Frequently Asked Questions

Who are this courses for?

These courses are meant for therapists. They are open to related professions, such as coaches or health professionals. But only therapists will be eligible for FOT certification by the International Focusing Institute. 

This training is for both seasoned professionals who want to integrate a lifetime of experience as well as therapists who are relatively new to the field and seek a framework to organize new experiences.

It is for people who are already Focusers as well as people who don’t know Focusing. The training will bring non-Focusers up to speed. 

If you are already a certified Focusing-Oriented Therapist, you will find that taking this training (or some of the courses) will enrich your work with new perspectives.

All trainees are expected to have had significant practice as a client in their own personal therapy. This can be remediated by having individual therapy during the training.

How do I enroll?

You enroll in a specific course (see Courses).

You do not enroll in the program as a whole (but feel free to tell us you intend to do the full program, using the application form).

Who are the people behind this program?

The IFT training program was created by Leslie Ellis, Jan Winhall, and Serge Prengel. It is fully accredited by The international Focusing Institute and leads to certification by them.

Can I see or read more about your approach?

See short videos and articles.

Is this a 2-year program?

If you do the full program, it takes 2 years or so to do it at a reasonable pace while working as a therapist. But you don’t have to do it all at once, you can take individual courses as you wish.

Is there some overlap between the courses?

Yes, of course. For instance, each of our courses refers to the Polyvagal theory, trauma, embodiment, and the experiential nature of Focusing. This is not redundant. You are exploring essential topics with different perspectives, and this deepens your understanding of the material. This is a key tenet of this program.

Do I need to know Focusing before starting the program?

No. We will give you a short introduction to Focusing (self-learning) and you will organically become more proficient in Focusing as you take classes and practice (each course includes Focusing partnerships with other trainees between classes).

If you’d like more formal training in Focusing in addition to learning organically, we would be happy to suggest Focusing trainers.

I am already very skilled in Focusing (I am certified). Will this program be useful to me?

Yes. What we are training you to do is to integrate all of your skills and experiences into a personal way of working that’s right for you. The more skills and experience you come in with, the deeper you go with the training.

What is the level of work demanded by the courses, particularly in terms of homework?

Before each training session, you need to watch the recorded presentation (and/or readings) which would take 30 minutes ot an hour. There’s also a Focusing partnership with a fellow student.

This is not the same kind of training that you have experienced in College and in a graduate program, where the focus is on academic work. Our approach is experiential. We do theory, quite a bit of it, but all of it within a context where the focus is how you integrate new perspectives with what else you know. How you apply it with clients. And, last but not least, how it changes you as a person.

The word “transformational” is often misused. But there is something to it in this case: the goal is to help you better understand who you are in relation to the work you do.

The ongoing homework is your personal process, much of it unconscious, and some of it conscious. For instance, as you work with your clients. Or, as you reflect on the work you do with your clients. This does not add a time commitment. We believe you will experience it as a satisfying framework for your existing work.

Are there tests? How do I pass a course?

There are no tests. This is a highly experiential course. Teachers evaluate you based on class participation. It is expected that you will attend every session of any given course. We understand that life can be unpredictable, and we allow for one missed session per course (which you must make up with recorded classes).

Why is there an emphasis on trauma?

All three of us have approaches that are informed by trauma. This is because trauma is so prevalent, in a way that is often not recognized unless sensitized to it. Plus, trauma-informed therapy is not just for trauma. We find it to be a very powerful foundation in much of our work.

Do I need to heal my trauma before embarking on this training?

You will find that exploring it in therapist training will at the same time give you new perspectives on your own situation, and help you apply your personal experience of trauma to the work you do with clients. Of course, this does not replace dealing with your trauma in individual therapy. It complements it.

Will I be a certified Focusing-Oriented Therapist upon completion of this training program?

Yes, if you are a therapist and you complete the full training, you are eligible for certification as an FOT by The International Focusing Institute (TIFI). You need to be a member of TIFI.

There is a certification fee by TIFI: For the US $500, Canada and many European countries $375, and lower fees for many countries. See TIFI fees.

There is an option, which we strongly recommend, for you to attend an international weeklong training with other FOT-in-training, but it is not a requirement. 

We encourage you to become a member of TIFI right away, without waiting for graduation. It gives you access to a like-minded global community, conferences, and online classes.

How much does it cost?

See links to each course for the cost of that course.