A Monthly Learning Community for IFS Practitioners & Therapists

Enrollment will open in May 2018. Click here to join the waitlist.


The Center for Self Leadership is pleased to present the IFS Online Continuity Program.

We created this special membership program and practitioner community to deepen the knowledge and skills of those who are enrolled in or have completed IFS Level 1 Training, and those who have already participated in the IFS Online Circle.

Each month we in the IFS Online Continuity Program will come together for in-depth discussion of different applications of the IFS model, as well as other topics of high importance for IFS practitioners.

You will be able to participate in LIVE monthly calls with me and some of our best trainers. A highlight for me each month will be sharing case studies and demos so that you can see the elegance and subtleties of the IFS model in action and how to navigate challenging clients. We will solicit case studies from you as well as ask for volunteers from among our participants to demo with me.

We have a very exciting line-up of teachings planned for this first year. Here is a taste of some of the topics we will be exploring in the coming year:

IFS and Addictions Led by Mary Kruger and Cece Sykes
IFS and Depression, Anxiety, & Shame Led by Michael Elkin and Ann Sinko

These modules parallel the IFS Level 2 multi-topic intensive trainings from CSL. Each of these new modules will be announced and released as the program gets underway.

Again I want to be clear that just like our previous IFS Online Circle this all-new Continuity Program is not designed to replace our Level 1, 2, and 3 trainings. For those of you who wish to practice IFS, we encourage you to enroll in a Level 1 IFS training if you haven't already done so. You can learn more about IFS trainings here.

We are thrilled to be offering this new online community as a global platform for continuous learning, where practitioners around the world can stay connected, share ideas, and support each other.

We invite you to join us today.

In appreciation,

Dr. Richard Schwartz
Founder, Center for Self Leadership

P.S. This is an ongoing annual subscription program. We are pleased to offer a discount for those who would like to pay annually; we also offer a quarterly payment option. Since the program is starting very soon, enrollment will only be open for a short period of time.

P.P.S. This program is approved for 15 CEs per module, or 45 CEs for an entire year, which you can purchase for a nominal fee.

"In a complex world, systems thinking is the tool of choice. To my knowledge, it has never before been put to such good use as it has in Richard Schwartz's model of the Internal Family Systems.”
--Ron Kurtz, B.A., Developer of the Hakomi Method of Body Centered Psychotherapy

IFS - An Evidence-Based Therapy System

We are pleased to share with the professional therapy community the exciting news that the Internal Family Systems (IFS) Therapy is now posted on NREPP as an evidence-based practice.

NREPP is the National Registry of Evidence-based Programs and Practices, a national repository that is maintained by the U.S. government’s Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). Interventions listed in NREPP, now including IFS, have been subject to independent, rigorous scrutiny and are deemed to show significant impact on individual outcomes relating to mental health.




Winter Module

The Voices of Addiction: An IFS Perspective with Mary Kruger & Cece Sykes

IFS brings an innovative new perspective to working with addictions, eating disorders and other compulsive or self-harming behaviors. IFS moves us into another dimension of treatment with this challenging population, and expands clinical possibilities.

Whether we are working with a trauma survivor 'addicted' to self-negating behaviors, a risk-taking chronic substance abuser or the family members who love them, we will explore how to create the safe, non-shaming clinical environment necessary for this critical work. How to befriend and disarm intense and impulsive self-destructive protectors, as well as innovative approaches to the emotional pain of long-burdened exiles will be addressed.

This four-month segment will identify the addictive, systemic process through the lens of IFS, offer many practical applications of IFS methods to treatment and explore the impact of Self energy on the healing process. This series will also bring hope to clinicians who work with these entrenched systems. Using both lecture and demonstration, we will show how to use the IFS model to create clear, compassionate and effective interventions with this challenging population.



Redefining “Addiction” - How will IFS Help?

In January we present a framework for understanding not just substance addiction, but disordered eating, self-harm, and many other impulsive and compulsive behaviors.  We call this Addictive Process.  This framework highlights the similarities among many common presenting problems and allows you to confidently approach treatment with these kinds of entrenched inner dynamics.

  • Introducing Mary & Cece
  • Defining the Addictive Process
  • 6 Key advantages of IFS for dealing compassionately and effectively with addictive process, including how IFS can prevent relapse
  • Demos of two hypothetical first sessions, showing how to quickly gain the trust of highly polarized, addictive systems and begin treatment on the right foot


Treating a System not a Symptom

We discuss the common pattern of firefighters, managers, and exiles that accompanies the many varieties of addictive process, and how best to enter into this delicate balance to create positive change.

  • Parts and Roles in Addictive Process
  • Identifying the Inner System
  • Importance of Tracking the Process
  • Self-Spectrum: Building a Self to Parts relationship


Befriending Addictive Parts

We get into the nitty-gritty of working with the dangerous distractor parts that are responsible for addictive behaviors.  We discuss the common responses of therapists’ parts to these firefighters, the pitfalls they can drag us into, and how to expertly avoid those pitfalls to befriend and heal these often exhausted protectors.

  • Common Pitfalls with Extreme Protectors
  • Identifying Addictive Manager-Firefighter polarizations
  • Working with Entrenched Systems
  • Therapists’ Parts and the Addictive System


IFS and Addiction in Action

This month applies the ideas presented in the previous three months to working with even the most challenging addictive systems.  We delve into the process of building compassion for all sides of the protective system in addictive process, as well as for the exiles underneath.  We wrap up with two demos showing how to apply what we’ve taught in session.

  • How to work with clients you feel like you can’t do IFS with
  • How not to collude with Managers
  • Demonstration of IFS Assessment
  • Demo of working with Polarizations and Disregulation

Some of the language has changed since I was trained and that was helpful. I love the authenticity of all the trainers! I am re-energized and more excited than ever about IFS.

J.B., Charlotte, NC

Spring Module

IFS and Depression, Anxiety and Shame with Michael Elkin and Ann Sinko

Anxiety and depression are the most presented symptoms of people seeking psychotherapy and shame is the engine that fuels both. How you define a problem limits its solutions. Questions we will explore include: Is depression anger turned inward? Unresolved grief? A chemical imbalance?  Is anxiety low self-esteem? An inability to make decisions? Fear? Or just free floating? What if we did not have to define, but rather ask?

The IFS model provides us an innovative way of understanding and working with these universal human problems. Understanding that our symptoms are actually the coping mechanism of our parts trying to protect us from pain, provides a framework that makes entrenched symptoms workable.  

This four-month module is an in-depth exploration of shame, depression and anxiety through the lens of the IFS model. Our intent is to challenge your beliefs and enhance your understanding of the systemic organizing nature of shame. This course will deepen your IFS skills and provide more tools for your IFS tool box.



The IFS Paradigm of Depression, Anxiety and Shame

This month will highlight how IFS defines depression and anxiety, not as a disorder but as a coping mechanism responding to a constraint in the internal or external system. This understanding provides a foundation for a uniquely powerful approach to these all too common symptoms

You will learn:

  • How IFS compares and contrasts with other models of treatment for depression, anxiety and shame
  • How a relational and systemic approach can uncover and heal deep shame where other methods might get stuck
  • The impact of shame as an organizing principle in our internal systems


The Meat of the Matter: Shame and Shaming

We will explore the most common constraint to a balanced and harmonious internal system. Shame (the experience of one's badness) is the most common burden our parts carry. Please join us as we explore the connection between anxiety, depression and shame.  

In this month we will cover:

  • Defining shame and shaming
  • The shame/blame cycle
  • How systems organize around shame
  • The Alcoholic belief system
  • Exiles: The embodiment of shame
  • Legacy Burdens


The Many Faces and Flavors of Anxiety and Depression

We will delve into the protective system; polarizations and alliances, protector strategies and therapist parts. These constellations of parts evolve when there has been a loss of Self leadership and are more effectively helped when addressed systemically in relationship to one another.

In this month you will learn to:

  • Understand the Common Constellations of protectors that can cause depression and anxiety
  • Recognize and work with different protector strategies
  • Handle polarizations and alliances
  • Differentiate grief from depression, and how to approach each


Strategies for working with Depression, Anxiety and Shame

This will be an in-depth exploration of obstacles and strategies for working with these obstacles. We will present case examples and highlight what we have found to work even in the most entrenched internal systems.

In this month we will cover:

  • Clinical examples
  • Obstacles and their solutions
  • Addressing parts' fears and concerns
  • Using Direct Access in difficult systems

A colleague showed me how easy it was to access modules and materials, I gave it a try, and I was hooked! Thank you for all the obvious effort you've put into this remarkable training from a content perspective and the technical side.

B.L., Denver, NC

Thank you for making this possible. Everything was positive about it for me. The highlights were getting more intensive training than is possible in regular IFS trainings. It is so helpful to have the phone calls and sessions available on PDF. I loved being able to study at my pace. The demos are really helpful. Also the opportunity to see how Dick works was such a privilege and learning experience. It made me feel more connected and inspired by the model.

J. Chrisman

About the Founder and Contributing Lead Trainers

Richard C. Schwartz, Ph.D., Founder of CSL and Creator of the IFS Model

Richard Schwartz earned his Ph.D. in Marriage and Family Therapy from Purdue University, after which he began a long association with the Institute for Juvenile Research at the University of Illinois at Chicago, and more recently at The Family Institute at Northwestern University, attaining the status of Associate Professor at both institutions. He is coauthor, with Michael Nichols, of Family Therapy: Concepts and Methods, the most widely used family therapy text in the United States.

Cece Sykes LCSW, ACSW
The Voices of Addiction

Cece Sykes is an IFS Senior Trainer and consultant with over thirty years of clinical experience with individuals, couples and families. She specializes in recovery from trauma and addictive process and her chapter “An IFS Lens on Addiction: Compassion for Extreme Parts” appears in Innovations and Elaborations in IFS (Routledge, 2016). Cece lectures and consults across the US and internationally and is widely recognized for her warmth, clarity and humor. She lives and works in the city of Chicago.

Mary Kruger, MS, LMFT
The Voices of Addiction

Mary Kruger is an AAMFT supervisor and an IFS Lead Trainer. She is founder of Rimmon Pond Counseling, LLC; an IFS based group practice located in the New Haven, Ct. area. She also offers private therapy, consultations and workshops nationally and internationally. Mary developed the IFS Level 2 Training for Addictions and Eating Disorders several years ago. Mary has been working in the field of addictions, eating disorders and trauma, with individuals, couples, families and groups, for over twenty- five years. She has a passion for engaging with people; and shares her experiences in fun and creative ways.

Michael Elkin, LMFT
Depression, Anxiety and Shame

Michael Elkin is an IFS senior trainer who has been involved with the model since 1995.  He has been a popular presenter, conducting scores of trainings and workshops throughout the US and Europe and has taught level one trainings in Boston every year since 2003.  He was a pioneer in applying hypnotic and strategic approaches to addiction treatment and has integrated those tools into IFS treatment.  He is the author of, “Families Under the Influence” and several articles.

Ann Sinko, LMFT
Depression, Anxiety and Shame

Ann Sinko has been a creative therapist for over 30 years.  She is a senior IFS trainer and has integrated the IFS Model into all facets of her work with families, couples, individuals and groups.  Ann is a natural teacher.  She brings a down to earth, concrete style along with a sense of humor to her teaching.  Currently, she uses her gifts to teach IFS, (level 1 and 2), and workshops.  Ann has been adjunct faculty in the Marriage and Family therapy program at Central CT State University since 1995 and is in private practice in Portland, CT.  She authored a chapter on Legacy Burdens in "Innovations and Elaborations in Internal Family Systems Therapy.”

Here is what we will cover in our next two modules:


Winter Module: The Voices of Addiction

January 2018: Redefining “Addiction”

February 2018: Treating a System not a Symptom

March 2018: Befriending Addictive Parts

April 2018: IFS and Addiction in Action

Spring Module: IFS and Depression, Anxiety, & Shame

 May 2018: The IFS Paradigm of Depression, Anxiety and Shame

June 2018: The Meat of the Matter: Shame and Shaming

July 2018: The Many Faces and Flavors of Anxiety and Depression

August 2018: Strategies for working with Depression, Anxiety and Shame

Jointly sponsored by Commonwealth Seminars, the Center for Self Leadership is pleased to offer 15 CEs for each module of the IFS Continuity Program.

For more detailed information about CEs, please click here.


Summary of the IFS Online Continuity Program

  • 1. Monthly Live Teachings and Q&A with IFS Founder Dr. Richard Schwartz [Annual Value $997]
  • 2. Monthly Live Teachings from IFS Lead Trainers [Annual Value $997]
  • 3. Printable Transcripts of ALL Teachings Calls, Videos, and Supporting Materials [Annual Value $197]
  • 4. Private Membership Site with Monthly Video and Audio Teachings [Annual Value $497]
  • 5. All Materials are Fully Downloadable [Annual Value $197]
  • 6. Private Internal Family Systems Facebook Group [Annual Value Priceless]

Annual Membership Value: $2,885+

Regular Price: $997

Enrollment will open in May 2018. Click here to join the waitlist.

100% Satisfaction Guaranteed!

We want all of our community members to be as thrilled with the information that we’re providing as we are and we’re confident that you WILL be totally satisfied. But if you’re not, for whatever reason, you can simply email us within 30 days and get your money back…no questions asked. I want to thank you in advance for joining us. Dr. Dick Schwartz

Oh so many things I don't know where to start, it has been fabulous. I have recommended it to many many colleagues....I like the part about the therapist watching her own parts and recognizing that as soon as the client walks in the room you are doing direct access. Some of the language has changed since I was trained and that was helpful. Love the authenticity of all the trainers! Really like the idea of revisiting the unburden part for at least four weeks encouraging follow up at home. You all worked beautifully together and are suburb example of Self energy. I am re-energized and more excited than ever about IFS. Thank you!

Being able to watch at my own rhythm and rewind in order to understand details of presentations, demos etc... Having several people presenting gave a more varied interpretation of the model. Being able to watch the demos being explained by the therapist gave me a deeper unique understanding of the process.

Having saved all the trainings and demos and monthly calls I feel like I have your wisdom and answers accessible whenever I need to ask. Ditto for the Facebook group. They deepen and further articulate issues that have been covered in the Level 1 & 2 but it's great to have the online sessions to refer to.

Having taken Level I and Level II, I am finding that listening to the videos 3-4 years after completing Level II is very helpful with respect to enabling me to further integrate my understanding and use of the IFS principles.

I feel that it gave me a good foundation for implementing IFS into my practice... the videos were engaging, the tech part easy, the visual presentation very accessible.

I like the flexibility of when I can listen, and like that it is an ongoing way for me to keep thinking in an IFS framework. I also learned a lot about the flow of the model.


I also found the transparency of the trainers, how vulnerable and real they were, to be helpful and engaging.


Sequential, clear, user-friendly info, too many to even name! I resisted registering for a few months because I've found online training to be so technically undependable, complicated to access, user-unfriendly, poor sound quality, etc. I'm NOT techie so I just didn't want the hassle. This training, in addition to its expert, excellent leadership, provides a refreshing experience using technology to learn counseling. A colleague showed me how easy it was to access modules and materials, I gave it a try, and I was hooked! Thank you for all the obvious effort you've put into this remarkable training from a content perspective and the technical side


Thank you for making this possible. Everything was positive about it for me. The highlights were getting more intensive training than is possible in regular IFS trainings. It is so helpful to have the phone calls and sessions available on PDF. I loved being able to study at my pace. The demos are really helpful. Also the opportunity to see how Dick works was such a privilege and learning experience. It made me feel more connected and inspired by the model.

J. Chrisman

The clarity of teaching from those with such a depth of experience who can communicate that in an accessible way so I can meet it and take it in. Then return to it later with a particular client in mind and I take it in at a different level. The humanity, heart and humour has been particularly appreciated. I'm also grateful for the smoothness and professionalism of the technology. Having this resource has helped to build my confidence and knowledge (and experience of my parts) and definitely helped me become more active in using IFS for myself (in therapy and supervision) and with clients.


The quality, the depth, the step by step, the accessibility to go at my own pace and review over and over again. WOW. Just WOW.