IFS Training Program FAQ

1. How do I benefit from becoming an IFS therapist?

Those who have completed any of the Level 1, Level 2 or Level 3 IFS training programs and have implemented IFS in their practices report enormous job satisfaction for themselves and their clients. In addition, private practitioners who use IFS with their clients report that their referral base has broadened substantially, and their practices have dramatically improved overall.

2. Are IFS workshops, telecourses, and webinars the same as IFS Trainings?

Level 1, Level 2 and Level 3 IFS Training Programs provide comprehensive training and experience in the IFS therapeutic model. Upon completion of each Level of training, participants are prepared to work as IFS therapists, having gained a breadth of knowledge and understanding about the way in which IFS enhances their lives, the lives of their clients, and others. Other IFS events and activities are generally shorter and/or serve as introductions to aspects of the IFS model.

3. Who participates in IFS Training Programs?

While the natural and predominant constituency for IFS Training Programs is the professional mental health care community, others may participate in and benefit from IFS Trainings, including Master's and Doctoral students in the healing arts and sciences, pastoral counselors, dance and art therapists, and health care professionals in allied fields. Participants need to have successfully completed a Level 1 Training in order to enroll in a Level 2 Training, and those who wish to enroll in a Level 3 Training need to have successfully completed a Level 2 Training.

4. Can I apply if I'm not a therapist?

IFS trainings are primarily designed to provide education and practice in using the IFS model for mental health care  professionals. While IFS Institute provides space in trainings for those who are not mental health care professionals, we may consider the overall participant composition of a training and limit the number in each training. We also review all applications to ensure, as best we can, that each applicant is a good fit for an IFS training.

5. How do I apply for a Training, get on a Training's wait list, or enter a training lottery?

Due to the popularity of IFS Training Programs, IFS Institute uses a lottery to determine who may apply for a space in a Training or a Training wait list. 

When a new Training becomes available, we send email notifications to those who have signed up to receive them.  Click Here to sign up for email notifications when new Trainings are posted. 

There is a lottery for each Training so that people can choose which Training they’re interested in based on Training dates, time zone, format, and other significant details. Instructions about how to sign up for a Training’s lottery are in the emails sent to people who have signed up for email notifications.  After each lottery occurs, we send an email to people selected about the next steps, including providing access to the Training's online application form. 


6. Can I reserve a space in a Training or be on a Training wait list without submitting my completed application?

Only those who have submitted a completed application may be placed on a Training Program roster or wait list, though acceptance into each Training (roster or wait list) is determined by the subsequent application review process.

7. What questions are on Training Program application forms?

Click the link below to see questions that are on application forms for IFS Institute-organized Training Programs. Please note that this isn't an actual application. This information is for reference only. Thanks!

IFS Level 1 Training Program Application Questions

IFS Level 2 Training Program Application Questions

IFS Level 3 Training Program Application Questions

8. When will I know whether or not I've been accepted?

The application review process may take several weeks, and you will be notified by email about whether or not you have been accepted. Some applicants report that IFS Institute emails go to their spam folders, so please check yours on occasion or change your settings so that your in-box accepts IFS Institute emails.

9. Will I be a Certified IFS Therapist or Certified IFS Practitioner by completing my Training?

In order to become IFS certified, you must successfully complete the IFS Certification process. Please visit the Certification area of this website to learn more about the criteria and procedures for becoming certified.

10. Will the founder of IFS be the trainer for my Training?

Dr. Richard C. Schwartz, developer of the IFS model and founder of IFS Institute, doesn't teach Level 1 or 2 Trainings.  He occasionally teaches a Level 3 Training that IFS Institute offers. Please see each Training's brochure for more information.

11. Who teaches IFS Trainings?

IFS Trainings are taught by therapists who have a wide array of IFS experience as therapists, and who have been extensively trained as IFS Lead and Assistant Trainers.  Program Assistants work with participants under the guidance of the Lead and Assistant Trainers. 

12. What is the schedule of Trainings?

Each Training's session and daily schedules are listed on the Training's brochure.  Each Training's brochure is linked to the Training's individual webpage.

13. What reading and other materials are required for a Training?

The readings and any other materials required for each Training are listed on individual Trainings' brochures.  Each Training's brochure is linked to the Training's individual webpage.

14. What does having the Certificate of Completion for a Training mean?

Earning the Certificate of Completion in an IFS Training means that you may: 

  • Apply for the next level of Training;
  • Request a listing on this website's Provider Directory (under "Find a Professional").  Please email info@ifs-institute.com for details about the Directory.
  • Apply to become a Program Assistant;
  • Begin to pursue becoming IFS Certified. Please visit the Certification area of this website or email certification@ifs-institute.com for more information.

15. How much does a Training cost?

  • Tuition: Each Training's tuition rate is listed on its brochure (the brochure is on each Training's webpage).
  • Travel, Room and Board: Participants pay for their own travel, lodging, and meals for on-site sessions.
  • Application Fee: A non-refundable application fee is charged when you submit your application.
  • Readings & Other Materials: These are listed on Training brochures.
  • Costs are subject to change.

16. Are scholarships available for Trainings?

IFS Institute offers Training Tuition Scholarships to help defray tuition costs for those who qualify.  Details about scholarships and the scholarship application form are available here:  Scholarships for North American IFS Trainings

17. Are tuition payment plans available?

No, as of May 1, 2023, we no longer offer payment plans. Payment due dates are listed in each training's Informational Brochure.

18. When will my deposit be charged?

Your deposit will be charged when you are accepted into your Training, and this is required to secure your place.  For details about billing, please see each Training's brochure.

19. Do I have to pay the full tuition if I am going to miss some of my Training?

Yes. Tuition is set for the Training as a whole, and everyone in a Training can, if necessary, miss a limited amount of Training time.  Please see each Training's brochure for details. 

20. How many hours of my Training do I need to complete to be eligible for a Certificate of Completion?

To be eligible for an IFS Institute Certificate of Completion, a participant needs to attend a minimum number of Training hours offered. Please review the brochure for each Training for details.

21. What if I miss more than the maximum number of hours allowed?

If you miss too much Training time, you will not be eligible to receive a Certificate of Completion.

22. Can I make up days I miss by going to another Training?

No, and this is to preserve and foster the positive group dynamics that develop within each Training Program. In addition, staffing levels, breakout groups, and site arrangements are particular to each Training, and temporary increases in enrollment while a Training is running cannot be accommodated.

23. Are there make-up sessions or material if I miss part of my Training?

No, but we recommend that you review the section of your Training manual related to the time you missed, and contact someone in the Training to learn what took place.

24. What is the tuition if I repeat a Training?

This policy applies to IFS Level 1, 2, and 3 training programs organized by IFS Institute, Inc. that begin on or after January 1, 2020, except for Community Access trainings. Individuals and entities that organize International trainings, IFIO trainings, or trainings at CCSU or CHA-CMC may have different policies.

Participants who pay their full tuition amount for an IFS Institute-organized training, but who don’t earn a Certificate of Completion for the training, are eligible to receive a 25% discount on a future IFS Institute-organized training. The new training must be of the same Level and content as the uncompleted training, except in some cases for Level 2s, as follows:

  • If a Level 2 participant is eligible for the repeater discount and hasn’t attended any of their training, then they may “repeat” any Level 2 Intensive topic IFS Institute offers, as long as they are accepted for the new training.
  • If a Level 2 participant is eligible for the repeater discount and has attended some of their training, then they may repeat only that Level 2 Intensive topic, as long as they are accepted for the new training.

IFS Institute will do its best to recognize when a participant is eligible for this repeater discount, but it is the responsibility of the participant to bring their status to IFS Institute’s attention when submitting their program application.  This policy may change without notice.

25. Training postponement and cancellation

IFS Institute reserves the right to postpone, cancel or otherwise change any Training Program schedule prior to its beginning. At no time is IFS Institute responsible for Training Program participants' travel, lodging, or incidental expenses. IFS Institute reserves the right to substitute Training Program staff whenever necessary without obligation to participants enrolled in the Training Program. 

27. Does IFS Institute offer Trainings to organizations?

Thank you for your interest in learning more about trainings for organizations.  In efforts to get to know your organization better, we have created a brief Community Access Programs (CAP) Questionnaire that should take no more than 10 minutes to complete.  To access this questionnaire, please CLICK HERE. IFSI may not be able to accommodate each training request; however, we are developing our curriculum in anticipation of having more program offerings in the near future.  If there are any direct questions related to our Community Access Programs, please reach out to Laura@ifs-institute.com.



28. Grievance Policy

IFS Institute (formerly The Center for Self Leadership) is fully committed to conducting its activities in compliance with legal and ethical responsibilities to be non-discriminatory in promotional activities, program content, and in the treatment of program participants. The monitoring and assessment of compliance with these standards will be the responsibility of IFS Institute's Chief Executive Officer, in consultation with IFS Institute's Executive Committee.  While IFS Institute goes to great lengths to assure fair treatment for all participants in its events and attempts to anticipate problems, it recognizes that complaints may arise.  IFS Institute will do its best to anticipate problems and, if they present themselves, will attempt to alleviate them as quickly as possible.  When a complaint is made known to a representative of IFS Institute, the following guidelines will be followed with respect to achieving a solution:  (A) The person making the complaint will be asked to send their complaint, in writing, to IFS Institute's Chief Executive Officer at IFS Institute, P.O. Box 3969, Oak Park, IL 60303.  Or, it can be sent to the Chief Executive Officer using the form at this link: https://ifs-institute.com/about-us/contacts   IFS Institute's Chief Executive Officer will review the complaint, in consultation with the Executive Committee, and will issue a response within 30 days of receipt of the written complaint.  The joint decision of the Chief Executive Officer and Executive Committee of IFS Institute is final. (B) IFS Institute's Chief Executive Officer will attempt to resolve the matter themself as expeditiously as possible, or will convey the complaint to the IFS Institute representative in charge of the area of complaint so that they can attempt to resolve the matter as expeditiously as possible.  The complaint will then be conveyed to the person who is the subject of the complaint, assuring the confidentiality of the aggrieved individual whenever possible and/or appropriate.  (C) The offered resolution may include, but is not limited to giving a partial or full refund of program fees already paid, or credit toward a future event.

Bookstore FAQ

What is your return policy?

If returning a book for damaged reasons: Contact our Bookstore Manager via phone 708.383.2659 or email info@ifs-institute.com for instructions to send items back to Speaker Fulfillment Services. Contact Bookstore Manager prior to mailing items. Refund in full including S/H. No re-stocking fee will be applied.

If returning a book for any other reason: Contact Bookstore Manager via phone or email for instructions to send items back to Speaker Fulfillment Services.
Contact Bookstore Manager prior to mailing items. Refund in full for merchandise only less $3 restocking fee per box. IFS Institute will not cover S/H for the return to Speaker Fulfillment Services.

Refunds will be issued the same manner as payment was received.

Do you ship material internationally?

Yes, all international shipping fees are subject to fuel surcharges which we are forced to pass on to our customers. These surcharges are in addition to our posted shipping fees. THIS FEE WILL BE CHARGED TO YOUR CREDIT CARD AFTER THE ITEM/S HAVE BEEN SHIPPED.

I have written a book that incorporates IFS, can I sell it in your bookstore?

Please contact our Bookstore Manager for details on the approval process for listing on our IFS store.

General FAQ

Are IFS online courses or workshops organized by other companies the same as IFS Trainings?

No. Level 1, Level 2 and Level 3 IFS training programs provide comprehensive training and experience in the IFS therapeutic model. Upon completion of each level of training, participants are prepared to work as IFS therapists, having gained a breadth of knowledge and understanding about the way in which IFS enhances their lives, the lives of their clients, and others. Workshops such as those offered by PESI, or other independent administrators do not replace or substitute the IFS Institute Training program offerings.

Is there a Code of Conduct for IFS Institute Events and Activities?

Code of Conduct for Events and Activities Organized by IFS Institute, Inc.

Members of IFS Institute’s events and activities: Anyone who participates in, observes, teaches, or otherwise is present at an IFSI-organized training program, conference, webinar, teleconference, workshop, on-line community, or other function.

IFS Institute requires that Members of its events and activities create and maintain an appropriate and harassment-free learning environment for themselves and others. While all parts are welcome, all behavior is not.

Behaviors that are not aligned with our Code of Conduct include:

·    Aggressive or hostile verbal comments and/or behavior
·    Displaying or allowing to be displayed sexual images in public spaces
·    Intimidation or stalking
·    Unwanted or uninvited photography or recording
·    Sustained or frequent disruption of training program exercises and activities
·    Inappropriate physical contact
·    Unwelcome sexual attention
·    Overt disregard for the impact of one's words or actions on historically marginalized group members
·    Inability to work effectively in a group setting, including a lack of willingness to work toward repair with other participants, even with the support of training program staff
·    Inability to unblend from aggressive, hostile, controlling, or otherwise significantly disruptive parts, even with facilitation
·    Advocating for or encouraging any of the above behavior

IFSI reserves the right to pursue appropriate legal remedies and/or removal from IFS Institute events for any failure to abide by this Code of Conduct.

Confidentiality: While IFS training programs are not psychotherapy sessions, all training program components, including those that are experiential in nature, are for the purpose of teaching people to use the IFS model. Therefore, the interactions and information shared by Members are not privileged communications as they might be during actual therapy sessions.

However, in order to create and maintain an appropriate learning environment, all personal material that Members of the training program disclose should be treated as confidential and should not be shared with persons who are not Members of this particular training program, including family members, friends, colleagues, participants, and Members of other training programs. 

In addition, we ask that you respect the confidentiality of the people with whom you are practicing and in your home groups, and not discuss other’s work or experiences outside of these small groups (which includes not talking about their work in this training program’s large group), unless you have their permission.

Confidential information may need to be disclosed if holding the information would (1) compromise anyone’s safety, health, or well-being, or (2) violate your ethical or legal responsibilities.  Professional and licensing organizations, as well as states, provinces, and other governmental jurisdictions, may have specific and different policies regarding confidentiality for counselors, therapists, and other professionals. Training program Members are responsible for knowing their particular and applicable governing policies, and for adhering to their professional standards for confidentiality.


Online Community Purpose: Our online community platforms, including but not limited to Facebook Groups, provide forums for shared experiences using the IFS model.  In addition to the Code of Conduct, we have the following participation guidelines:

Promotional posts: We will provide prompts to allow you to comment with any offers, products, or services you have available to the community. Please refrain from individual posts advertising for personal gain.

Clinical consultation: No one may post information that could potentially breach client confidentiality.

Medical disclaimer: Online communities are not substitutes for clinical diagnosis or treatment, nor is the information provided intended to replace consultation with a qualified health-care provider. If you’re in crisis, please contact your local emergency services.

Please note the opinions and content on community group pages do not represent IFS Institute, nor do they necessarily represent the IFS model. If you have any questions about online community issues, please contact Sara Oberg - contact information is at www.ifs-institute.com.