Certification Policy Archive

This page has an archive of our previous IFS Certification Policy

This page hosts an archive of our previous IFS Certification Policy. This will only be available as a route for those who have already purchased the Certification Packet. Those individuals can use the Transitory Provision Clause to submit all materials until May 1, 2024 (at absolutely latest) to apply with the old packet. Two elements are changing across the board May 2023 even for those in the Transitory Provision: The Practitioner Definition Clarification which you can read about in the new policy and the new Video Reviewer fee ($200).

While we've given a generous window for completing requirements, we recommend completing requirements as soon as you are able as we anticipate our video reviewers will be backlogged closer to the May 1, 2024 cut-off date.


Thanks for your understanding during this transition period!


Internal Family Systems Certification Process (ARCHIVED PATH)


Physical mailing is no longer an option for sending materials. Please send all materials over email.

IFS Institute is pleased to offer its certification process both to acknowledge qualified individuals and to establish standards of competency for practicing IFS therapists and those using IFS through various professional applications.

There are two categories of IFS Certification – Certified IFS Therapist and Certified IFS Practitioner. Please read this document for details regarding eligibility and criteria for becoming certified. If you have additional questions or wish to request an application packet to become certified, please send an email to [email protected].

All completed certification and recertification materials should be emailed to [email protected]. Links for payment purposes will be included in your application materials. (Please note: MAHEC is no longer involved in any aspect of IFS Certification and applications distributed by MAHEC contain outdated information.)


  • Certified IFS TherapistTo apply to become a Certified IFS Therapist an applicant must demonstrate that:
    1. S/he has earned a Masters degree in a Human Services field, and
    2. Is licensed or certified for clinical practice.
  • Certified IFS Practitioner: Prerequisites have changed as of May 1, 2023. Please reference new policy to see if you meet eligibility criteria. 


The applicant must fulfill each of the four criteria (A, B, C, and D) below.

  • Successful completion of a Level 1 IFS Training Program, defined as having earned the Certificate of Completion.
  • Documentation showing one year of post-Level 1/Basic Training clinical IFS practice (includes a minimum of 200 hours of clinical/applied practice) following completion of a Level 1 Training. Completion is defined as having earned the Certificate of Completion.
  • Documentation of 30 hours of IFS Continuing Education and IFS Clinical consultation by an Approved IFS Clinical Consultant, as noted below:
    1. 20 hours of IFS clinical consultation (up to 10 hours of which may be group); and a minimum of 10 hours of IFS Continuing Education from the list below OR
    2. 20 hours (or more) of IFS Continuing Education from the list below and 10 hours of IFS clinical consultation with an Approved IFS Clinical Consultant (up to 5 hours of which may be group).
      • Level 2 Intensive IFS Trainings such as:
        • Deepening and Expanding
        • Intimacy from the Inside Out
        • IFS Trauma and Neuroscience
        • IFS Addiction and Eating Disorders
      • Level 2 Multi Topic Trainings
      • Level 3 IFS Training
      • IFS Retreats focused on Skill building
      • IFS Annual Conference (maximum of 10 hrs)
      • IFS Workshops taught by IFS Trainers or Certified IFS Therapists
      • Participation as Program Assistant in a Level 1, 2 or 3 Training
  • Demonstration of competency via option 1 or 2 below:
    1. Video Session ReviewApplicant must send a good quality Video recording of a 50-60 minute session with a client to a Certification Reviewer with the required evaluation form provided in the application packet.
    2. Live Session Review (no Video needed)
      • One 50-60 minute live session with a client will be reviewed by Certification Reviewer
      • Approximately 30 minutes will be set aside for feedback and discussion following each live session review
    3. For both the Video and Live Session Reviews, the applicant must provide:
      • One-page summary detailing the skills and aspects of the IFS model exemplified
      • The therapeutic history with this client
      • Self-evaluation of the applicant's own growing edges as well as his/her competence in the session(s). This could take the form of a Self and Parts self-assessment to describe how the applicant maintains and identifies his/her own Self energy in the session, and how s/he works with therapists’ parts that may be triggered.
    4. Video and Live Session ReviewersVideos and Live Sessions are reviewed by currently active IFS Lead or Co-Lead Trainers who are Certification Reviewers. IFS Assistant Trainers who have completed at least one Level 1 Training AT assignment and who are Certification Reviewers are also qualified to review Videos and Live Sessions.
      Visit the Certification section of the IFS-I website for a complete list of Certification Reviewers.


  • The Reviewer will assess the skill level of the applicant according to the lists of competencies below. If the applicant does not satisfy the required competencies, s/he will be required to submit another Video session or do another live session with the same Video Certification Reviewer. If the applicant fails twice, the Reviewer will make recommendations for additional consultation or training, according to certification standards. 
  • All decisions of the Reviewer are final.
  • Video and Live Session Review Competencies Lists
    1. An applicant is required to demonstrate the following competencies for successful Video or Live Session Review:
      • Therapist demonstrates Self Energy throughout session(s) and claims own parts’ interference if needed
      • Listens to presenting problem and identifies key parts involved
      • Contracts to work on target part(s)
      • Demonstrates the 6 “F”s
      • Addresses Manager fears and/or negotiates with Firefighters
      • Helps client unblend
      • Direct Access, if needed OR
      • Demonstrates development of therapeutic relationship
      • Connects and works with Exiles
      • Completes six steps of healing (witnessing, unburdening, etc.)
      • Retrieval (if needed)
      • Invitation of positive qualities
      • Integration
    2. The Reviewer will also be cognizant of the demonstration of any of the following, or of any unspecified competencies within the model:
      • Extends /increases client’s Self Energy to target part
      • Assesses external constraints
      • Contracts with Exiles to not overwhelm (if needed)
      • Switches to new target part
      • Facilitates expression of appreciation to parts from Self
      • Introduces the model (if applicable)
      • Works with Polarized parts


  • Recertification is required every two years. Proof of completion of 20 hours of IFS Continuing Education within the two year time period is required (up to 10 hrs may be IFS clinical consultation by an IFS Approved Clinical Consultant). If a Certified IFS Practitioner or Therapist does not recertify, all the privileges of certification as listed in this document are discontinued.
  • A Certified IFS Therapist or Practitioner must apply for recertification within 30 days from the expiration of his/her current certificate. 
  • If a Certified IFS Therapist or Practitioner does not apply for recertification within one (1) year of the expiration of his/her prior certification, then proof of 10 hours of consultation and 30 hours of IFS Continuing Education from any of the following events are required:
    • IFS Retreats focused on Skill Building
    • Events with Dick Schwartz
    • IFS Annual Conference
    • IFS Workshops by IFS Trainers or Certified IFS Therapists
    • Participation as Program Assistant in Level 1, 2 or 3 Training
    • Completion of Level 2 and/or Level 3 Training
    • Post Level 1 Offerings by IFS-I


  1. Listing on IFS Institute website as a Certified IFS Therapist or Certified IFS Practitioner
  2. Authorization to call oneself a Certified IFS Therapist or Certified IFS Practitioner on business cards, flyers, biographical sketches, curriculum vitae, resumes, etc.
  3. May be granted permission by IFS Institute when making a request to use IFS intellectual property for any endeavor, e.g., books, courses, workshops, promotions


  • Fees are subject to change.
  • Certification:
    1. $50 application packet fee, and
    2. $150 certification fee
  • Video Session Review: $200, paid directly to Certification Reviewer, payable for each session reviewed.
  • Recertification: $150, payable each time recertification occurs (required every two years)