Internal Family Systems has become so highly regarded that the IFS Institute has not been able to keep up with demand for IFS training. Thus, many coaches, therapists, and other practitioners are looking for ways to learn to deeply embody the IFS model. There is no shortage of blogs, books, and workshops that can teach you what IFS is all about, what steps to follow, and how to handle specific topics. However, learning IFS is not just a cognitive pursuit. Time spent practicing the model as facilitator and experiencing the model as client is crucial. So I’ll keep a list here of IFS learning opportunites that include a practice component.
I’ve done my best to tell what kind of practice is included in each course, but if I’ve made an error or you’d like for me to add to this list, contact me at presley[at]partswithpresley[dot]com.
IFS Classes with a Practice Component
I’ve given the amount of time each participant is in the therapist/practitioner role when I know it, but note that in addition to the value of time spent as therapist/practitioner, there is value in being the client, in being an observer, and in getting opportunities for Q&A.
- IFSCA’s Stepping Stones, Stepping In, and Stepping Out: 16-week course limited to 20 people. The course is divided into four modules. In each module, there is one meeting of the whole cohort for teaching and demos, one meeting for supervised practice, one meeting for unsupervised practice, and one meeting of the whole cohort for Q&A.
- David Stern’s Thinking Heart: 16-week course. 4 weeks are dedicated to supervised practice and 4 to unsupervised practice. The course is divided into four modules. In each module, there is one meeting of the whole cohort for teaching and demos, one meeting for supervised practice, one meeting for unsupervised practice, and one meeting of the whole cohort for Q&A and demos.
- Rennie Grayson’s IFS Basics 3: 7-week course. 4 weeks are dedicated to pair work and demos, 3 weeks are dedicated to unsupervised triads.
- Bonnie Weiss and Jay Earley’s Advanced IFS Professional Groups: ongoing (3+ months) biweekly course. Meetings include supervised practice, and unsupervised practice is done as homework.
- Brian Jaudon’s IFS-informed Coaching Peer Development Groups: 9-week course limited to 8 people. The course is dedicated to whole-group supervised practice. Each participant will be in the coach role twice and client role twice during the series (25 min practice sessions). Brian also offers training in a coaching modality that blends IFS with other modalities at the Pisgah Coaching Institute.
- Risa Adams and Marina Hazen’s IFS Intro Course: 48-hour course with 15 hours of supervised triad practice.
- The Play Clinic’s Parts Work in Play Training: 10-week course with facilitated practice groups
- Kendhal Hart’s IFS Foundations Masterclass: 11-week course, with 3 of the weeks dedicated to supervised triad practice.
Other ways to deepen your understanding
In addition to classes, there are many other ways to prepare. Getting to know your own parts allows you to stay in Self during sessions. You may also find that arranging your own peer practice will complement the practice you get in classes. Class-based practice often gives you exposure to a variety of systems, while working with one practice partner for several sessions is more likely to give you practice following the entire process.
- Receive your own IFS coaching or therapy.
- Work with your parts on your own.
- Do meditations that bring you into Self.
- Watch IFS demos.
- Practice with peers.
- Join a peer consultation group.
- Hire an IFS therapist or practitioner for consultation.
- Hire an IFS therapist or practitioner to supervise your practice sessions.