Frequently Asked Questions about LIM Intensive Systems TherapyTM (IST)

  1. Who organizes or coaches IST sessions?
    • Those who have completed IST Certification can organize and coach IST sessions.
    • Those who have training in Cognitive Behavior Therapy and have studied the IST training materials can organize and coach IST sessions.
    • Significant members of an individual's primary social group: family members, team leaders, program specialists, pastors, etc. who want to increase an individual’s capacity for logic, problem solving and interpersonal relationships.
    • Psychologists, Licensed Social Workers and Licensed Counselors can use IST as the basic framework for therapy with individuals or groups.
    • Agencies who are interested in adopting a program model based on skill development for logical thinking, problem solving and interpersonal relationships.
  2. Why choose IST as a treatment strategy?
    • Practical. IST has concrete protocols that are clearly formatted. These protocols have time limit expectations of an hour or fifteen minutes. They can be completed in almost any setting with almost no additional equipment.
    • Skill Based. Specific cognitive and interpersonal skills are rehearsed within protocols.
    • Empowering. Protocols promote individual leadership and skill practice in a safe environment.
    • Flexible. The frequency of protocol practice is determined by the needs of the individual and the environment. Strategies specific to the needs of the individual or the environment can be easily incorporated.
    • Accessible. Everyone can learn IST through exposure and participation.
    • Stabilizing. IST provides a common pattern of interaction and a common language for communication which regulates chaotic social units, chaotic individuals and chaotic interpersonal relationships between social units and individuals.
  3. Who benefits from IST?
    • Individuals who are in conflict with their environment and are at risk of harm to self or others.
    • Individuals who react emotionally rather than use logic and reason to problem solve and find themselves in distress.
    • Individuals who lack the social skills to meaningfully participate in satisfying relationships within the primary social unit. They may feel abandoned, isolated or threatened by other relationships within the primary social unit.
    • Primary social units that are in conflict or are disorganized.
    • Primary social units reacting to an individual’s distress with either pure emotion or pure logic.
    • Primary social units using social skills more appropriate to other settings.
    • Primary social units using social skills that are out of sync with the developmental stage of the individual.
    • Primary social units who desire a better fit with their community.
  4. Who rejects IST?
    • Individuals who are not ready for change or are not willing to try something new.
    • Members of the primary social unit who are not ready for change or willing to try something new.
  5. Who is invited to participate in IST?
    • Those people who have a meaningful interpersonal relationship with the individual (the primary social unit) can be invited by the individual to join IST. The titles that people carry are left outside the IST sessions. Everyone participates in IST as an equal.
    • Some people participate in IST every session and some people participate when they can or as they are invited. Most people participate most of the time.
  6. Who keeps notes during IST sessions?
    • Notes are kept on the IST Session Form by the individual leading the group or someone designated by the individual leading the group.
    • It is sometimes helpful to supply the individual with a printed alphabet to aid in letter formation.
    • It is sometimes helpful to start out using a larger writing surface such as a white board, chalk board or post-it easel.
  7. When would a specialist be needed in an IST group?
    • A special advisor is helpful when an individual presents with acute distress caused by disorders requiring some specific support, for example Fetal Alcohol Syndrome or Borderline Personality Disorder. A specialist could contribute knowledge about the disorder that will guide understanding of cognitive or interpersonal or biological issues interfering with the acquisition of skills.
  8. What skills does an IST trainer need?
    • An IST trainer needs a LIM Intensive Systems Therapy Group Leader Certification and an IST Train the Trainer Certification.
    • An IST trainer needs to be familiar with basic developmental theory.
    • An IST trainer needs to have sufficient mastery of “I” Statements, Fact Checking, and Guided Discovery to explain these techniques with a variety of clear examples.
    • An IST trainer needs to have a good understanding of the problems associated with the community served by the provider; e.g., individuals with Intellectual Disability, community mental health needs, community employment needs.
    • An IST trainer needs to understand and respect the power of the primary social group and the fundamental need of all human beings to recognize the social group to which they belong and to be recognized as belonging in return.
  9. Can IST support more than one individual in an environment?
    • It is possible to support two or three people from the same environment in one IST protocol. It is sometimes beneficial to do so when the individuals are in conflict with one another and their conflict creates splitting in the primary social unit. It is recommended that an outside coach support this process to establish neutrality and maintain perspective until the distress is resolved.
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