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Digital Recording

2-Day Intensive Workshop: Treating Complex Trauma with Internal Family Systems (IFS) Therapy

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Frank Anderson, MD
12 Hours 31 Minutes
Audio and Video
Sep 10, 2020
Product Code:
Media Type:
Digital Recording
Never expires.


Most modes of psychotherapy believe to have “parts” is pathological, but in IFS therapy, the idea of multiplicity of the mind is normal. Every part has a good intention, and every part has value. Even for trauma survivors.

In the treatment of trauma, IFS therapy is different from traditional phase-oriented treatments. Instead of starting with building resources in clients before processing traumatic memories, it welcomes extreme symptoms from the onset, learns about their positive protective intentions and gets their permission to access the traumatic wounds.

Hailed by Dr. van der Kolk, the world’s leading expert in trauma, IFS therapy is the treatment method that all clinicians should know. Nearly all clients with a trauma history have innate abilities that help them improve their mental health if they listen to their parts.

Watch IFS therapy and trauma expert Frank Anderson, MD, in this transformational workshop. Once you see it in action, you’ll want to incorporate it into your practice.

Clients will leave your office with skills to use outside the therapy room to help them master their emotions. This experiential workshop will show video demonstrations and include exercises and meditation techniques to use with your clients.

This product is not endorsed by, sponsored by, or affiliated with the IFS Institute and does not qualify for IFS Institute credits or certification.



This online program is worth 12.5 hours CPD.



Frank Anderson, MD's Profile

Frank Anderson, MD Related seminars and products

Frank Anderson, MD, completed his residency and was a clinical instructor in psychiatry at Harvard Medical School. He is both a psychiatrist and psychotherapist. He specializes in the treatment of trauma and dissociation and is passionate about teaching brain-based psychotherapy and integrating current neuroscience knowledge with the IFS model of therapy.

Dr. Anderson is a lead trainer at the IFS Institute with Richard Schwartz and maintains a long affiliation with, and trains for, Bessel van der Kolk’s Trauma Center. He serves as an advisor to the International Association of Trauma Professionals (IATP) and was the former chair and director of the Foundation for Self-Leadership.

Dr. Anderson has lectured extensively on the Neurobiology of PTSD and Dissociation and wrote the chapter “Who’s Taking What” Connecting Neuroscience, Psychopharmacology and Internal Family Systems for Trauma in Internal Family Systems Therapy – New Dimensions. He co-authored a chapter on What IFS Brings to Trauma Treatment in Innovations and Elaborations in Internal Family Systems Therapy, and recently co-authored Internal Family Systems Skills Training Manual.

His most recent book, entitled Transcending Trauma: Healing Complex PTSD with Internal Family Systems was released on May 19, 2021.

His memoir, To Be Loved, is set to be released on May 7, 2024.


Speaker Disclosures:
Financial: Dr. Frank Anderson maintains a private practice. He is the Executive Director of the Foundation for Self Leadership and has employment relationships with The Trauma Center and The Center for Self Leadership. Dr. Anderson receives royalties as a published author. He receives a speaking honorarium, recording, and book royalties from PESI, Inc. He has no relevant financial relationships with ineligible organizations.
Non-financial: Dr. Frank Anderson is a member of the New England Society Studying Trauma and Dissociation and the International Society for the Study of Trauma and Dissociation.


  1. Integrate the IFS model into your clinical practice and accelerate the healing from complex trauma.
  2. Analyze the protective parts of clients with trauma histories to help with assessment and treatment planning.
  3. Apply an alternative view of symptoms and psychopathology, showing how client’s parts are actually trying to protect them from emotional pain and psychological pain.
  4. Demonstrate how IFS translates common comorbidities into parts language, showing a non-pathological perspective of mental health disorders.
  5. Communicate how IFS increases the therapist’s curious and compassionate self when working with clients who have trauma histories.
  6. Differentiate a therapeutic issue from a biological condition for better decision making in your clinical practice.
  7. Evaluate traditional attachment theory perspectives on healing to the IFS view (an internal attachment model) and learn to trust the clients’ internal relationship to heal their traumatic wounds.
  8. Determine if trauma symptoms are rooted in sympathetic activation or parasympathetic withdrawal to help inform the treatment process.
  9. Demonstrate IFS specific therapeutic techniques that shift arousal and withdrawal, allowing quicker access to clients’ traumatic vulnerabilities.
  10. Develop a deep understanding of how neuroscience informs therapeutic decisions in IFS therapy.
  11. Integrate IFS with your current treatment approaches including EMDR, DBT, and Sensorimotor Psychotherapy.
  12. Differentiate IFS to traditional phase-oriented treatment and learn accelerated ways of accessing and healing traumatic wounds.


Treating the Various Types of Trauma
  • Acute trauma
  • PTSD
  • Complex or relational trauma
  • Developmental and attachment traumas
  • Extreme or dissociative trauma
Internal Family Systems (IFS): Healing of Emotional Wounds
  • The origins, goals & assumptions
  • A non-pathologizing, accelerated approach, rooted in neuroscience
  • Different from phase-oriented treatment
    • The importance of our protective responses
    • Deal with emotional overwhelm head-on
  • Multiplicity of the mind – we all have parts
  • Healing at the cellular level
  • Study limitations: small sample size, no control group
  • Clinical considerations for clients experiencing abuse
Manage Common Co-Morbidities
  • Depression, panic attacks, substance abuse, eating disorders, ADD and OCD
  • A non-pathological approach
    • Comorbidities as protective responses to trauma
    • Symptoms as “parts of the self”
Differentiate Therapeutic Issues from Biological Conditions
  • Intersection of biology and situation (“Real Mind-Body Medicine”)
  • Therapist’s role in biology – When to refer and when to work it through
  • Psychotherapy of psychopharmacology
The IFS Technique

Step 1: Identify the Target Symptom
  • Identify the “target symptom”
  • Apply meditation practices
  • Separate the person (self) from the symptom
  • Learn about its intention
Step 2: Gain Access to Internal Strengths & Resource for Healing
  • Move from defensiveness to curiosity
  • The “Self” of the therapist-countertransference redefined
  • Access compassion to open the pathways toward healing
  • Role of empathy in healing – the benefits and the downsides
Step 3: Find the Fear and Function of the Symptom
  • Focusing on its fear
  • The real story behind the symptom
  • Foster the internal relationship
Attachment Disorders and Relational Trauma
  • IFS as internal attachment work
  • Attachment styles as parts of self
  • Attachment trauma – the role of the therapist
  • Heal relational wounds of childhood
  • Client’s “Self” as the corrective object
  • Work with preverbal trauma
The Neurobiology of Trauma
  • Neuroscience for therapists – what you need to know
  • Fear circuitry and the development of PTSD
  • Extreme reactions and Autonomic Nervous System
  • Rage to suicide and dissociation to shame
Dealing with the Extreme Reactions of Trauma
  • Talk directly to the symptom-direct access
  • Introducing the part to the “Self”
  • Deal with the overwhelm – no need for building resources
  • Therapist parts – How to stay clear and calm while working with clients in extreme states
How Neuroscience Informs Therapeutic Decisions
  • Top-down and bottom-up strategies rooted in neuroscience
  • When it’s necessary to take over and “be the auxiliary brain” for your client
  • Sensing vs. making sense of things
  • At home strategies
Step 4: Healing of Traumatic Wounds:
  • Three phases to healing:
    • Witness the pain
    • Remove the wounded part out of the past
    • Let go of the feelings, thoughts and beliefs
  • Science behind the healing – memory reconsolidation
Integrate IFS into Your Treatment Approach
  • EMDR, DBT, Sensorimotor/SE and other methods
  • Transformation vs adaptation or rehabilitation
  • Going beyond the cognitive (experiential therapies)
  • Integrate IFS with your current clinical approach
Live demonstrations
Practice sessions

Target Audience

  • Counselors
  • Psychiatrists
  • Social Workers
  • Psychologists
  • Psychiatrists
  • Therapists
  • Addiction Counselors
  • Nurses
  • Marriage and Family Therapists
  • Other Professionals Who Work within the Mental Health Fields



Overall:      4.9

Total Reviews: 34


Amy V

"Very informative content."

Marion C

"loved this training - Dr. Anderson was excellent!"

Heather D

"What an outstanding training! I took this via digital seminar, which was great so I could re-watch certain parts of interest. Dr. Frank Anderson is a very engaging and intelligent presenter. He certainly knows IFS well, and his training has definitely sparked a desire in me to learn more about IFS. I also really appreciated the focus on the brain and the neurobiology of trauma. "

Gretchen E

"Excellent integration of neurology and IFS. "

Jonathan B

"Excellent content. Excellent teacher."

Kathleen W

"This course was fantastic and inspired me to pursue further training in IFS. "

Megan T

"Dr. Anderson was an excellent presenter. I just happen to disagree with with many of the tenets of IFS (upon completing this many CEUs). "

Karen M

"Challenging course, but well presented."

Allison H

"Great Presenter, very engaging, even while watching online"

Stephanie H

"I loved the brain based information for the technique. I feel like I now need to obtain my level 1 certification. "

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