IFS Certification Policy FAQ

Some helpful Q&A to answer questions on the new Certification Policy revamp

The “Why”

The revised IFS Certification Policy was created with the assistance of a full Certification Committee consisting of a panel of experienced IFS-I Trainers (5 IFS-I Trainers and 3 IFS Staff Members). Our goal was both to modernize the Certification process (goodbye physical mail!) and also to ensure a clear, and globally-applicable ‘gold standard’ for IFS expertise. This change brings additional benchmarks to ensure applicants have enough time after the Level 1 Training for IFS skills to be fully integrated.


The “What”

The IFS Certification process is the next step for individuals who have successfully completed a Level 1 training through IFS Institute in order to demonstrate the competencies and experience necessary to practice the IFS model effectively. There are two categories of IFS Certification:

Certified IFS Therapist

Certified IFS Practitioner


The “Who”

The certification process is for individuals who are continuing to grow in the IFS model, have met the prerequisites listed in this policy, and have spent time practicing the model. Certification is not an entry-level process.


Sun through the trees



Why are the requirements increasing?

We recognize that we are adding some potential additional costs to the overall process for Certification. This was a decision the Certification committee (composed of 5 IFS Trainers and 3 IFS Institute staff members) did not take lightly. The IFS Trainers who were also Certification Video Reviewers spoke of issues around individuals whose eager parts were rushing through the process who were repeatedly unable to meet video requirements at the current established baseline. After much back and forth, we came to an agreement on the Policy listed which included the PA option to open a path that included a paid stipend while still increasing overall requirements. We also wanted to clear up the confusion around the Certificate of Completion for the Level 1 Training not being the equivalent of Certification and establish Certification as a separate and advanced process.


Are you thinking about cost and barrier to entry?

Absolutely, it was a huge consideration. 

Certification is an optional investment for those that wish to advance their skills. At this time there are no community events that will exclude IFS trained individuals from IFS Certified individuals.

With the combination of our scholarship programs for trainings and many IFS-I Approved Clinical Consultants willing to take sliding scale or lower fees for individuals based on income level or location of residence- we're hopeful individuals will continue to have opportunities for accessing Certification.


What do these changes mean for folks that are already Certified?

The committee concluded that since there was currently a low number of Certified Practitioners (sub-100) that those individuals would be exempt from new changes including at the time of re-certification. You may have been messaged if you Certified recently that there could be a potential for the new Certification policy to impact you- we were exercising the utmost caution to keep you informed, but the committee concluded previously Certified Practitioners will not be impacted.


Is the process for Re-certification changing or increasing in price?

No, not at all.


What does this mean for me- I already purchased a packet?

You'll have a full year to submit under the Transitionary Provision: 

There will be a one year window (May 1, 2024) from the date of the new policy provision where individuals who’ve previously purchased a Certification packet and have already begun the Certification process can complete the process with the previous packet although the new Certification Practitioner definition clarification and new certification video review fees still apply. For those who've already purchased the previous packet, you can find the previous Certification Policy and all relevant transition information HERE.  

Any application for Certification submitted after 1 year (after May 1, 2024) must comply with all requirements of the updated policy in order to be approved.


I have a very old packet- should I mail everything over under the Transitionary Provision?

We no longer accept physical mail. Please send all documents as attachments to [email protected].


Can I purchase the old packet now?

In order to be fair across the board, we suspended all new applications months ago.

We did have a grace period where individuals could reach out and request the previous packet if they were already working through requirements, but now that the new policy is live, we cannot provide the previous packet.


Okay, so how do I purchase the NEW process?

The new process will be available for purchase on May 1, 2023. We released the policy early to give folks some time to process.




What do the requirements for the Practitioner Designation mean?

The professional scope of practice language addition to the Practitioner designation is based on your legal professional scope of practice which is determined by the laws in your jurisdiction and not by the IFS Institute. The IFS Institute is not a licensing body or a regulatory board and cannot determine or alter the laws for the practice of psychotherapy in your jurisdiction. 

It's important that individuals have appropriate training in an avenue that contains its own professional scope of practice including an ethical code and a formal complaint process for clients in order to understand the parameters of where their work can begin and end and to provide accountability and community protection while the model grows at an exponential speed.

You still do not have to pursue licensure to become Certified at this time.
We have maintained access for health allied professionals through the Practitioner designation- coaches are welcome to join.

Some examples of coaching programs that would meet IFS Certification requirements as they have ethical codes and formal complaint bodies include: International Coaching Federation, Association for Coaching, International Association of Trauma Recovery Coaching, etc. (There are many others!) Please reach out to [email protected] around eligibility questions for practitioners.


Do I have to become ICF accredited to become a Certified Practitioner now? 

No. Some other programs that would meet IFS Certification requirements as they have ethical codes and formal complaint bodies include: Association for Coaching, International Association of Trauma Recovery Coaching, WABC, etc. (There are many others!) Please reach out to [email protected] around eligibility questions for practitioners.




Can I be a Certified IFS Therapist without a Masters degree if there are other standards in my country of practice that I meet?

YES! We're very excited about this change. We had a lot of International representation on the committee and many of our decisions were based on changing the language to be more globally applicable.