Enhancing CAT through Internal Family Systems (IFS) Therapy ~ 14 July 2023

Past Catalyse Events

Enhancing CAT through Internal Family Systems (IFS) Therapy

A one day workshop led by Maria Kaltsi and Melanie Lee

Event Hashtag: #CATifs23

Date: Friday 14 July 2023
Time: 9.30 am to 4.30 pm
Venue: Holyoake House, Manchester
Fees:  ACAT member :: £125.00
non-ACAT member :: £140.00

Overview of workshop

Internal Family Systems (IFS) therapy is a psychotherapy approach developed by Richard Schwartz in the 80s. IFS posits that all of us are born with many sub-minds or parts each with their own perspective, interests, memories and viewpoint. These parts are natural, not the product of trauma. In IFS all parts are welcome.

IFS also sees people as whole underneath this collection of parts. Everyone has a true self or center known as the Self with an undamaged essence. Trauma, attachment injuries and various difficult experiences will force parts out of their natural valuable states into extreme roles that, although might have been needed when we were younger, can later become counterproductive and outdated.

IFS offers a model by which we can develop relationships and understanding with our parts. By doing so we can eventually release them from wherever they may be stuck in the past, and so help them to release their burdens.  

This day brought together two CAT therapists passionate about IFS and trained to IFS Level 1 (ML) and IFS Level 2 (MK) because of its non-pathologising stance of the inner workings and healing capacity.

Aims and learning outcomes

This day provided an opportunity for trained CAT therapists (and/or CAT trainees) to:

  • learn about the core principles of IFS  
  • participate in experiential exercises to gain a felt sense of the IFS model as applied to themselves
  • witness IFS demonstrations
  • hear the presenters reflect on enhancements to their own CAT practice through the application of IFS, and
  • have some discussion time and space to consider both the opportunities and challenges of true integration of both therapeutic models 

Maria and Melanie:

  • introduced participants to the core theory of Internal Family Systems therapy using both live presentation and video material
  • invited participants to explore their own inner world and have a somatic experience of getting to know their own parts in order to experience the model as applied to themselves (via guided meditation, small group discussion and engaging with creative processes such as journaling)
  • offered participants examples and demonstrations of how to apply key IFS techniques in their clinical work with CAT clients  
  • facilitated participants’ practice of IFS methods with each other in small group role plays  
  • shared about how their own CAT practice is enhanced through incorporating IFS into their clinical work   
  • fostered whole group discussion and Q&A to allow open dialogue around the similarities and congruence of both models, in addition to the challenges of true therapeutic integration  
  • shared information about routes to more formal IFS training and directed those interested towards a range of online and written resources and materials for further learning 

Who was it for?

This CPD workshop was open to both qualified and trainee cognitive analytic therapists with an interest in Internal Family Systems therapy. Other therapists with good knowledge and experience of CAT, already practicing CAT-informed therapy, were also welcome to attend. No prior knowledge of IFS was assumed.


Dr Maria Kaltsi: Clinical Psychologist, CAT Practitioner, Level 2 IFS trained.  

Maria Kaltsi is a IFS trained Clinical Psychologist and CAT practitioner. Maria works in secondary mental health services and in private practice. She holds a non-pathologising view of psychological distress and uses a range of models flexibly and creatively to help people address their individual concerns.  

Maria has a special interest in working with adults who have experienced developmental trauma and uses Internal Family Systems therapy (IFS), an honouring, powerful and effective approach rooted in neuroscience, to help people begin the deep healing process that trauma requires.  

Dr Melanie Lee: Founding Director of Trust Psychology and Trust Pain Management , Clinical Psychologist, CAT Practitioner, EMDR Therapist, IFS Therapist, and SIP Supervisor

Mel is an experienced Clinical Psychologist with a passion for integrating the mind and the body and working with repeating relationship patterns in therapy. Mel specialises in building safe, trusting relationships to offer healing to adults whom have experienced psychological traumas resulting in symptoms of chronic pain and other long-term health conditions.  

In addition to offering 1-to-1 therapy, Mel enjoys working together with her colleagues to create interdisciplinary team approaches to client care alongside her experiences in teaching, training and supervising others in psychological approaches. She has a real passion for sharing the benefit of therapy integration, and has recently become a Supervisor and Trainer in the Somatic Integration and Processing (SIP) formulation model in a collaboration with her American colleagues at the Beyond Healing Center, Missouri, USA. 

Mel has additional specialist therapy training in Cognitive Analytic Therapy (CAT), Eye Movement Desensitisation Reprocessing (EMDR) and Internal Family Systems (IFS), in addition to previous trainings in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT). Mel has published her clinical psychology doctoral work and co-authored two book chapters within the area of therapist learning and development.


Holyoake House, Hanover Street, Manchester, M60 0AS

Please see download below for travel & parking info at Holyoake House