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Digital Seminar

Using IFS Therapy Skills with individuals and families caught within the cycle of addiction

Jennifer (Jen) Nield, Masters Counselling & Family Therapy, Grad. Dip. Experiential & Creative Art Therapy, Grad Cert Soc Sci Family Violence.
1 Hour 04 Minutes
Audio and Video
Nov 30, 2023
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Digital Seminar
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Do you have clients who arrive at your office and desperately want to stop drinking or gambling or, clients who want their loved one to stop using drugs or other addictive behaviours? It can feel like you are going in circles, with your therapist parts anxiously responding to the urgency of the clients’ desire for physical and relational wellbeing. 

Traditionally working with addiction has focused on ceasing the use of substances or actions driving the addictive process. Embracing IFS thereapy will allow clinicians to recognize that the parts engaged with the addictive process have positive intent so rather than eliminating them, we seek to assist them to find preferred ways of doing their job.  

This modality can help identify the web of parts triggered by the personal, social and moral issues surrounding addictive behaviours. By helping people understand how their parts are protecting both inner and outer family systems IFS therapy can decrease the shame and reactivity of the cycle of addiction. Utilizae IFS therapy as a way to help clients reconnect with core values and their innate capacity to “Self”-regulate rather than relying on somebody else to change. 

This presentation will reveal how to use traditional AOD tools such as “the stages of change” to scaffold the IFS thereapy process. It will also explore how different therapeutic modalities can help clients identify different parts. Finally, the presentation will explore how to use IFS therapy when working within institutions that have mandatory processes such as “suicide safety plans” or standardized comprehensive AOD assessments in place. 

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



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 program is worth 1.25 hours CPD for points calculation by your association.



Jennifer (Jen) Nield, Masters Counselling & Family Therapy, Grad. Dip. Experiential & Creative Art Therapy, Grad Cert Soc Sci Family Violence.'s Profile

Jennifer (Jen) Nield, Masters Counselling & Family Therapy, Grad. Dip. Experiential & Creative Art Therapy, Grad Cert Soc Sci Family Violence. Related seminars and products

Jen Nield is a family therapist working both in the community sector and in private practice. She is an experienced group facilitator and has written multiple group programs that are now being used widely throughout Victoria. Jen has worked extensively in the family violence sector providing individual, couple and family therapy to both people who have used violence and those who have been violated. Jen is now working in the Alcohol and Other Drug sector and providing IFS training to AOD workers. Jen has a history of working with adolescents both in psychiatric inpatient settings and in the broader community sector. Prior to becoming a therapist, Jen worked in community theatre and won numerous awards for her work with young people who had experienced multiple adverse childhood experiences. 

Speaker Disclosures:
Financial: Jennifer Nield has an employment relationship with Access Health and Community. She receives a speaking honorarium from PESI, Inc. She has no relevant financial relationships with ineligible organizations.
Non-financial: Jennifer Nield has no relevant non-financial relationships.


  1. Recognize and work with polarisations in both the individual and family response to addiction. 
  2. Employ traditional AOD tools, public mandates, and other therapeutic practices to enhance IFS therapy. 
  3. Apply capacity to respond to the shame that pervades the cycle of addiction. 
  4. Identify and unblend therapist parts triggered when working with addiction. 


Identify the polarization between parts that use addictive behaviours and parts that want to end the addiction. 

Facilitating a mediation between firefighters and managers so that they can create space for each other and consider new ways of working harmoniously to protect the client. 

Using Toni Herbine-Blank’s IFIO process to identify how internal and external family protectors are triggering each other. 

Using other therapeutic modalities and mandated processes to enhance the IFS process.

Target Audience

  • Counselors 
  • Social Workers 
  • Psychologists 
  • Marriage & Family Therapists 
  • Addiction Counselors 
  • Physicians 
  • Physician Assistants 
  • Nurses 
  • Nurse Practitioners  
  • Other Mental Health Professionals 

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