Live Interactive Online

Internal Family Systems (IFS) as Medical Treatment

A Two-Day Live IFS Masterclass with Drs. Lissa Rankin and Frank Anderson

Saturday & Sunday, June 8th & 9th, 2024

9:00 am - 2:00 pm PT | 11:00 am - 4:00 pm CT | 12:00 pm - 5:00 pm ET

"Do I contradict myself? Very well, then I contradict myself, I am large, I contain multitudes." –Walt Whitman
When we get sick or have medical symptoms, going to the doctor to get a diagnosis, rule out life-threatening conditions, and find out if the problem is easily curable is a wise first step. But what if our problems can’t be easily fixed with a quick pill or simple surgery? What if the symptoms have been chronic or doctors don’t have a clear diagnosis or simple cure? What if we're given a life-threatening or even terminal diagnosis? 

In her New York Times bestseller Mind Over Medicine and the TEDx talks and PBS special that accompanied it, Dr. Lissa Rankin unpacked the science behind radical remission, including what truly optimizes the health of the body and what really predisposes us to illness. In the sequel to Mind Over Medicine, Sacred Medicine, Dr. Rankin introduced IFS as a potential adjuvant medical treatment for conditions like cancer or autoimmune disease. In IFS As Medical Treatment, Dr. Rankin is partnering with Harvard-trained psychiatrist, master IFS trainer, and author Frank Anderson, MD to tackle the subject of IFS & Medicine and to talk about the role of treating trauma with cutting edge trauma therapies like IFS as a way to maximize health and improve health outcomes from difficult-to-treat medical conditions.
As two physicians, Drs. Rankin and Anderson believe there's a place for IFS alongside other life-saving medical treatments, which has the potential to improve health outcomes. While “parts” don’t cause medical conditions, per se, it’s not uncommon that parts of us will use the body to get our attention or help other parts get core needs met. Even though they may be causing harm in the body, they still think they’re protecting us. When we prioritize using Internal Family Systems (IFS) to become intimate with these parts and help our clients and ourselves understand how protector parts might be related to medical symptoms, IFS can be an effective clinical adjunct to any comprehensive medical treatment plan. 

Internal Family Systems is not meant to replace conventional medical care, but when doctors haven’t been able to easily cure a medical condition, using the IFS model as an adjuvant to medical care can improve physical symptoms and optimize outcomes. IFS As Medical Treatment is for any patient or practitioner who is interested in how IFS might improve health outcomes by adding IFS to conventional or alternative medicine regimens as a way to potentially reverse the chronic nervous system dysregulation caused by trauma that can impair the healing process, which may improve some medical symptoms and conditions. We believe the future of medicine would include screening patients for trauma histories, and when conventional medicine fails to cure a disease, treating the patient with IFS as adjuvant medicine alongside other medical treatments.

Join Lissa Rankin and Frank Anderson for a weekend of learning, teaching and healing

*All sessions will be recorded and made available to participants and can be downloaded to your computer or device. Unfortunately, we will not be able to offer CEUs for this course.

Who will benefit from this workshop?

  • You have a basic understanding of Internal Family Systems (IFS);
  • You sense that there's more to optimal health outcomes than just drugs, surgeries, diet, exercise, avoiding toxic substances, and following doctor's orders;
  • You're interested in learning to facilitate an IFS-informed approach to parts that might be using the body as a trailhead for underlying traumas in need of healing as part of a comprehensive medical treatment plan;
  • You're in the helping professions working with anyone who identifies as being in recovery from illness, injury, or trauma (therapists, doctors, nurses, complementary and alternative medicine practitioners, health coaches, life coaches, yoga instructors, etc.) and you're interested in making your practice more trauma-informed and safer for patients and clients;
  • You or a loved one is sick and you're interested in learning this material for self-help purposes or to support a loved one who might benefit from this trauma-informed approach to illness.
This workshop will offer experiential exercises to help you learn to listen to the parts that are affecting your body and to those who know how to heal it and increase your access to healing Self energy.

Learning Objectives

  • Understand the science behind trauma-informed medicine- how trauma predisposes the body to illness and the physiology and neurobiology of how treating your traumas might cure disease.
  • Learn an IFS-informed approach to working with the 6 Steps To Healing Yourself from Mind Over Medicine so you can help your patients, clients, yourself, or your loved ones optimize your chance for the best medical outcome.
  • Witness Frank Anderson performing an IFS demo on the parts of someone with a physical illness.
  • ​Learn the basics of how to work with protectors that might be impacting the body somatically until the exiles they protect are unburdened.
  • ​Have the opportunity to do some Self-healing work with your own physical symptoms using IFS and the 6 Steps To Healing Yourself.
  • ​Learn an IFS practice to work with somatic symptoms in yourself or help clients and patients get insight into their own protector parts.
Saturday June 8th, 2024
9:00 am - 3:00 pm PT 
(11:00 am - 4:00 pm CT | 12:00 pm - 5:00 pm ET)
9:00 am - 9:15 am 
Intro & Establishing Safety
9:15 am -9:45am
Introduction to Basic IFS
9:45 am -10:15 am
Guided IFS Practice/Shares
10:15 am-11:15 am
Overview Of Trauma-Informed Medicine & Neuroscience
11:15am -11:30 am
11:30 am - 12:30 pm
Six Steps To Healing Yourself/ Mind Over Medicine, with experiential IFS work for each step (Steps 1-3)
12:30 pm - 12:35 pm
Moving meditation
12:35 - 1:00 pm 
1:00 pm - 1:10 pm
Writing Prompt
1:10 pm - 1:40 pm
Group shares or Breakout groups
1:40 pm -2:00 pm
Closing practice/ dance party

Sunday June 9th, 2024
9:00 am - 3:00 pm PT 
(11:00 am - 4:00 pm CT | 12:00 pm - 5:00 pm ET)
9:00 am - 9:30 am 
Somatic guided IFS practice/ Shares
9:30am - 11:00 am 
Six Steps To Healing Yourself + IFS (Steps 4-6)
11:00 am - 11:30 am
11:30 am - 12:30 pm 
IFS Demo 
12:30 - 1:00 pm 
1:00 pm - 1:45 pm
Community Conversation About IFS & Medicine
1:45 pm - 2:00 pm
Closing practice/ dance party
* Please note that this is a live workshop and timing and content are subject to change without notice to provide the best learning experience. 

All live sessions will be recorded and made available typically within 24 hours. 

Because these sessions are long and take time to process, the first day's recording might not be available before the start of Day 2. 
The scientific evidence linking childhood trauma to both pediatric and adult onset disease is ironclad at this point, as evidenced by the mountain of data that came out of the CDC/ Kaiser Permanente study on Adverse Childhood Experiences in the 1990's and the Harvard Mastery of Stress study from the 1950's. 

The cutting edge of trauma-informed medicine focuses on whether effective trauma treatment might actually reverse diseases we might think of as "incurable" or even "terminal." Early evidence and countless anecdotes suggest it might.
The trauma healing modality Internal Family Systems (IFS) has proven effective with medical syndromes (Shaddick et al., 2013), and more research is ongoing. Dick Schwartz’s years of clinical practice and available research supports that IFS can have an effect on medical syndromes. "Parts" might be using the body to communicate about unhealed traumas or unmet needs and these "parts" can affect our bodies when they have no other route to get through to us. IFS can help those parts realize they don’t have to do that.

Internal Family Systems (IFS) has been hailed by Dr. Bessel van der Kolk, the world's leading expert in trauma, as "the treatment method that all clinicians should know to treat clients effectively."

Dr. Lissa Rankin
Doctor, author, and trauma-informed medicine teacher Lissa Rankin, MD was on a decade-long quest to research her seventh book Sacred Medicine: A Doctor's Quest To Unravel The Mysteries of Healing when she bumped into the IFS model. Anecdote after anecdote from IFS therapists and their clients who were treating their traumas using IFS revealed a curious phenomenon: when people's traumas were getting treated with this cutting-edge treatment, at least sometimes, their mystery illnesses and chronic symptoms seemed to be improving.
Lissa's deep dive into IFS was a complete game-changer in her search for answers to why some people seem to have radical remissions from seemingly "incurable" or "terminal" illnesses- and others don't. This insight led her to write a revised edition of Mind Over Medicine, the New York Times bestseller published in 35 languages that was the centerpiece for a PBS special and several TEDx talks. She now trains physicians and therapists in the Whole Health Medicine Institute, using an IFS-informed approach to helping patients and clinicians optimize their chances of becoming "miracle prone." 
Dr. Frank Anderson
In To Be Loved, renowned trauma expert Dr. Frank G. Anderson shares the complicated experience of growing up gay in an Italian-American home that was at once fiercely loving and culturally close-knit while at the same time unaccepting, abusive, and rife with secret shame. With compassion, humor, and disarming honesty, 

Frank invites the reader into his formative experiences: coming out amid the LGBTQ+ carnival atmosphere of 1990s Provincetown, finding love and forming a family within the staid Boston suburbs, and coming home to confront his family’s legacy of abuse. By forging paths for forgiveness, he found that his truth and tenacious spirit were stronger than his trauma.

Bonus Recording

IFS meditation and IFS Demo with Nancy Morgan, PhD

In this two-hour session with IFS therapist, IFS assistant trainer, and cancer survivor Nancy Morgan, PhD, Nancy leads you into your inner world with an opening IFS meditation. Then she gives a thorough overview of the IFS model, including the origin story of how Dick Schwartz discovered the IFS model.

She also shares her incredible story of her Stage 3 cancer journey- and how IFS supported her trauma healing, as well as her Self-led clarity that led her to refuse chemotherapy and radiation, experiment with alternative cancer treatments at a Mexico retreat center, undergo surgery after most but not all of her cancer had disappeared, and develop such a strong connection to the needs of her parts that she could follow her inner guidance toward what her body and her parts needed for healing, one day at a time. 

If you’re journeying with an illness, Nancy’s approach to healing medical trauma and navigating illness with a Self-led approach will inspire, educate, and minister to the parts in you that might also be hurting.

IFS As Medical Treatment

Early Bird Special • Save $100

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If the cost of this workshop presents a financial hardship, we hope you will contact us for a sliding scale option. Please write to . Prices are in USD.

About Lissa Rankin, MD

Lissa Rankin, MD believes that writing and healing can be intimately related and teaches writing workshops infused with trauma healing and spiritual healing, both in person and virtually. Lissa agrees with Nancy Aronie that trauma is memoir-making material, and we can alchemize our pain into the most beautiful story-telling when we feel safe for the muse to come out to play, in a community of other writers who also feel safe and can help us hold our story while we rewrite it as art. 

Lissa has been writing since kindergarten and was offered her first book deal when she was 12, which she turned down, since they were her private stories. She was a creative writing major at Duke University and wrote her first fiction book as her thesis on African American women's literature while in college. Throughout her medical training while becoming an OB/GYN, she wrote stories inspired by her patients and used writing to heal the moral injury she felt while working within a corrupt medical system. 

When she quit her job as a doctor in 2007, she finally succumbed to her lifelong desire to be a career writer. Her first book Broken, a memoir about her journey through the wounded health care system, never got published because she didn't have an audience. So at the urging of her literary agent, in 2009, Lissa began blogging and publishing The Daily Flame, a daily email love letter from your "Inner Pilot Light" to your wounded parts, based on the healing model Internal Family Systems (IFS), a trauma healing spiritual path which Lissa incorporates into all the healing and writing workshops she facilitates. 
Because her blog and Daily Flame emails quickly garnered a large readership, she was able to publish her first book in 2010 and has been blessed to have her last 7 books published. Her third book, the New York Times bestseller Mind Over Medicine, has sold over 300,000 copies in 28 languages. 

In addition to putting in her 100,000 hours and writing every day, in 2012, Lissa founded the Whole Health Medicine Institute, where she and a team of luminary faculty train physicians and other health care providers about “Whole Health” and the “6 Steps to Healing Yourself.” 

Lissa has starred in two National Public Television specials, her TEDx talks have been viewed over 5 million times, and she leads workshops, both online and at retreat centers like Esalen, 1440, Omega, and Kripalu. 

Her latest health equity project is non-profit work committed to democratizing trauma healing and spiritual healing while eliminating the public health epidemic of loneliness, bringing Sacred Medicine out of its current status as a luxury good to anyone who needs it and is open to it, regardless of socioeconomic status, race, or gender identity. 

Lissa lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her daughter Mira, who is also a writer, and her puppy Gaia, who would tell great stories if only she knew how.

About Dr. Frank Anderson

Frank began his professional journey as a chemistry major at the University of Illinois in the prepharmacy program, initially wanting to become a pharmacist just like his father. He quickly connected with the fascination of the human body and switched into a pre-medicine program.

He happily entered Rush University Medical College, wanting to become a pediatrician due to his love of children but switched into psychiatry after a close family member developed significant mental health symptoms. He was profoundly affected by this experience and keenly aware of the impact it had on others around him. During his residency in psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, he noticed that many of his clients struggling with major mental illness had also experienced significant trauma in their lives.

The pain he witnessed in others activated something deep within himself, compelling him to enter therapy, which quickly connecting to my own trauma history.

He became the psychiatrist at the Trauma Center in Boston under the direction of Bessel van der Kolk and was able to learn more about trauma while simultaneously continuing his quest of helping others and himself heal. He was fortunate enough to meet Dick Schwartz at a conference and his career focus instantly came into full alignment. He was now able to integrate his knowledge of neuroscience and trauma treatment with Internal Family Systems (IFS) therapy.

He began his literary journey by writing a chapter, “Who’s Taking What? Connecting Neuroscience, Psychopharmacology, and Internal Family Systems for Trauma.”

Never really thinking of himself as an author, he was asked to write another chapter, “What IFS Brings to the Treatment of Trauma,” and shortly thereafter asked to coauthor “The Internal Family Systems Skills Training Manual” which has become an international best
He then embarked on his first solo book “Transcending Trauma” which was released in 2021, which is the culmination of his professional and personal journey to date. 

Frank is a lead trainer and consultant for the IFS Institute, an advisor to the International Association of Trauma Professionals (IATP), and maintain a private practice in Harvard, MA. He is passionate about teaching, enjoys providing therapy consultations and gives trauma informed IFS-related workshops throughout the world. 

He currently feels compelled to bring the message of healing trauma to the larger world and has written a memoir titled “To be Loved, which will be released May 7, 2024. 

At this point in his life, it’s hard to not refer to himself as an author, and he has grown into loving the process of writing and all that it offers himself as well as others who read his work.
Frequently Asked Questions:
How do I contact customer service?
Please contact us by sending an email to
What kind of technology will I need in order to participate?
All you’ll need is a computer or a smartphone and internet access in order to participate. All live calls will be on Zoom.
What if I can't attend a session when it takes place ? 
All sessions are recorded so if you can't attend the live session you'll be able to soak up the juicy teachings, healing intentions, and spiritual energy of this course at any time it’s convenient for you.
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