Creating Clarity: IFS Level 1 Admissions

Changes Coming in 2024

Text: Creating Clarity: IFS Level 1 Admissions Changes coming in 2024. White box with red, orange, and teal waves at the bottom. White IFS logo and a circle with a gauge pointing to changes.



As many are aware, over the past few years the IFS Institute has seen a significant increase in demand for our IFS Trainings. We've previously shared our efforts to cultivate our trainer community, as well as our progress increasing access to significantly more program participants as part of our efforts to meet this demand.  

As we’ve continued this work, we recognize the necessity of distinguishing between the clinical use of IFS as an evidenced-based psychotherapy and the application of IFS as a model of the mind across other disciplines. We also recognize the need to expand our program offerings to better meet the learning needs of those applying the model across other disciplines vs continuing with our one-size-fits-all approach. 

To facilitate these two shifts, we must separate paths for IFS learning. Beginning in February 2024, admissions for IFS Level 1 Trainings in the US, Canada and Mexico will shift to limit enrollment to those already qualified and legally credentialed to work in a mental health profession.  We continue ongoing consultation with our International Partners for future alignment of international admissions criteria with their local professional regulations. Once we accommodate the new credentialing requirements to other countries, these same changes will apply to all of our international trainings. We will provide an additional announcement before the effective date of these changes to our international trainings.

We’re making this change to: 

  • Align learning objectives with participants’ needs: Level 1, Level 2, and Level 3 Trainings have been designed by mental health professionals to enable other mental health professionals to work with their clients using the IFS methodology.     
  • Align intent of the IFS Level 1 Training with the skills of participants: The application of IFS taught in Level 1 Training is an evidence based therapeutic treatment. Level 1 participants need to  be skilled in working in a clinical setting with clients who have experienced trauma.   
  • Provide Continuing Education programs: IFSI provides educational programs to therapists who have existing credentials in an aligned field of study. We feel our programs require an existing base of knowledge in providing mental health care on which the IFS model can be a supplemental modality.  
  • Align with professional safeguards: We want to ensure that those using IFS in practice with their clients are working within the legal and regulatory guidelines of their geography. This ensures that those who are taking our training have been accredited by an organization who provides ethical and scope of practice safeguards for the application of the method. 
  • Create an effective learning environment: We believe that our programs are more effective when learners have a similar foundation of knowledge and practice. 

As this change is implemented, we will also be working towards the elimination of the lottery process, which we plan to complete in 2024.  

We also know, and do not hold lightly, that professionals from many different backgrounds see the power of IFS as a model of the mind. Our community has long held professionals in fields such as body workers, legal mediation, school administration, coaches and religious leaders who utilize IFS to inform and guide their work and who have made significant contributions to our community. We are grateful for everyone's efforts in applying IFS to these additional disciplines and your work is an inspiration for our path forward. The mission of IFS Institute remains to bring Self leadership to the world and our goal is to create new educational programs aimed to serve a wider range of professions and the general public. 

We’re thrilled to have our new Curriculum and Learning Programs team on board and they’re working on developing new programming for 2024. Our popular Online Circle and Continuity programs will remain open to professionals wanting to apply an IFS lens to their practice. We recently enrolled a new Intimacy from the Inside Out program, and work is also underway on IFS Foundations for coaches coming soon. 

We understand many in our community may have parts that react to this change that would like to be heard. We are here and listening. Please provide feedback here.  

Admissions FAQ

1. Is there a list of professionals who are now eligible to apply for a Level 1 Training, based on the new credential criteria?

Yes, please see the list below. 

  • Licensed mental health professionals, including but not limited to Licensed Professional Counselors, Licensed Clinical Social Workers, Licensed Mental Health Counselors, Licensed Marriage and Family Therapists, Licensed Psychologists, Licensed Clinical Alcohol and Drug Counselors 
  • Associate-level mental health professionals 
  • Social Workers under supervision 
  • Psychiatrists 
  • Doctors of Medicine (MD) 
  • Doctors of Osteopathic Medicine (DO) 
  • Psychiatric Registered Nurses 
  • Psychiatric Nurse Practitioners 
  • Those who hold a Master's or PhD degree in a mental health field who can legally provide mental health services, including those conducting research on IFS as a psychotherapeutic model 
  • Internationally Registered mental health professionals, including but not limited to Registered Psychotherapists (for people with non-U.S. credentials) 

If you have feedback about this list we invite you to submit here.

Important note: This list is for those applying to Level 1 Trainings organized by IFS Institute. The list is also applicable to trainings organized by International Partners for applicants who are from the United States, Canada and Mexico. We continue ongoing consultation with our International Partners for future alignment of international admissions criteria with their local professional regulations. 

2. Will this impact those who are in the process of attending their Level 1 or who have been accepted to a Level 1 Training that hasn’t started yet?

This will not impact Level 1 Training participants who are currently enrolled or in the process of attending a Level 1 Training. The new admissions credential criteria for those applying for a Level 1 Training go into effect in February 2024  (see FAQ 1 for more details).  

3. Is the admissions process similar for Level 2 and Level 3 Trainings? How will the new admissions credential criteria impact those who have completed a Level 1 Training and who would like to pursue Level 2 or Level 3 Training with the Institute?

If you have or will earn a Certificate of Completion for a Level 1 Training, and you no longer meet the admissions credential criteria for a Level 1 Training, then you will be “legacied” or exempted from the credential criteria when applying for a Level 2 or Level 3 Training. You will still need to apply and go through the admissions process. 

4. What about IFS Certification?

If you're currently eligible for IFS Certification, you will be allowed to apply for a Level 2 and Level 3 Training. We will consider you “legacied” or exempted from the new admissions credential criteria. 

The Certification criteria is not changing at this time and as stated in the Certification Policy will be reviewed once a year every May.  We recommend folks to reach out if they're pursuing the process and haven't been in contact.


Please contact [email protected] with additional questions.  


5. How will this shift in United States, Canada and Mexico admissions impact admissions in other countries?

Starting February 1, 2024, all applicants to IFS Institute-organized Level 1 Trainings in the United States, Mexico, and Canada will need to meet the new admissions credential criteria.   

Starting February 1, 2024, all applicants who reside in the United States, Mexico, and Canada and who apply to Level 1 Trainings organized by IFS Institute’s International Partners will need to meet the new admissions credential criteria.   

By January 1, 2025, new admissions credential criteria will be announced and go into effect for IFS Level 1 Trainings organized by IFS Institute’s International Partners. 

6. What are my options if I no longer meet the Level 1 admissions criteria? Is there any consideration for those who have been entering the lottery and no longer meet the criteria?

  1. We welcome professionals wanting to apply an IFS lens to their practice to join our Online Circle, if you have not already. Enrollment is open through April 30th. 
  2. IFSI will be creating new learning pathways both for professionals looking to apply an IFS lens to their practice, and those looking to apply IFS to their personal development. First up is a IFS Foundations for Coaches course coming in 2024. Learn more here and stayed tuned for additional future developments. 

7. Will this impact Program Assistant eligibility?

No – Program Assistant requirements and eligibility are not changing at this time.

8. When will IFS Institute be replacing the Lottery process?

This admissions change is the first step in our operational shift needed to replace the lottery. Our plan is to implement a new system that will end the lottery in 2024.