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Digital Seminar

2-Day Internal Family Systems (IFS) for Children and Adolescents

Leslie Petruk, MA, LPC-S, NCC, BCC
12 Hours 49 Minutes
May 13, 2021
Product Code:
Media Type:
Digital Seminar
Never expires.


Most therapeutic models with set agendas do not work with children, especially when they are not ready to tell their story because of behavioural challenges, trauma, anxiety, and depression.

In this unique integrative training, practice creative and playful approaches to successfully engage children, move at their own pace and help them overcome their challenges.

You’ll be given an all-new process to follow so you can:

  • Integrate IFS in your work with child and adolescent clients
  • Help your young clients identify and befriend their parts.
  • Use fun and engaging activities to reduce difficulties met in their young lives!

IFS is a non-directive, and non-pathologizing model that can be effectively applied to working with children of all ages. Whether incorporating in non-directive play therapy with younger children or engaging activities with older children, utilizing IFS techniques is easily adapted to therapy with children.



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The Stone Center For Counseling & Leadership

Leslie Petruk, MA, LPC-S, NCC, BCC, is a Licensed Professional Counselor with over 20 years of experience with individuals and families. Leslie is the director at The Stone Center for Counseling & Leadership in Charlotte, NC, and a clinical supervisor.

She is a certified IFS therapist and in the process of becoming an IFS assistant trainer. As a program assistant for the Center for Self Leadership (CSL), the IFS organization founded by IFS creator Richard Schwartz, PhD, Leslie has helped assist IFS workshops across the United States. She maintains a long affiliation with CSL and their passion to educate mental health professionals worldwide. Her clinical experience using IFS includes working with children, individuals, couples and families. She specializes in the application of IFS to parenting and working with children. 

Her specialized training as a play therapist and marriage and family therapist serve her well in her focus with children, couples and individuals who are dealing with grief and loss, depression, anxiety, trauma, adjustment and relational issues. Additionally, she works with special needs children and their families, children and families experiencing divorce, and children with behavioral issues in school, for which she provides parenting consultation, coaching and school observation/remediation services.  

Leslie offers consultation to therapists who are learning the IFS model and specializes in working with those who want to apply IFS in working with children and parents.  For those who are ready to take the next step in the IFS model, she also offers individual and group consultation and supervision services for IFS therapists in training.

Speaker Disclosures:

Financial: Leslie H. Petruk is the owner and director of The Stone Center for Counseling & Leadership. She receives a speaking honorarium and consulting fee from the Internal Family Systems Institute. She receives a speaking honorarium and recording royalties from PESI, Inc. She has no relevant financial relationships with ineligible organizations.

Non-financial: Leslie H. Petruk is a member of the American Counseling Association, the Association for Play Therapy, the North Carolina Counseling Association, and the North Carolina Association for Play Therapy.

Additional Info

Program Information

Access for Self-Study (Non-Interactive)

Access never expires for this product.


  1. Investigate the basic tenets of the IFS therapeutic model as created by Dr. Richard Schwartz.
  2. Categorize the different types of parts: managers, firefighters & exiles.
  3. Determine the positive intention of parts in child client sessions to inform treatment planning.
  4. Utilize the “YOU turn” to help your child clients become acquainted with their internal system as relates to behaviours and emotional regulation.
  5. Practice befriending and working with the child’s/adolescent’s protective parts in session.
  6. Demonstrate how to help child and adolescent clients access Self and help them to heal exiled parts.
  7. Propose how to apply IFS with children to help them understand and identify the intentions of their protective parts.
  8. Integrate IFS techniques in with play therapy techniques to improve treatment outcomes with young clients.
  9. Formulate age appropriate activities to help children identify, befriend and heal their parts.
  10. Demonstrate to child/adolescent clients the difference between speaking for their parts vs. speaking from their parts to improve emotion regulation and behaviours.
  11. Practice with the parents of child/adolescent clients in how to support their child’s use of parts language.
  12. Support parents in identifying how their parts become activated and polarized with their child’s parts.


DAY 1: The IFS Model Step by Step
Internal Family Systems (IFS) Model

  • Comprehensive, compassionate, nonpathologizing paradigm
  • Integration with various therapeutic modalities
  • Shift perspective on “psychopathology”
  • Understand the inner world of clients, self and parts
  • Heighten internal strengths for healing
  • Empirically validated treatment (Study limitations: small sample size, no control group)
  • Risks: review clinical considerations

Step-by-Step Technique
Step 1: Identify, understand, connect

  • Translate the presenting concern into part/parts
  • Map the system of parts
  • Identify protectors and exiles
  • Know where to begin

Step 2: Employ a Meditative Process, Mindfulness

  • Differentiate the person from the symptom
  • Access a state of compassion
  • Help clients to become curious
  • Connect with the target part
  • Facilitate internal attachment work

Step 3: Work with Protective Parts

  • Learn the history and benevolent intention behind the symptom
  • Establish a trusting relationship with all parts
  • Understand the fears and address concerns of protective parts
  • Discover the real story behind the symptom
  • Resolve internal conflicts
  • Gain permission to heal

Step 4: Heal the Wound

  • Inner attachment work for wounds
  • Connect with the wounded/vulnerable part
  • Witness the pain rather than relieve it
  • Retrieve the wounded part from past
  • Release feelings, thoughts, sensations, negative beliefs

Step 5: Integration

  • Invite additional inner resources
  • Integrate systemic reorganization
  • Solidify strengths/gains

DAY 2: IFS for Children and Adolescents
IFS: A Non-Directive, Child-Centred Model

  • Getting started: how to help parts feel safe and welcomed
  • Child chooses the nature of play/therapeutic process
  • Trust that the parts will emerge during play/conversation
  • Unconditional positive regard remains paramount

Incorporating IFS with Play Strategies

  • Identifying parts
  • Interviewing the parts
  • Parts mapping
  • Shaping your parts
  • Parts’ drama
  • Drawing your parts and self
  • And more!

Trauma, Attachment, Behavioural Challenges, Anxiety, Depression

  • Track the client’s parts (and yours!) throughout session
  • Work with blended parts & how to externalize parts
  • Direct access vs. in-sight
  • Developing a self-to-part relationship

Bring IFS To Life in Your Clinical Practice

  • Activities, case studies & videos
  • Externalizing a part clay activity
  • Experiential parts activity
  • Sand tray therapy video
  • Parts, exiles, and self in the sand tray
  • Developing self-to-part relationship activity

Target Audience

  • Psychologists
  • School Psychologists
  • Counselors
  • School Counselors
  • Marriage & Family Counselors
  • Social Workers
  • Educators
  • Speech-Language Pathologists
  • Creative Arts Therapists
  • Nurses
  • Any mental health professional who works with children

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