IFS Certification Policy

Internal Family Systems SM (IFS SM) Certification Process

Updated: February 19, 2018

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 certification@ifs-institute.com.

All completed certification and recertification materials should be sent to IFS Certification, 4 Lawterdale Circle #2, Asheville, NC 28804. Checks are made payable to the IFS Institute (Please note: MAHEC is no longer involved in any aspect of IFS Certification and applications distributed by MAHEC contain outdated information.)​


  1. Certified IFS Therapist

    To 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.
  2. Certified IFS Practitioner

    No prerequisites except as outlined elsewhere in this document.


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

  1. Successful completion of a Level 1 IFS Training Program, defined as having earned the Certificate of Completion.
  2. 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.
  3. Documentation of 30 hours of IFS Continuing Education and IFS Clinical consultation, 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 (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
  4. Demonstration of competency via option 1 or 2 below:
    1. DVD Session Review

      Applicant must send a good quality DVD 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 DVD needed)
      1. One 50-60 minute live session with a client will be reviewed by Certification Reviewer
      2. Approximately 30 minutes will be set aside for feedback and discussion following each live session review
    3. For both the DVD and Live Session Reviews, the applicant must provide:
      1. One-page summary detailing the skills and aspects of the IFS model exemplified
      2. The therapeutic history with this client
      3. 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. DVD and Live Session Reviewers

      DVDs 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 DVDs and Live Sessions.

      Visit the Certification section of the CSL website for a complete list of Certification Reviewers.


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


  1. 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). If a Certified IFS Practitioner or Therapist does not recertify, all the privileges of certification as listed in this document are discontinued.
  2. A Certified IFS Therapist or Practitioner must apply for recertification within 30 days of the expiration of his/her original certification date as listed on his/her certificate.
  3. 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 CSL


  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 byIFS Institute when making a request to use IFS intellectual property for any endeavor, e.g., books, courses, workshops, promotions


  1. Fees are subject to change.
  2. Certification:
    1. $50 application packet fee, and
    2. $150 certification fee
  3. DVD Session Review: $150, paid directly to Certification Reviewer, payable for each session reviewed.
  4. Live Session Review: $150 plus any applicable Reviewer travel expenses, payable for each session reviewed
  5. Recertification: $150, payable each time recertification occurs (required every two years)