Intimacy from the Inside Out ran its first highly anticipated Australian training from January to March, 2023. Expertly headed by Toni Herbine-Blank and Cathy Curtis, a group of 32 participants from Australia, the US and Canada joined the online Zoom training for twelve days of deep reflective work over three months. Of these thirty-two trainees, thirteen were based in Australia, namely in NSW, Queensland, Victoria and Western Australia. Three of the training staff were also based in Australia (Victoria, Queensland and South Australia). Growing from an estimated three Australian IFIO-trained relationship therapists in 2022, there are now sixteen IFIO practitioners in Australia. It is realistic to assume that IFIO’s reach in Australia will continue to expand exponentially, given its already striking growth.
One of the relevant facets of the Australian IFIO training was the difficulty associated with catering for varied different time zones, even within the Australian community. Yet despite the challenges of overnight learning – including 1am finishes and 3am starts for some – participants and staff alike demonstrated remarkable Self energy, remaining enthusiastic and open to learning and teaching throughout the four months.
As a staff member, I found the entire group to be highly motivated to learn the IFIO skills. Participants supported each other with great compassion in their practice attempts, both with role playing couples and providing feedback as they played in the sandbox. There was also a wealth of curiosity in the group, as well as a strong desire to continue learning and practising IFIO techniques beyond the training.
Personally, the weekend was an enormous growth experience for me. In particular, being surrounded and supported by such experienced trainers was a profound experience for my system. Staff worked through training challenges in a manner that was an exemplar of courageous communication, such that the possibilities for Self-leadership and courageous communication as vehicles for promoting harmony on an international level were clearly demonstrated.
There has been an incredibly positive response to IFIO from relationship clients in the Australian community. Locally, several psychologists awaiting a place in Level 1 IFS training have been keen to engage in personal IFS or IFIO therapy and report significant benefits for their relationships. While IFIO’s approach is currently novel for the majority of relationship counselling clients, IFIO is well on its way to finding its place as an exemplary model for creating internal and interpersonal secure attachments. IFIO has a bright and exciting future in Australia.