Norms and Interpretation


The internal reliabilities, factor analysis, and norms were based on a population of 1174 solicited through university classes, professional organizations, counseling clinics, and support groups for survivors of trauma and abuse.  This population was predominantly female (77%), Caucasian (84%), and well educated (61% were college graduates).  They ranged in age from 18 to 82, the average age being 40 (SD = 13.6).  They came from all across the United States and Canada.

Due to the manner in which participants were solicited (e.g., from counseling clinics and support groups for survivors of abuse), this was a relatively “high trauma” population.  Forty-six percent identified themselves as having experienced “more or much more” trauma than most people, while 28% identified themselves as having experienced “less or much less” trauma than most people.  Thus, it is important to note that, at this stage of the research, these norms are not based on a random population, although every effort was made to obtain as diverse a population as possible.

Due to gender differences in means, separate norms and profiles are given for males and females.  (These effects are the result of differences in reported levels of trauma rather than in gender differences per se; females reported significantly more trauma in their lives than males.)


It is assumed that an administrator or clinician understands the IFS conception of personality. The Profiles are calculated separately for males and females.  The High range is one standard deviation above the mean; the Very High range is two standard deviations above the mean.  Because these norms are based on a relatively high-trauma population, any score above the mean (the dotted line) indicates a noteworthy dimension of the individual’s internal system.

For example, if a female has an Addictive/Impulsive (Ad) score of 13 or 14, the presence of Addictive/Impulsive Parts should be assumed and taken into consideration, even though the score is in the “Average” range.  The clinician will find that many of these Parts that have scores above the mean in the Average range will be “extreme” Parts, within the IFS meaning of that term.  Virtually all scores in the High or Very High ranges indicate “extreme” Parts.

The Profiles enable us to see the pattern of the individual’s internal system, i.e., to see which types of protectors are dominating the system and how extreme they are, how extreme the Exiles are, and how much access to Self there is at the present time.

The Profile reflects Parts that the individual is at least minimally aware of.  Parts that have been completely exiled (i.e., shut out of conscious awareness) will necessarily show a low score.  In such cases the Profile will often show an unusually low score on one scale while many or most of the other scores are high.