Cultivating a Growing IFS Trainer Community

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At the heart of every IFS training, workshop or program is the IFS trainer.  As demand for IFS education has grown, so have our efforts to expand the community of trainers dedicated to making IFS Institute’s educational experiences transformational.  

It takes a LOT to be an IFS trainer.  Our trainers bring a range of expertise to their roles.  They have deep experience using the model with clients in their clinical practices.  They bring this experience to their roles as trainers in many ways, including providing insights into specific client situations or on a particular step in the model.  

In addition to using the model with clients, our trainers have gained expertise in teaching the model through their experiences as Program Assistants, Assistant Trainers and in many cases as part of our formal development processes which we will describe in more detail below. Trainers are also skilled at holding a group process for the participants and the training staff.  With approximately 50 people involved in each training, that requires a great deal of Self energy.  To quote Cece Sykes “Our trainers don’t just teach the model, they are the model”.   

Finally, our trainers are mentors. They mentor participants and they mentor staff, and we are grateful for all the work they do.    

As we work to provide more transparency and communication around the work at IFS Institute, we’re pleased to share insights into the investments being made and the work being done by the IFS Institute Talent Management department to develop more trainers while maintaining the integrity of the IFS Model across our learning events.  

The seeds of this process were planted several years ago, when demand for IFS Level 1 training had just begun to swell.  Our Talent Management department has initiated multiple learning development pathways to move candidates through the trainer track levels.  


In 2022 IFS Institute invested $50,000 in mentorship programs for trainer development, and in 2023 the organization is on track to invest over $120,000. These mentorship opportunities include our Assistant Trainer Mentee, Co-lead Mentee, and Solo Trainer program. Mentorship is an added connection for those actively training a group of participants and fosters a close connection for consultation and supervision. These programs are designed to accelerate promotion along the trainer pathway.  

Development Programs 

Specific programs have also been created to increase diversity and globally expand our trainer community. These include our Accelerated Training Program (ATP) and Lead Trainer Program (LTP). These programs are separate cohorts which happen outside a Level 1 training environment, with a requirement that participants also be involved in an active training. Generally, these programs are offered every year. A waitlist is available for those interested in the ATP. 

Senior trainers evaluate candidates at every level of our career path process. The review panel for promotion includes senior trainers and IFSI administrative staff. Also, separate mentors are assigned and review teaching style, demo videos and assist participants in fine-tuning their skills and techniques.  

Admission to the Lead Trainer Program requires experience as an Assistant Trainer (North America) or Lead PA (Internationally), designation as an IFS certified therapist, recommendations by trainers, an application and interview screening.  

Trainer Development Work still to come 

While we’ve come a long way – with 34 new trainers added between 2021-2023, and 16 more new trainers anticipated for 2024, there is still more work ahead. We are continuing our  international expansion and inclusion efforts – looking for trainers that speak specific languages, add a diverse set of life experience to our trainer ranks, or reside in regions where we don’t have a presence.  

In addition to the work being done to implement these trainer development programs, the IFSI Talent Management team has also created additional resources in 2023. For Program Assistants they have offered administrative orientations to better prepare those for the PA experience.  Multiple opportunities for PA Development Workshops were available and we look forward to offering more in the future. For those seeking IFS Certification, we’ve modernized the process of receiving and submitting certification material and updated the IFS certification policy.  

We hope this information is helpful for those interested in the inner workings here at IFS Institute. Stay tuned for more to come as we continue to develop and refine these programs and pathways for our growing IFS community.  


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