Internal Family Systems

Introduction to Working with the Inner Parts of the Person

About this Training

This is a 20 hour introductory course in the Internal Family Systems (IFS) Model of psychotherapy which has just gained the first level of empirical evidence through SAMHSA! IFS was originally developed by Dr. Richard Schwartz in the 1990s from listening to the experiences of clients that he worked with who were struggling from trauma and eating disorders. IFS has grown exponentially in the field of psychotherapy and has been shown to be effective with many different types of problems and issues and with many different client populations. IFS has also moved beyond the therapy room and has applications related to coaching, mediation, educational initiatives and spirituality. While this course is a BASIC although experiential INTRODUCTION to the use of IFS in psychotherapy coaches interested in the model are also welcome. Please see below some information on the IFS Model and coaching and see our certified Coach facilitator Kevin Cheesebrough.

The experienced trainers will emphasize experiential exercises, demonstrations, supervised skill development practice sessions and lecture. The training is intended to be a "how to" experience of seeing, experiencing and using the model.

Participants will learn to identify parts within their own internal systems, increase Self presence, and use the model to guide clients through a natural healing process toward integration and wholeness.

Trainees will be guided through processes that assist the emergence of Self presence in practice sessions as well as the processes of Unblending, Witnessing, Retrieval and Unburdening of wounded and extreme parts. They will learn how to use both Insight with clients who have Self presence and Direct Access with clients who are blended with a part.

Previous exposure to the model is strongly recommended to anyone interested in this training and that exposure can be from reading any of Richard Schwartz's books on IFS, Self Therapy by Jay Early or Parts Work by Tom Holmes. Anyone who has gone to other trainings on IFS would also meet the recommendation of prior exposure.

For more information about IFS, complete formal training and certification visit


Internal Family Systems: Introduction to Working with the Inner Parts of the Person

Friday, May 1st, 9am to Sunday, May 3rd, 1pm

Individual and Family CHOICES Program; 2214 North Atherton Street, Suite 4; State College, PA 16803

The Individual and Family CHOICES Program in State College PA has a warm and inviting atmosphere and is easily accessible from various locations. The home of the main campus of Penn State University affords many options for lodging as well as comfortable and varied eateries. Upon registration participants will be sent a packet of information related to hotels and other lodging options as well as other details.
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Course Objectives

After completing this training participants will be able to:

1. explain and present the basic assumptions, goals, and benefits of IFS in regard to non-pathological multiplicity of mind and the concepts of Self to at least one client.

2. define the concepts of Self, Parts, and the skills of identification of parts, Unblending, Witnessing, Retrieval, Unburdening in the therapeutic process between themselves and one of their clients.

3. identify where in the flow of the process he or she is as a therapist in regard to one client.

4. explain the types of parts: Exiles, Managers and Firefighters, their systemic relationship and the protective nature of the internal system to at least one colleague and one client.

5. conduct an IFS session with at least one of their clients from start to finish.

6. explain to at least one colleague and one client the internal systemic change that occurred internally to him or herself due to IFS session work in the training.

A Word About this Training for Coaches

Coaches: The Internal Family Systems therapy model is founded in the promotion of awareness of the ‘inner community’ of competing sub personalities that we all live with. These sub-personalities can prevent or enable movement forward. Using the IFS model to work with “parts” leads to, greater trust and intimacy in the coaching relationship, enhanced presence for the coach, and new self-understanding and resolution of roadblocks for the client. This model is adaptable to the non-therapeutic coaching process enabling greater Self-awareness and Self leadership. Coaching participants in this training will become familiar with the IFS model, experience awareness of parts, map their own inner community of parts and consider applications toward client Self leadership. This training has been approved through the International Coach Federation for 12 continuing clock hours.

Continuing Education Hours for Professional Counselors, Social Workers and Marriage and Family Therapist

This training is sponsored by Wise Heart Leadership Initiative located at CHOICES; 2214 North Atherton Street, Suite 4, State College, PA 16803; (814) 404-0286.

Wise Heart Leadership Initiative is an Approved Continuing Education Provider (ACEP #6587) for the National Board for Certified Counselors (NBCC) and may offer NBCC approved clock hours for events that meet NBCC requirements. The ACEP solely is responsible for all aspects of the program. This training is approved for 20 continuing education clock hours.

Wise Heart Leadership Initiative is also an Approved Continuing Education Provider (ACE Provider #1261) for the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB) ( and is approved as a provider for social work continuing education. Wise Heart Leadership Initiative maintains responsibility for the program and the ASWB approval period is for 9/6/2018 to 9/6/2021. Social workers participating in this course will receive 20 clinical continuing education clock hours.

Certificates of attendance will be given on site upon completion of program for all attending the training in its entirety and upon completion of the course evaluation.

Persons with Disabilities

CHOICES is a fully handicapped assessable facility. Any requests for any accommodations or special needs can be made by contacting Lois Ehrmann at or by calling Lois at (814) 237-0567 Ext. 106.


Lois Ehrmann PhD, LPC, NCC is the Director of Wise Heart Leadership Initiative and will be on site during the training. She will take care of any problems or grievances participants may have at that time. After the training she can be contacted at or by calling her at (814) 237-0567 Ext. 106.

Meet the Trainers all Formerly Trained in IFS

Evelyn Wald MS, MDiv, LPC, NCC, IFS Level 1 Trained

Evelyn began her interest in Internal Family Systems over 10 years ago as a result of an IFS training at a Psychotherapy Networker Conference. Since then she joined the CHOICES Program in State College, PA and enjoyed two weekend trainings and regular consultations in IFS. Evelyn became our loss and bereavement specialist at CHOICES providing trauma informed therapy to children and adults struggling with all levels of loss and transition. While we were blessed to have her presence at CHOICES she also became a trusted guide in the introductory IFS trainings sponsored through Wise Heart Leadership Initiative in 2009 and in 2013 she was formally trained in a Center for Self Leadership Level 1 training. Evelyn is a sought after trainer in her specialty areas and has been a gift to the people she has mentored as a guide in our Central PA trainings. While Evelyn has retired from working directly with clients at CHOICES she continues in the human services field now working as the Executive Director at the Center for Alternatives in Criminal Justice in State College, PA. She has agreed to stay on the training staff for our IFS weekends and she looks forward to working with the participants of this upcoming training!

Karen Hansel MSW, LCSW, IFS Level 1 Trained

Karen is the Clinical Director at CHOICES & is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker. She has 20 years of experience in the mental health field & has worked with children, adults,& families in multiple levels of care. She obtained her MSW at the University of Pittsburgh. She is a trauma focused therapist who works collaboratively with her clients to promote strengths & healing. She is trained in Structural Family Therapy, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Interpersonal Psychotherapy, EMDR, Trauma Focused CBT, & Internal Family Systems. Karen is also an Approved Clinical Supervisor and has also taken part in consultations with other agencies related to environmental improvements which promote growth and healing. Karen is well known in the Central PA area as a steadfast and consistent psychotherapist who is compassionate with her clients & passionate about their birthright for healing & wholeness. Her clarity and perceptual intuitiveness have also made her a colleague who other professionals seek for clinical supervision & consultation.

Lois Ehrmann, PhD, LPC, NCC, IFS Level 1,2,3, Trained and Certified IFS Clinician

Lois became curious about Internal Family Systems therapy when a colleague told her about it while they both were training in EMDR. That started a journey that led her to training in the model as well as bringing in a trainer to teach a whole staff about the use of IFS as a foundational model in a trauma informed program. Out of those efforts was born the Individual and Family CHOICES Program of State College, PA! And the ride continued. Lois graduated from her IFS Level 1 in 2010 and then went on to train two years in a row in Somatic IFS. In February, 2018 and 2019 Lois was thrilled and honored to be named to the program assistant team for the annuaI Somatic IFS Training/Retreat in Costa Rica! While she was undergoing her formal IFS training she paired up with Bruce Hersey MSW, LCSW, IFS therapist and together they started Wise Heart Leadership Initiative. The main purpose of Wise Heart was to bring the IFS model to more professional helpers in the central PA area through training programs and consultation. Lois became a certified IFS therapist in 2011 and then completed her level 2 training in 2013 and her level 3 training in March of 2014. She has also presented five times at the annual IFS Conference two times of which were full day pre-conference programs .

Lois wanted to bring the IFS model to more children and families so she began writing books for kids and parents about IFS. She wrote Kids have Parts and an accompanying parent manual that were copyrighted in 2014 and then improved in a second edition copyrighted in 2016. She has been introducing the model to groups of professionals and parents, children and teenagers since 2010.

Just for fun, Lois became the lead researcher in the development of a scale that could be used for verifying IFS processes in outcome based studies on IFS. The IFS Rating Scale took about 18 months to develop and it was validated and found reliable in late 2014.

Lois has been using IFS since 2007 as part of an integrated trauma focused treatment for traumatized and attachment challenged children and their families. She is excited to once again bring an IFS Introduction to CHOICES and to share her knowledge with professionals new to the model.

Ellen Black MSW, LCSW, IFS Level 1 Trained

Ellen was in the very first Introduction to Internal Family Systems therapy that Wise Heart Leadership Initiative conducted in Altoona PA in 2009. Since then she has been a guide in subsequent intro trainings and graduated from the formal IFS Level 1 training in Altoona in 2013. She continues to study IFS and has pursued a mission of bringing IFS and trauma informed care to individuals who have intellectual disabilities as well as those in sheltered care. We are honored and feel very blessed to have Ellen join our team for the 2016 Intro weekend!

Kevin Cheesebrough, PCC, IFS Level 1 Trained

Kevin R. Cheesebrough, Captain USN, (Ret), is an International Coach Federation (ICF), PCC, certified executive/leadership and career/life coach. His area of interest in coaching is bringing the Internal Family Systems model into the art of coaching. Kevin is on the core faculty for the Duquesne University ICF certified Professional Coach Certification Program (PCCP) where he teaches Ethics for Coaches, Mindfulness for Coaches and mentors student coaches. He is also a graduate of the Duquesne University PCCP course. Kevin has attended the Internal Family Systems (IFS) Level One training sponsored by the Center for Self-Leadership and assists in IFS trainings. His career includes twenty eight years in the United State Navy (submarines) where he commanded a nuclear submarine and ten years in the research and development industry before transitioning to the coaching profession. Kevin has his own private practice, is an external leadership coach for The Pennsylvania State University and an associate executive coach for Lee, Hecht, Harrison, Pittsburgh, PA. Kevin holds a bachelors degree in nuclear engineering from The Pennsylvania State University and a masters degree in management science from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.


Early Bird Registration before 4/1/2020 is $450.00

Regular Registration as of and after 4/1/2020 is $550.00

To pay by credit card go to and click on the May 2020 Introduction to IFS page. You can pay through Pay Pal using a credit card! Otherwise you can contact Lois Ehrmann at to get the registration material and mail that back with a check made out to "Lois Ehrmann".

Cancellation Policy: Cancellations before 4/15/2020 will receive full refund feel less a 10% processing fee. No refunds after 4/15/2020.

Training is Limited to 20 Participants So register Early!!!

To Register

Contact Dr. Ehrmann at and express your interest and she will send you a registration form!