of Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) preparing me for group work in ways I was only later able to discover the fullest value of that experience. The facilitators of the AAPC program in Jackson, MS were Jungian analysts, one with an Object Relations emphasis. Both helped me learn more about integrating Jungian psychology with Christian worldview and given the multiplicity nature of Jungian psychology, this program further enriched my understanding of parts on an interpersonal level.
My spiritual direction journey began in 2009 with Gidget Stewart in Hendersonville, TN. Through experiencing spiritual direction with her one-on-one and at retreats, I saw early on in my journey how psychology and Christian soul care/spiritual formation go hand in hand in a real-life way outside of the counseling office. Gidget taught me and modeled the relevancy of how our soul and mind impact our relationship with God and others. Over the years, I've had various spiritual directors from a variety of Christian denominations so I'd be remised not to mention those experiences here because of how those experiences and relationships have informed how I use IFS with Christians.
I'm grateful for the path the Lord has led me on and look forward to future chapters.
What my Credentials Mean
MMFT- Masters in Marriage and Family Therapy
NCC- National Certified Counselor
LMHC- Licensed Mental Health Counselor (A Massachusetts specific credential.)
LPC- Licensed Professional Counselor
MHSP- Mental Health Service Provider (A Tennessee specific credential.)
IFS-I ACC- Approved Clinical Consultant through the IFS Institute
IFS- Internal Family Systems
Certified IFS Therapist
Note: Honeycutt Counseling, LLC is not responsible for the content, claims, or representations of the listed sites or resources.