Internal Family Systems (IFS) Therapy for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) among Survivors of Multiple Childhood Trauma: A Pilot Effectiveness Study

In December 2021, The Foundation for Self Leadership, our sister organization, proudly announced that its first funded, independently administered IFS study was accepted for publication in the Journal of Aggression, Maltreatment & Trauma. 


Below is an excerpt from the Foundation’s announcement: The grant-funded research was led by Hilary Hodgdon, PhD, at the Trauma Center, Justice Research Institute, in Brookline, Massachusetts, USA. The study, which was an uncontrolled feasibility pilot, sought to assess the efficacy of IFS on patient outcomes. Among other findings, details of which are included in the full study article, the results showed that IFS therapy had significantly positive effects on adults with PTSD and histories of exposure to multiple forms of childhood trauma.



Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a debilitating condition and exposure to multiple types of childhood trauma contributes to higher co-occurring symptoms. This pilot research explores effectiveness of a novel intervention, Internal Family Systems (IFS) therapy, for treatment of PTSD and associated symptoms and problems, including depression, dissociation, somatization, affect dysregulation, and disrupted self-perception (i.e. shame/guilt) among adults exposed to multiple childhood trauma. Seventeen adults with PTSD and history of multiple childhood traumas participated in an uncontrolled trial of IFS, receiving 16, 90-min IFS sessions and completing four evaluations (pre-, mid-, and post-treatment, and 1-month follow-up) assessing PTSD symptoms and diagnosis, as well as multiple secondary outcomes (e.g., symptoms of depression, dissociation, and somatization, affect dysregulation, disrupted self-perception, interoceptive awareness, and self-compassion). 


Read Full Study