IFS Training FAQs

FAQs about the Internal Family Systems Training Programs from IFS Institute website – amended for the official IFS Australian events to cover general and specific information about IFS trainings.

  1. How do I benefit from becoming an IFS therapist?
    Those who have completed any of the official IFS training programs and have implemented IFS in their practices report enormous job satisfaction for themselves and their clients. IFS has a growing profile due to recognition by experts working with trauma, families and adolescents, addictions, somatic and body work, mindfulness and relational approaches. In addition, some private practitioners who use IFS with their clients report that their referral base has broadened substantially and their practices have dramatically improved overall.
  2. Are IFS workshops or telecourses the same as IFS Trainings?
    No. Official IFS training programs provide comprehensive training and experience in the IFS therapeutic model. Upon completion of each level of training, participants are prepared to work as IFS therapists, having gained a breadth of knowledge and understanding about the way in which IFS enhances their lives, the lives of their clients, and others. Workshops and telecourses are generally shorter events that serve as brief introductions or elaborations to aspects of the IFS model.
  3. Who participates in IFS training programs?
    While the natural and predominant constituency for IFS trainings is the professional mental health care community, others frequently participate in and benefit from IFS trainings, including Master’s and Doctoral students in the healing arts and sciences, pastoral counselors, business and academic professionals, dance and art therapists, body workers, those from the public seeking personal and spiritual growth, and anyone seeking a community of like-minded individuals. Level 1 training programs are open to everyone. Those seeking intensive psychotherapeutic experiences or who are actively in therapy for complex trauma (or similar) are not recommended to attend. Participants need to have successfully completed a Level 1 training in order to enroll in a Level 2 training, and those who wish to enroll in a Level 3 training need to have successfully completed a Level 2 program.
  4. How do I apply to a training?
    You can apply by filling and submitting the online application. Please visit the website page that lists the training you are interested in for more information. Current IFS in Australia workshop ticketing available on Eventbrite
    Enrollment is confirmed on a) confirmation and b) payment of deposit, plus upkeep of any agreed schedule of payments.
  5. Can I reserve a space in a training without submitting my completed application?
    Acceptance into the training is determined by the application review process, and payment of the deposit. Only those who have submitted a completed application and paid a deposit, and make payments in accordance with the agreed arrangements may be considered holding a reserved place.
  6. Can I apply if I’m not a therapist?
    Yes. While the majority of participants are therapists and counselors, we welcome participation from anyone who has a personal or professional interest in learning the IFS model and who has a sincere commitment to the process of doing so.
  7. When will I know whether or not I’ve been accepted?
    Once we receives your completed application, it generally takes 2-4 weeks to review and finalize it. You will be notified by email at that time. Note that a few applicants have reported that emails go to their spam folders, so please check your in-box before sending a followup email to prompt. Acceptance at IFS trainings is at the discretion of the trainer and organiser.
  8. How much does the training cost?
    Tuition: Please review the training’s web page for fees information. Participants pay for their own room lodging and meals in addition to the training fee at each venue – or in some trainings there is the option to live-out . Please carefully read the trainings offerings before booking.
    Readings: It is recommended to purchase some reading materials ahead of your training. Information about these can be found on the page below and are available through the e-store listing on the IFSI website. Printed materials including a folder and manual are supplied on day 1 of the workshop.
  9. Are tuition payment plans available?
    Yes. Indicate your wish for this on the online application form. Interested participants are invited to email for further information and to submit the online form via the REGISTER button on this page, noting request for a payment plan. The training team will review and reply to you within 15 business days with the invoice. To hold the place pay the full fee amount, or the non-refundable deposit and remainder in 30 days. If you need longer to please pay the deposit upfront then request a payment plan on the registration form – note this adds 5% to the sum total. All part-payments must be completed by the due date, or as arranged. Non-payment may see your place withdrawn, at the discretion of the organisers.
  10. When will my payment be expected?
    Please pay the non-refundable deposit as part of the application process, and the remainder after you are accepted into your training within 30 days. If you arrange a payment plan please do make agreed payments on time according to the agreed schedule. No place can be held if fees are not paid by due dates, including payment plans. Please do advise if you are having difficulties making payments.
  11. Is financial assistance available?
    We offer a limited number of tuition bursaries and discounts for each Australian IFS course, targeting indigenous practitioners and community workers. Application is reviewed after a participant is accepted into the training program for which s/he desires scholarship assistance. Please download the form (link below) and submit this when you make your application. The maximum individual scholarship award is 25% of the full fees payable. Please submit the form (below) detailing your situation and let us know about full-time student/ hardship/ diversity or other circumstance. All applications will be considered and no correspondence will be entered.
  12. Do I have to pay the full tuition if I am going to miss some of my training?
    Yes. Tuition is set for the training as a whole, and everyone in the training is allowed to miss only minimal training time if you are to be certified. If you plan to miss any substantial portion of the training it is highly recommended you speak first with the organiser as it may mean you do not complete sufficient hours to receive the certificate of completion.
  13. What does having the Certificate of Completion mean?
  14. When you earn a Certificate of Completion at the end of your training, you may:
    – Apply for the next level of training;
    – Request a listing on the IFSI website’s IFS Practitioner Directory (under “Find an IFS Therapist”)
    – Request a listing on the Australian IFSA website’s Practitioner Directory (under “Find an IFS Therapist”)
    – Apply to become a Program Assistant; and
    – Consider becoming certified as an IFS Therapist or IFS Practitioner.
  15. How many hours of my training do I need to complete to be eligible for a Certificate of Completion?
    In order to be eligible for an IFSI Certificate of Completion, a participant needs to attend a minimum number of training and supervison hours offered for the Level. Please visit the Certification area of the IFSI website or email certification@selfleadership.org for full information.
  16. What if I miss more than the maximum number of hours allowed?
    You may continue to participate in your training, but you will not be eligible to receive the Certificate of Completion.
  17. Can I make up days I miss by going to another training?
    No, and this is due to the group dynamics that develop within each training. In addition, staffing levels and site arrangements are particular to each training, and temporary increases in enrollment while a training is running cannot be accommodated.
  18. Are there make-up sessions or material if I miss part of my training?
    No, but you should be sure to read the section of your training manual related to the time you missed and contact someone in the training to learn what took place.
  19. Will I be a Certified IFS Therapist or Certified IFS Practitioner by completing my training?
    In order to become certified, you must successfully complete the IFS Certification process, in addition to attending the training. Please visit the Certification area of the IFSI website or contact certification@selfleadership.org to learn more about the criteria and procedures for becoming certified.
  20. Who will be the trainer at my training?
    An endorsed Senior Trainer will lead the Australian certification trainings (see the webflyer).
  21. Who leads the trainings?
    Level 1 and 2 trainings are led by qualified and experienced therapists associated with IFSI over years, who have a wide array of IFS experience as therapists and who have been extensively trained as IFS Level 1 and/or Level 2 trainers. Dr. Richard Schwartz, developer of the IFS model and founder of IFSI or Senior Trainer Toni Herbine Blank usually lead the Level 3 training program.
  22. What are the Learning Objectives of the trainings?
    Learning objectives covered in this IFSI Level One IFS retreat style learning curriculum are overviewed here. For a complete listing of training learning objectives, please contact The Institute for Continuing Education at instconted@aol.com.
  23. Training postponement and cancellation. 
    The IFS Institute, Inc. (“IFSI”) and/or the Australian organizer reserves the right to postpone, cancel or otherwise change any training program schedule prior to the beginning of its first weekend. At no time is IFSI nor the Australian organizer responsible for training students’ travel, lodging, or incidental expenses. The right is reserved to substitute training staff or make other teaching arrangements whenever necessary without obligation to students enrolled in the training program. The Organiser will however pay the cost of your travel insurance on sighting the receipts and policy document.
    The IFS Institute, Inc. (“IFSI”) and/or the Australian organizer reserves the right to ask a participant to leave the training if it’s considered that person’s behaviours disruptive, untoward or inappropriate for the group learning in a professional training. Any refunds will be made on a pro-rata basis, at the discretion of the organiser.
  24. Program Assistants work with Level 1 and Level 2 participants under the guidance of the Lead and/or Assistant Trainers. Program Assistants have, at a minimum, completed the Level of training for which they are PAs. Usually there is one PA for every 3 participants. We aim for a mixture of experienced international and local PAs for each training.
  25. What is the schedule of trainings?
    Session and daily schedules are listed on the training’s program plan, released within 4 weeks of the workshop. Usually training commences at 9am and concludes by 545pm. Teleconferences run in Australian Eastern time 9-11am or 4-6pm on Saturdays, dates as indicated in the webflyer.
  26. What materials are required for a training?
    For the Level 1 see the recommended textbook list below:
  • Internal Family Systems Therapy by Schwartz RC and Sweezy M (1995/2019) Guilford Press
  • Introduction to the Internal Family Systems Model by Schwartz RC (2001) The Centre for Self Leadership
  • Mosaic Mind: Empowering the Tormented Selves of Child Abuse Survivors, by Goulding, RA, and Schwartz, RC (2002) The Centre for Self Leadership

Additionally recommended (recently published and available at the IFS online store)
Internal Family Systems Skills Training Manual: Trauma-Informed Treatment for Anxiety, Depression, PTSD and Substance Abuse, by Anderson, FG, Sweezy M, and Schwartz, RC. (2017) PESI

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