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Digital Seminar

Applying the IFS Model in Couples Therapy: Working with Inner Parts for Reconnection and Deeper Intimacy

Mona Barbera, PhD
Approx. 6 Hours
Apr 09, 2024
Product Code:
Media Type:
Digital Seminar

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Trapped within the well-worn patterns of conflict and resistance, couples spend so much time looking at each other as the source of their pain that they often overlook how their own systems contribute to the problem.

In the relentless dance of blame, frustration and distance, they lose sight of their inner landscapes, which are so crucial to understanding and healing their relationship.

That’s why if you work with couples, you need to be using IFS therapy.

The IFS model offers a simple and effective way for clients to understand their inner worlds and access their innermost parts, including the protective and wounded aspects of themselves that can perpetuate cycles of conflict. And when you apply this approach to couples therapy, you can make remarkable changes in the ways couples interact and relate to themselves and one another.

Now in this recording you’ll watch Dr. Mona Barbera, author of the awardwinning book Bring Yourself to Love: How Couples Can Turn Disconnection into Intimacy – based on the Internal Family Systems model.

Dr. Barbera will show you how you can use strategies from IFS therapy to:

  • Foster self-awareness and self-compassion in both partners, creating a foundation for healthier communication and empathy.
  • Empower couples to support each other in their individual healing processes, strengthening the bond between them.
  • De-escalate conflicts with tools to promote more productive conversations.
  • Help clients recognize the protective and wounded parts in themselves and their partners, facilitating a shift from blame to understanding.
  • And much more!

Don’t miss this chance to enhance your skills, bring transformative change to your clients, and revitalize your couples therapy practice.

Purchase today!


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.

CE Information Coming Soon

Continuing education credit information is coming soon for this non-interactive self-study package.

CEs may be available for select professions, as listed in the target audience. Hours will be dependent on the actual recording time. Please check with your state licensing board or organization for specific requirements. 

There may be an additional fee for CE certificates. Please contact our Customer Service at 1-800-844-8260 for more details. 

**Materials that are included in this course may include interventions and modalities that are beyond the authorized practice of your profession. As a licensed professional, you are responsible for reviewing the scope of practice, including activities that are defined in law as beyond the boundaries of practice in accordance with and in compliance with your professions standards.


Mona Barbera, PhD's Profile

Mona Barbera, PhD Related seminars and products

Mona Barbera, PhD, is a psychologist with over 35 years of experience, specializing in couples therapy and training psychotherapists. Her book for couples, Bring Yourself to Love: How Couples Can Turn Disconnection into Intimacy is the winner of the prestigious 2009 Benjamin Franklin Award in psychology/self-help, the bronze medalist in 2008 IPPY awards in relationships and sexuality, and a finalist in the 2009 Eric Hoffer Awards. Dr. Barbera has written for the academic journals The Journal of Imago Relationship Therapy and The Journal of Psychoanalysis and Psychotherapy, and she has chapters in Imago Relationship Therapy: Perspectives on Theory, by Luquet, Hannah and Hunt and in Altogether US by Jenna Riemersma. She is past chair of the program committee and past board member of the New England Society for the Study and Treatment of Trauma and Dissociative Disorders. Dr. Barbera is an assistant trainer for Internal Family Systems, a system of psychotherapy developed by Dr. Richard Schwartz.

Speaker Disclosures:
Financial: Mona Barbera maintains a private practice and is part owner of Dos Monos Press. She receives royalties as a published author and receives a consulting fee from the Ifs Institute. Mona Barbera receives a speaking honorarium from PESI, Inc. She has no relevant financial relationships with ineligible organizations.
Non-financial: Mona Barbera is a member of the American Psychological Association and the Rhode Island Psychological Association.

Additional Info

Access for Self-Study (Non-Interactive)

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  1. Summarize the fundamental principles of Internal Family Systems (IFS) and how they apply to clinical practice.
  2. Utilize the Internal Family Systems model to enhance self-awareness and improve interpersonal skills in clients.
  3. Evaluate the clinical implications of the relationship between self-leadership and relational outcomes.
  4. Develop an understanding of how therapists’ awareness of their internal processes impacts their clinical work, the therapeutic relationship, and client interactions.
  5. Evaluate the preliminary support for IFS as a promising practice for the treatment of PTSD among adults with a history of childhood trauma.
  6. Identify how using IFS therapy approaches in couples treatment will expose vulnerable emotions between individuals.


Understand the Basics of Internal Family Systems Therapy

  • Overview of Internal Family Systems therapy
  • Key concepts, such as self-energy, protectors, and exiles
  • The role of the therapist in guiding couples
  • Research and research limitations

Use IFS Model Principles to Assess Readiness for Couples Therapy Success

  • How to determine if partners are able to benefit from IFS couples therapy
  • Barriers that impact readiness
  • Indications and contraindications for couples therapy and IFS therapy
  • The goals of IFS therapy with couples

Get Started: Create IFS Therapy-Informed Treatment Plans for Couples

  • How to find out if your own parts get in the way
  • Develop goals unique to the couple
  • Ensure treatment remains focused on the actual problems
  • Recreate the problem in real time in the therapy room
  • Avoid unsuccessful, draining, or unfocused sessions

Integrate the IFS Model into Your Couples Therapy: Key Applications to Strengthen Connection, Open Communication, and Resolve Conflicts

  • How partners’ inner systems interact
  • Inner parts that may contribute to relationship issues
  • Identify protectors and their good intentions
  • Establish appreciative relationships with protectors
  • Find the right depth of intervention
  • Healing exiles
  • Restore natural connection with unburdened inner systems
  • Release self-awareness, self-compassion, and innate communication
  • IFS strategies to identify and communicate needs, fears, and concerns
  • Release the confidence of the couple to solve their own problems

Apply the IFS Model to Partners with Trauma

  • How past traumas may affect a couple’s dynamics
  • Identify trauma-related inner parts and their influence on the relationship
  • Use IFS to facilitate trauma-informed couples therapy approaches
  • Avoid pitfalls with traumatized partners

Case Studies and Practical Examples: How IFS Therapy Can be Used to Address Common Relationship Challenges

Target Audience

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


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