About IFS Level 1 Training Programs

IFS Institute offers three progressive levels of professional training in Internal Family Systems from beginning (Level 1) through advanced (Level 3). These experiential trainings teach both IFS theory and technique. The IFS Level 1 training provides the knowledge and skills needed to actively use IFS with individuals, couples, children, families, and groups.

Highlights of the Level 1 Training

IFS Institute is organizing more Level 1, 2 and 3 trainings for 2023!  If you'd like us to email you when a training is ready to receive applications, please add your name to receive email notifications here

As clinical treatment, IFS has been rated effective for improving general functioning and well-being. In addition, it has been rated promising for improving each of phobia, panic, and generalized anxiety disorders and symptoms; physical health conditions and symptoms; personal resilience/self-concept; and depression and depressive symptoms.

Who should apply?

Due to the popularity of Level 1s, a lottery system is used to determine who can apply for IFS Institute's trainings. Please see each new training’s webpage for details.

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.

IFS Institute is working on many fronts to create more trainings, and part of this work is to expand our curriculum so that we can provide programs and opportunities in the near future for those who are not mental health care professionals.

We accept applications from:

  • Mental and medical healthcare professionals  
  • Pastoral counselors 
  • Mental health masters or doctoral students  
  • Professionals in allied healthcare fields
  • Dance, art, and music professionals

Why Does an IFS Level 1 Training Matter?

The IFS Level 1 Training is the core, required, and only legitimate way to use IFS in a clinical setting. Anyone who has not completed the IFS Level 1 training, at a minimum, cannot effectively or in good faith practice IFS psychotherapy.

Internal Family Systems is a unique and powerful way in which to learn about, trust, and love our parts and ourselves, as well as the parts and Self of others. Learning to practice IFS is a deeply engaged process and requires the IFS practitioner to be fully trained to ensure that the client of an IFS therapist is equipped to practice IFS safely and effectively.

The IFS Level 1 Training is a comprehensive training program of about 90 training hours, with a participant-to-staff ratio of about 3:1 to ensure participant experiential practice in roles of therapist and client alike. Training members meet with the whole group at times, and in different types of breakout groups of about 4-10 people each at other times, to help participants learn and hone their skills with the IFS model. 

Completion of the IFS Level 1 Training will also allow you to:

  • Refer to yourself as IFS Trained
  • Apply to IFS Level 2 Trainings
  • Work towards IFS Certification
  • Be listed in the IFS Institute Directory

Tuition for IFS Level 1 Trainings is about $4,000 (higher for trainings with on-site sessions and/or room and board). Partial tuition scholarships are available for trainings organized by IFS Institute.*

*IFS Institute's International Partners also organize IFS Level 1, 2 and 3 training programs, with IFS Institute-approved trainers. All training program application administration and payments for International Partner trainings are handled by the International Partners, not by IFS Institute. All payments, withdrawal and refund policies, and other financial arrangements for these trainings are subject to the terms of the specific International Partner, and are not the responsibility of IFS Institute.

Honing the Skills of IFS

Level 1 Trainings are comprehensive programs in which participants develop an understanding of the conceptual basis of IFS and learn how to apply IFS techniques to various clinical populations.  Participants are also invited to explore their own inner worlds within a training's safe, nurturing context. A select group of IFS trainers teaches Level 1s using a format that features lectures, experiential exercises, video review, large and small group discussions, and small group practice sessions. Please see each training's brochure for details.

Level 1 Training 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, business and academic professionals, 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.


Level 1 Bundle

Program Assistants

Increase your professional competence and confidence by helping others learn IFS. Program assistants participate in trainings tuition free.

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IFS Certification

IFS Certified Therapists and IFS Certified Practitioners carry a distinguished mark demonstrating competency and experience of the IFS model.

Learn more