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Digital Recording

Applying IFS Therapy for Addictive Processes

Bringing Compassion to Clients’ Polarized Parts

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Alexia Rothman, PhD
1 Hour 53 Minutes
Audio and Video
Mar 22, 2024
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Digital Recording
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When therapists hear the word addiction, they often think about drugs and alcohol. Yet many clients are caught in the grip of addictive processes that include binge eating, self-injury, or other compulsive behaviours such as gambling, overspending, gaming, and more. Often, the underlying processes fueling addictions are shrouded in shame and judgment. In this workshop, you’ll explore different kinds of compulsive comfort-seeking behaviours and discover IFS strategies that facilitate compassionate, respectful, and collaborative healing work. You’ll learn to:  

  • Use specific IFS techniques to help clients address and resolve compulsory and addictive behaviours 
  • Help clients develop trusting, collaborative relationships with the parts of themselves seeking comfort through addictive processes 
  • Guide clients toward healing the vulnerability and wounding that often underlie addictions 


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


Planning Committee Disclosure - No relevant relationships

All members of the PESI, Inc. planning committee have provided disclosures of financial relationships with ineligible organizations and any relevant non-financial relationships prior to planning content for this activity. None of the committee members had relevant financial relationships with ineligible companies or other potentially biasing relationships to disclose to learners.  For speaker disclosures, please see the faculty biography.


This online program is worth 2 hours CPD.



Alexia Rothman, PhD's Profile

Alexia Rothman, PhD Related seminars and products

Alexia (Lexi) D. Rothman, Ph.D., is a certified IFS therapist and consultant in Atlanta, GA. Dr. Rothman has been in private practice since 2004. She has received extensive training in Internal Family Systems Therapy from IFS developer Dr. Richard Schwartz, and has assisted in multiple Level 1 and 2 IFS trainings around the country, as well as serving as a professional consultant for IFS therapists.

She is a United States Presidential Scholar who graduated summa cum laude from Emory University as a Robert W. Woodruff Scholar. Dr. Rothman received her Ph.D. in clinical psychology from UCLA, where she was an Edwin W. Pauley Fellow and a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellow. She has held adjunct faculty positions at Emory University and Agnes Scott College.

Speaker Disclosures:
Financial: Dr. Alexia Rothman maintains a private practice. She is co-hosts of the podcasts IFS Masters and Explorations in Psychotherapy. She is a paid trainer with the IFS Institute, and she receives a speaking honorarium and recording royalties from PESI, Inc. Dr. Rothman receives compensation as a consultant. She has no relevant financial relationships with ineligible organizations.
Non-financial: Dr. Alexia Rothman is a member of the American Psychological Association, the Georgia Psychological Association, and the National Register of Health Service Psychologists.

Additional Info

Access for Self-Study (Non-Interactive)

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  1. Conceptualize the cycle of addiction through an IFS lens. 
  2. Discuss how to help clients with addictions approach their systems with compassion. 
  3. Explain the concept of intrapsychic polarization. 
  4. Apply the concept of intrapsychic polarization to understanding addictive processes in clients’ systems. 
  5. Apply IFS techniques for working with the polarized protective parts associated with addictive behaviours and processes. 


  • The cycle of addiction through an IFS lens 
  • Understanding the function of addictive processes and the role of polarized protector parts 
  • How to help clients with addictions approach their systems with compassion 
  • Helping clients to access their core, compassionate essence 
  • How to stay present with polarized protectors and urges to engage in addictive processes from a centred place 
  • The IFS definition of intrapsychic polarization and how it helps us understand addictive processes in clients’ systems 
  • How IFS can help clients access healing potential when working with and defusing addiction-related polarizations  
  • IFS techniques for working with polarized protective parts associated with addictive behaviours and processes 
  • The limitations of the research and potential risks 
  • Video Demonstration 

Target Audience

  • Psychologists
  • Physicians
  • Nurses
  • Counsellors
  • Marriage and Family Therapists
  • Addiction Counsellors
  • Social Workers


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