IFS Adherence Constructs | IFS Adherence Scale | IFS Scale Validation Study

A fidelity scale designed to measure adherence with the IFS psychotherapeutic modality is now available for use by researchers. The Foundation is grateful for the voluntary efforts and significant contributions of quite a few individuals, listed below, who participated in this activity. These include members of the team that developed the scale and oversaw the inter-reliability study, clinical therapists and clients who provided video recordings of their sessions and gave raters permissions to view them, raters who tested the scale, and the statistician who reviewed the analysis.

Development of the Scale. The scale was developed in Spring 2014 by an adhoc group of volunteer IFS practitioners (Lois Ehrmann, PhD; Nancy Wonder, PhD; and François Le Doze, who served as IFS training staff) and supported by Pamela Krause, LCSW, an IFS lead trainer and member of the former IFS Research Team Coordinating Committee (RTCC), and by Toufic Hakim, PhD, a former university research officer. The group was initially charged by RTCC to complete this task, which was convened by John Livingstone, MD, and Rob Hartz.

The group worked intensively for nearly 18 months to research, compile, and define all constructs of the IFS protocol; establish auditory and visual observations relating to these constructs; and identify lists of prompts used by therapists during the clinical treatment. These constructs elaborated on the modality’s notions of parts, Self, blending, direct access, unburdening, and retrieval, among others.

Based on these constructs, the group then created a 17-item adherence scale addressing elements of the IFS treatment protocol in a given clinical session across a few categories: Overall Process (Direct Access and Self/Insight); Initial Stages; Identifying & Witnessing Stages; Retrieval & Unburdening Processes; Therapist’s Disposition; and Client/Patient’s Engagement.

Initial Inter-Reliability Study. An inter-rater reliability study was then conducted in Summer 2014. Five recordings of clinical sessions were made available to the IFS Adherence group by the following individuals, whose experience with IFS varied from no knowledge (conducting a non-IFS session) to advanced knowledge as an IFS lead trainer: Frances Booth, LICSW; Lois Ehrmann, PhD; LICSW; Darryl Hoover; Jackie Michoe, MS; and Ann Sinko, LMFT).

Ten volunteer raters were then selected to review these recorded DVD’s of clinical sessions after a brief orientation and IFS overview. Raters brought different levels of IFS knowledge to the rating; the following individuals were involved as raters: Jim Alves; Josh Bassarear; Michael Belus, PsyD; Richard Fox, MB; Paul Ginter, EdD; Marushka Glissen, LICSW; Rachel Jacobs, LMCW; Kerri Robinson; Jean Robinson, MA, LPC; and Julie Sayre, LMFT. They rated the session using the scale. The data from each rater, capturing the subscales for each session, were then compiled in digital form.

An independent analysis was conducted by Todd Dane Bozeman, PhD, using a combination of frequency analysis, cross-distribution, and Cronbach’s statistics.

Results of Study. The analysis “concluded that good internal consistency in the IFS Adherence Scale exists; using the scale to determine fidelity of IFS therapy sessions also suggests high inter-rater reliability and clear distinction between measures rating IFS versus non-IFS-oriented sessions. The analysis further allows the observation that training for raters around the IFS constructs is necessary and should be expansive.” The analysis suggested further that “additional data be gathered from future raters of IFS therapy sessions for additional inter-reliability analysis.”

Copyright. Please note that the IFS Adherence Scale is the intellectual property of the Foundation for Self Leadership, but researchers are invited to use it in their research and are encouraged to offer donations to the Foundation to help advance IFS Research. Please go to www.FoundationIFS.org/support.