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Digital Seminar

Internal Family Systems Therapy (IFS) with Children & Parents: Innovative Interventions that Combine the Strength of IFS with the Power of Play

Leslie Petruk, MA, LPC-S, NCC, BCC
6 Hours 31 Minutes
May 11, 2020
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Digital Seminar
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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.

Play is the natural language of children. Discover how integrating Internal Family Systems (IFS) with Play Therapy allows the child to move at their own pace. Both are evidence-based modalities that will easily get you the tools and strategies you need to transform the work you do with children and families!

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 and play into the therapy you’re already doing
  • Apply techniques with children so that they don’t have to tell the story out loud
  • Help kids “go inside” to discover their strengths and access their inner wisdom

If you only purchase one continuing education program this year make it this one! Give yourself the gift of joy as children begin to view their behaviours and feelings with a kinder, more self-loving lens so they can heal and transform. Buy this recording today!


Note: This product is not affiliated with the IFS Institute and does not qualify toward IFS Institute credits or IFS Institute certification.


Continuing Professional Development Certificates
- PESI Australia, in collaboration with PESI in the USA, offers quality online continuing professional development events from the leaders in the field at a standard recognized by professional associations including psychology, social work, occupational therapy, alcohol and drug professionals, counselling and psychotherapy. On completion of the training, a Professional Development Certificate is issued after the individual has answered and submitted a quiz and course evaluation. This online program is worth 6.5 hours CPD for points calculation by your association.



Leslie Petruk, MA, LPC-S, NCC, BCC's Profile

Leslie Petruk, MA, LPC-S, NCC, BCC Related seminars and products

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, Ph.D., 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 Petruk is the owner of The Stone Center for Counseling & Leadership and has an employment relationship with 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 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.


  1. Investigate Internal Family Systems (IFS) concepts, process and techniques to broaden treatment intervention options working with children in play therapy.
  2. Assess how IFS brings a non-pathologizing perspective of mental health disorders by translating common comorbidities into parts language and how to apply this perspective in working with children in play therapy.
  3. Evaluate the IFS view that clients’ symptoms and psychopathology are attempts to solve an emotional problem and how to help children improve challenging behaviours.
  4. Role-play a clinical session to deepen one’s understanding of IFS treatment strategies working with children.
  5. Practice parts identification and mapping to begin to understand the IFS process and how it can be applied in the context of play therapy and working with parents.
  6. Formulate the benefits of conceptualizing cases and applying IFS to one’s current clinical practice within the context of play therapy with children and parenting.



  • How it’s different than traditional therapy models
  • Basic assumptions, goals of therapy
    • What are parts? Managers, firefighters and exiles
  • Limitations of the research and potential risks


Identify and Connect with the Target Part

  • Separate the client from the symptom
  • Find the real story behind the symptom

Working with the Protective Parts

  • Address the fears and concerns of the parts
  • Develop a relationship with the protectors

Heal the Wounded Part

  • Witness the pain rather than re-experiencing it
  • Release and unburden thoughts, feelings, and beliefs


Non-Directive, Child-Centered

  • Basic assumptions across both models: Child chooses the nature of play
    • Trust that the parts will emerge during play
    • Unconditional positive regard remains paramount
  • Getting started: How to help parts feel safe and welcomed
  • Presenting Issues: 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

IFS-Informed Play Therapy Strategies

  • Interviewing the parts
  • Parts mapping
  • Shaping your parts
  • Parts’ drama
  • And more!


Activities, Case Studies & Videos

  • Externalizing a part clay activity
  • Sand Tray therapy video
  • Parts, exiles, and Self in the Sand Tray
  • Developing Self-to-part relationship activity

*Bring your own favourite playthings – mini’s, paper, pencils, oil pastels, crayons, markers, clay squares


Improve Connection, Communication, and Cooperation

  • Weaving IFS concepts into discussions with parents
  • Help parents identify their parts and how they are activated
  • How shame and punishment create exiles
  • Help parents let go of agendas and meeting the kids where they are at
  • Successfully engage even the most disconnected parents

IFS-Informed Parenting Strategies

  • Doing the YOU turn
  • Befriending vs. managing the child’s parts
  • Parts mapping
  • The 8 C’s of Self
  • And more!

Target Audience

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

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