Introduction to the Internal Family Systems Model

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The Internal Family Systems (IFS) model was developed by Richard Schwartz, Ph.D., over the last 30 years as he learned to set aside his trained assumptions and truly listen to his clients. It is a highly efficient and effective way of guiding clients to a state of inner clarity and compassion, the Self, from which they know how to heal themselves. From the Self, clients are able to calm and transform their troubling inner voices, the critical and anxious chatter, the compulsive distractions, their feelings of vulnerability, inadequacy, and overwhelm. These parts of the psyche are surprisingly responsive and resilient when addressed with respect and patience. They readily forsake their inner battles, and take on valuable inner roles once they are accepted and witnessed.

This application of family systems principles and techniques to inner systems is now widely used internationally in the treatment of trauma and severe diagnoses, as well as in non-clinical applications such as business consulting and meditation practice. IFS offers a way for therapists to make their practice more enjoyable and effective, and less effortful. It also helps them find and heal parts of themselves.

For clients, the healing and reorienting of their “inner families” in an environment of genuine acceptance translates into concrete behavioral change, plus improved ability to relate well to people. IFS is a gentle, yet powerful, healing delivery system that releases the therapist from the need to be clever because it trusts and empowers the client’s Self.

This training will introduce the basic principles and techniques of IFS and illustrate them with experiential exercises and video illustrations. It will be very practical so that participants will walk away with new perspectives and methods for even their most difficult clients.

Learning Objectives

After this workshop, attendees will be able to:

  1. Review the history and development of the IFS model of therapy.
  2. Discuss the basic assumptions of IFS in regard to non-pathological multiplicity of the mind and the concept of SELF.
  3. Review the goals of IFS therapy.
  4. Describe the concept of releasing uncomfortable feelings and beliefs, which allows harmony and balance in the inner system.
  5. Review general knowledge of the 3 categories of sub-personalities that most often present in therapy: Manager parts, Firefighter parts, Exiled parts.
  6. List the dynamics of the three group system.
  7. Review the IFS concept of SELF and its role and effectiveness as a leader in the system.
  8. Discuss and identify the qualities of SELF: curiosity, compassion, confidence, courage, clarity, creativity, connectedness, calmness.
  9. Discuss the power of working with the client’s Self in therapy.
  10. Discuss the benefits of IFS therapy.
  11. Discuss the therapeutic relationship as it applies to the IFS therapist.
  12. Discuss, review, and clarify training material.
  13. Summarize the IFS steps, concepts, and techniques to inform the clinician’s choice of treatment interventions.
  14. Articulate the IFS belief that all parts want something positive for the client and how the parts will use a variety of strategies to gain influence within the internal system.
  15. Compile an alternate view of client symptoms and psychopathology, showing how client’s parts are trying to protect them from emotional and psychological pain for purposes of client psychoeducation.
  16. Demonstrate how IFS translates common comorbidities into parts language, showing a non-pathological perspective of mental health disorders as it relates to clinical treatment.
  17. List 3 protocols of IFS and how to apply them when working with clients who have complex developmental trauma.
  18. Identify and describe the qualities of Self to improve client engagement.
  19. Identify the 7 most common manager fears and how to effectively address each one in session.

Continuing Education Information

PLEASE NOTE: You must RSVP to receive a continuing education certificate. 18.0 continuing education credits or NBCC clock hours are available; no partial credit will be given.

  • The Meadows is an NBCC-Approved Education Provider (ACEP) and may offer NBCC-approved clock hours for events that meet NBCC requirements. The ACEP solely is responsible for all aspects of the program. Provider #5687.
  • This course has been approved by The Meadows, as a NAADAC Approved Education Provider, for 18.0 CE. NAADAC Provider #62791, The Meadows is responsible for all aspects of their programming. Course addresses Counseling Services from NAADAC Counselor Skill Group.
  • The Meadows is approved by the American Psychological Association to sponsor continuing education for psychologists. The Meadows maintains responsibility for this program and its content. Course meets criteria for 18.0 hours of continuing education credit hours for psychologists.

About The Facilitator

Richard Schwartz, PhD, began his career as a family therapist and academic at the University of Illinois at Chicago. There, he discovered that family therapy alone did not achieve full symptom relief, and in asking patients why, he learned that they were plagued by what they called, “parts.” He also found that as they focused on, and thereby separated from, their parts, they would shift into a state characterized by qualities like curiosity, calm, confidence, and compassion. He called that inner essence the Self, and was amazed to find it even in severely diagnosed and traumatized patients. From these explorations, the IFS model was born in the early 1980’s. IFS is now evidence-based and has become a widely used form of psychotherapy, particularly with trauma. It provides a non-pathologizing, optimistic, and empowering perspective, and a practical and effective set of techniques for working with individuals, couples, families, and, more recently, corporations and classrooms. In 2013, Dr. Schwartz left the Chicago area and is now on the faculty of the department of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School.

Daily Schedule

 Daily Schedule    
 1:00 - 5:00 p.m.  Session  includes two 15-minute breaks
 5:00 p.m.  Dinner  
 7:00 - 8:30 a.m.  Breakfast  
 8:30 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.  Session  includes two 15-minute breaks
 12:00 - 1:00 p.m.  Lunch  
 1:00 - 5:00 p.m.  Session  includes two 15-minute breaks
 5:00 - 6:00 p.m.  Dinner  
 6:00 - 8:30 p.m.  Session  
 7:00 - 8:30 a.m.  Breakfast  
 8:30 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.  Session  includes two 15-minute breaks
 12:00 - 1:00 p.m.  Lunch  
 1:00 - 4:00 p.m.  Session  includes one 15-minute break

18.0 Continuing Education

2019 Dates

 April 26 - 28    


REGISTRATION - SOLD OUT (w/o Lodging & Transportation)

REGISTER w/ Lodging & Transportation - SOLD OUT

or call 602-740-2565


Rio Retreat Center at The Meadows
1245 Jack Burden Road
Wickenburg, Arizona 85390


Registration including lodging and transportation (limited spaces available)
Cost is $1,500 a person, all inclusive of two meals Friday, three meals Saturday, two meals Sunday, lodging at Rio Retreat Bunkhouse, and ground transportation from and back to the Phoenix Airport.

Registration without lodging and transportation (limited spaces available)
Cost is $1,350 a person, all inclusive of two meals Friday, three meals Saturday, two meals Sunday.

Cancelation Policy

We rely on accurate attendance count to make important ar-rangements for this training. If a cancellation occurs 14 or more days prior to the start of the training, a full refund, less a $200 administrative fee, will be issued. Cancellations less than 14 days before the beginning date of the training are non-refundable. If you have to cancel your attendance, please contact our Intake Department at 800-244-4949 as soon as possible.

Contact The Rio Retreat Center

Intensive Workshops • Facilitating Healing • Empowering Emotional Growth

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