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WORKING WITH INNER CONFLICT AND POLARISED PARTS IN INTERNAL FAMILY SYSTEMS (IFS) - Supporting the development of mindful self-awareness and self-compassion.


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We have all felt trapped by conflicting desires and we often meet with clients who have a very strong motivation to move in one direction, but they are continually drawn away. This state is often experienced as “stuck”. In IFS we see it as a polarization between two parts that each believe the other is wrong.

“The length and difficulty of treatment in IFS is governed not by symptom severity but by the degree of polarization, distrust in Self-leadership and the client’s level of burdening.” Richard Schwartz, Internal Family Systems, 2nd Ed, 2020, p60.

Symptoms are the coping strategies of Parts trying to protect clients from emotional and psychological pain. When Parts are polarized, it means they are opposed to each other. We see this in our therapy rooms when clients are indecisive, ambivalent or hold two seemingly opposing beliefs. Polarizations tend to be an overcorrection. Polarizations are not uncommon; we all experience them to some degree or other. Exercise or rest. Eat or diet. Leave or stay.

Internal Family Systems (IFS) therapy, one of the fastest-growing approaches to psychotherapy, has a specific protocol for working with polarizations that differentiates and empowers the parts that can leave us feeling stuck. IFS enhances mindful awareness and self-compassion through getting to know Parts in a methodical yet intimate way providing a framework for restoring a sense of worthiness and self-trust.

The Benefits of IFS for therapists:

  1. IFS offers a consistent way to respectfully enter and respond to a clients’ inner ecology without a need to interpret, pathologize or diagnose.
  2. IFS supports symptom reduction leading to improved functioning for clients through releasing, rather than overriding, maladaptive beliefs and behaviours.
  3. IFS supports client self-healing, re-establishing the Self to Part relationship developing the skills of self-awareness and self-compassion.

IFS advances treatment by:

  1. Working with parts rather than trying override them.
  2. Supporting the development of mindful self-awareness and self-compassion.
  3. Encouraging clients to attend to their Parts between sessions improving affect regulation and self-efficacy.



Leona Dawson, M. Counselling & Applied Psychotherapy, MA (Language & Literacy), TAE40116, Dip Transpersonal Art Therapy, Dip Clinical Hypnosis & Strategic Psychotherapy's Profile

Leona Dawson, M. Counselling & Applied Psychotherapy, MA (Language & Literacy), TAE40116, Dip Transpersonal Art Therapy, Dip Clinical Hypnosis & Strategic Psychotherapy Related seminars and products

Transformative Consulting Services

Leona Dawson is a counsellor, psychotherapist, hypnotherapist and supervisor who works in private practice. She has 3 decades working in adult education and group facilitation in a range of contexts as well as becoming a Focusing Trainer before discovering Internal Family Systems eight years ago. IFS has enabled Leona to work with curiosity and compassion, moment by moment, with her clients as they come back into relationship with themselves. She has found that the IFS way of working is energising for therapists. Leona has completed the three levels of training offered by the Centre for Self-Leadership in the United States and has supported multiple international trainings. She offers IFS-oriented supervision and runs a MHPN peer group for IFS professionals. Leona has a Masters of Arts and a Master of Counselling & Applied Psychotherapy as well as Diplomas in Clinical Hypnotherapy and Transpersonal Art Therapy. She has also studied at the Milton H. Erickson Foundation and The Focusing Institute (New York).

Registration Details

Live Interactive Webcast registration
Fees: $139 
Primary viewer (includes three month's access recording of the event.
           $69.95 Additional viewer (must watch on same device as primary viewer)
           $19 Purchase lifetime access to the recording (available to primary viewer only)

  • Your attendance certificate for 3.5 hours of live, interactive training can be retrieved on completion of the evaluation and quiz via your account. 
  • A soft copy of all resources will remain in your account indefinitely.
  • A recording of this event will be available in your account approximately three weeks after the live event and will remain available for a full three months.  You will receive an email notification when the recording becomes available for viewing. 
  • If for whatever reason, you are unable to join the live webcast on the day, you will be able to watch the recording, complete your evaluation and quiz and retrieve  your certificate at a later date before the end of the three month viewing period.

Reminders for all events are sent two weeks, one week, one day and one hour prior.


Learning objectives of this training:

  1. Review key principles and concepts underpinning IFS as a therapeutic modality.
  2. Find protector Parts via a client’s story, presenting issue &/or body awareness.
  3. Identify the different types of polarizations
  4. Identify common indicators that a polarization is present.
  5. Discover how polarized Parts are attempting to protect the client from ‘even worse’ emotional and psychological pain.
  6. Learn a seven-step process for deescalating polarizations.

“All parts are welcome.” - when we look within ourselves, putting those words into practice, we open the way to deep inner transformation as ‘Parts’ come to realise they are not stuck in their roles and can choose to support us in a different ways. IFS unlocks that ability.”     Leona Dawson   ​

How will you benefit from attending this training?

  • Review of key IFS principles and protocol
  • Recognise that being stuck is an entry point to identifying dominant parts in the internal system
  • Recognise polarizations
  • Support polarized parts to transform their roles.



9:00am - 12:45pm

  • Review IFS principles and the 6 key steps in the IFS protocol
  • Explore common polarization patterns
  • Explore the key therapeutic steps when working with a polarization
  • Guided Experiential Activity: Meeting your own polarized Parts and find their positive intent for you.

Evaluation and quiz - your payment includes a quiz which when completed with a minimum of 80% correct answers, will enable you to download your Attendance Certificate.
To complete the quiz, please log into your account at and click the orange "Certificate" button under the program's title. 

For live webcasts, post-tests must be completed within one month of viewing the program.

Target Audience

This seminar has been designed to extend the clinical knowledge and applied skill of Counsellors, Psychotherapists, Coaches, Psychologists, Hypnotherapists, Social Workers, Community Workers, Mental Health Nurses and Psychiatrists.

Webcast Schedule

Morning Session
  9:00am - 12:45pm
  Includes a 15 minutes break at 10:45am

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