IFS Training Program FAQ

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.

Are IFS workshops, telecourses, and webinars 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. Other IFS events and activities are generally shorter and/or serve as introductions to aspects of the IFS model.

Who participates in IFS training programs?

While the natural and predominant constituency for IFS trainings 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 program.

How do I apply for a training or enter an Application Lottery

Due to the popularity of IFS training programs, IFS Institute uses a randomized Application Lottery to determine who may apply for a training. When a new training becomes available, we send email notifications to people on the relevant Interest List (you can add your name to Interest Lists from our website’s Training tab – Interest List drop-down). 

There is an Application Lottery for each training so that people can select 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 Application Lottery are in the Interest List notification emails. After each Lottery occurs, we email those selected about the next steps, including providing access to the training's online application form.


Can I reserve a space in a training without submitting my completed application?

Only those who have submitted a completed application may be placed on the roster, though acceptance into the training is determined by the subsequent application review process.

Can I apply if I'm not a therapist?

While the majority of participants are therapists and counselors and the training is designed for mental health care professionals, applications will be accepted from any qualified person who has a personal or professional interest in learning IFS and who has a sincere commitment to the process of doing so.

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.

How much does the training cost?

  • Tuition: Please review the brochure and each training's web page for tuition information.
  • Room and Board: Participants pay for their own lodging and meals.
  • Application Fee: A non-refundable application fee is charged when you submit your application.
  • Readings: You may be asked to purchase some reading or other materials for your training. Information about these can be found on the brochure linked to each training's listing on the IFS Institute website.
  • Costs are subject to change.

Are tuition payment plans available?

Please see each training's webpage for payment plan information.  Billing is administered by IFS Institute's Controller (see "contact us" page).

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.

Are scholarships available?

Please click the link below for essential details about IFS Institute's Scholarship Policy, including types of scholarships offered and application deadlines. Each training's scholarship application and deadline is on the training's webpage, and applicants must submit the application form for their individual training.  A scholarship awarded for one training program does not automatically transfer to another training program.  Anyone in a training, regardless of country of residence, may apply for a scholarship (except OTP participants - please click the link below for more information).

Scholarship Policy for IFS Institute-organized Level 1, 2 and 3 Training Programs

Does IFS Institute offer trainings to organizations?

Yes.  For all the details and the application form for Organizational Training Programs (OTPs), please click on this link: Organizational Training Program Information and Application Form

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 the training is allowed to miss some training time (see website brochures for details).

What does having the Certificate of Completion mean?

When you earn a Certificate of Completion at the end of your training, you may:

  • Apply for the next level of training;
  • Request a listing on this website's IFS Practitioner Directory (under "Find a Professional") - email info@ifs-institute.com.
  • Apply to become a Program Assistant; and
  • Consider becoming certified as an IFS Therapist or IFS Practitioner. Please visit the Certification area of this website or email certification@ifs-institute.com for more information.

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 more details.

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

You may continue to participate in your training, but you will not be eligible to receive a Certificate of Completion for it. 

Can I make up days I miss by going to another training?

No, and this is to preserve and foster the group dynamics that develop within each training. 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.

Are there make-up sessions or material if I miss part of my training?

No, but you should be sure to read the section of your training manual related to the time you missed and contact someone in the training to learn what took place.

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.  Individuals and entities that organize Franchise and International trainings as defined by IFS Institute may have different policies. This policy does not apply to Organizational Trainings (OTPs).

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, as long as the new training is of the same Level and content as the uncompleted training, and as long as the participant is accepted for the new training.   IFS Institute will do its best to recognize when a participant is eligible for this repeater’s discount, but it is the responsibility of the participant to bring their status to IFS Institute’s attention.  No repeater’s discount is available except under these circumstances.

The policy may change without notice.

Will I be a Certified IFS Therapist or Certified IFS Practitioner by completing my training?

In order to become 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.

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 does teach some Level 3 trainings that IFS Institute offers. Please see each training's brochure for more information.

Who leads the trainings?

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

What is the schedule of trainings?

Session and daily schedules are listed on each training’s brochure.  The brochures are located on each training’s page of this website.

What questions are on training program application forms?

Please 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!

Application Questions (Level 1, 2, 3)

What materials are required for a training?

The materials required are listed on individual trainings' brochures on this website.

Training postponement and cancellation.

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

Grievance Policy:

The Center for Self Leadership (IFS Institute) 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 Executive Director, in consultation with IFS Institute's President.   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 his/her complaint, in writing, to IFS Institute's Executive Director at IFS Institute, P.O. Box 3969, Oak Park, IL 60303.  Or, it can be sent to the Executive Director's email address listed on this website.  IFS Institute's Executive Director will review the complaint, in consultation with the President, and will issue a response within 30 days of receipt of the written complaint.  The joint decision of the Executive Director and President of IFS Institute is final. (B) IFS Institute's Executive Director will attempt to resolve the matter himself as expeditiously as possible, or will convey the complaint to the IFS Institute representative in charge of the area of complaint so that s/he 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.

Online Learning FAQ

For questions related to our online courses please visit https://courses.selfleadership.org/Support

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 attends IFS Institute-organized training programs, conferences, webinars, teleconferences, workshops, online communities, or other functions.

IFS Institute requires that Members of its events and activities create and maintain a harassment-free event environment, regardless of gender, gender identity, gender expression, sexual orientation, ability, physical appearance, body size, race, age, religion, or nationality.  Harassment includes, but is not limited to:

  • Aggressive or hostile verbal comments and other behavior that reinforces social structures of domination related to gender, gender identity, gender expression, sexual orientation, ability, physical appearance, body size, race, age, religion, nationality
  • Displaying or allowing to be displayed sexual images in public spaces
  • Deliberate intimidation or stalking
  • Unwanted or uninvited photography or recording
  • Sustained disruption of IFS Institute events or activities
  • Inappropriate physical contact
  • Unwelcome sexual attention
  • Advocating for or encouraging any of the above behavior

We expect Members of each event or activity organized by IFS Institute to abide by this Code of Conduct.  IFS Institute reserves the right to pursue appropriate legal remedies or removal from IFS Institute events for any failure to abide by this Code of Conduct.  

Training Program Purpose and Confidentiality

While IFS training programs contain experiential components, training programs are not psychotherapy sessions.  All 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.  IFS Institute invokes training member confidentiality as long as disclosures of information at training programs (1) do not compromise anyone’s safety, health or well-being, and/or (2) do not compel that the disclosed information be reported to appropriate law enforcement or regulatory authorities. The various professional and licensing organizations, as well as states, provinces, and other governmental jurisdictions, may have different policies regarding confidentiality for counselors, therapists, and other professionals; Members are responsible for knowing their particular and applicable governing policies, and for adhering to their professional standards for confidentiality if they are more stringent than IFS Institute’s requirements.  

Reporting a Code of Conduct Violation 

To report a violation of this Code of Conduct, please follow the procedures in the Grievance Policy at IFS-Institute.com FAQ page. 

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