Certification Requirements

ISM Certification is the next step for those interested in deepening their understanding of the Integrated Systems Model and having their ISM case report on this website and part of the ISM Series Curriculum.  If you are a graduate of any Discover Physio Series (world-wide), it is best if you re-take the current ISM Series prior to certification since much has changed since 2013.  If you completed your ISM Series from 2014 to two years prior to now, then the ISM update course is required prior to certification.  If you completed the ISM Series within 2 years of this date, then you are qualified to begin the certification process.

Certification does not require travel or attendance; this is a home study course.  The following outlines the process for those interested in becoming certified in the ISM approach along with an example of what is expected.

The online platform and case study format is fantastic. It is a great interactive medium providing unique opportunity for participants’ reasoning to be explored and feedback provided. Well done and thanks for allowing me to have a look.

Mark A. Jones

Program Director
Master of Advanced Clinical Physiotherapy
School of Health Sciences
University of South Australia
Adelaide, South Australia

From Leigh Fortuna on her experience doing the ISM certification.

I can’t thank you enough for all your time on this Diane.  It has been a great experience.  I definitely am thinking more clearly about many things such as actor/reactor and how to assess feet. I saw another person with feet like yours today and it is just so much more obvious now.  Previously it was just confusing how it looked pronated (talus) and supinated (calcaneus) at same time!  Language is flowing better and I am trying to chart more clearly with updated language as well.  Even some of the simple questions asked, like tests done on a primary driver (active, passive mobility and active, passive control) just hammered home basics.  I know I will continue to get better and better as I get more experience seeing and feeling things, and now I have a better thought framework of sorts to build my clinical skills/expertise in.  THANK YOU!! I was definitely intimidated about starting but you made it all about learning and even when I literally slapped myself in forehead at times thinking “duh” never felt anything but support for improving the way I was thinking.  It is really the final step of doing the Series, and an important one.  It helped me to integrate parts 1-3 in a very clinically meaningful way.

Leigh Fortuna

Vancouver, BC

Step 1: The Series

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  • The ISM Series 

    Clinical Mentorship in the Integrated Systems Model

    We will come together for 3 sessions of 4 (4.5) days over a period of 6-8 months with lots of practical/clinical time to focus on acquiring the skills and clinical reasoning to put the ISM model into practice. Hours of online lecture and reading material and 12 hours of in-person lecture are...

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  1. Completion of the ISM Series within the last 2 years. If you have done the ISM Series with either Diane or Discover Physio earlier than 2 years ago, then you are required to retake the ISM Series (graduates prior to 2014) or do the ISM update course (graduates from 2014 to 2 years prior to application) before applying for certification since the curriculum has evolved extensively since your course.
  2. Every year the online material that accompanies the ISM Series is updated.  Prior to the next step a review of all the latest online material that is part of the current ISM Series is required.  Simply go to each course package, click on the course and look for any videos/pages that you not have the green tick box on the left – this is new material for you.  Watch everything in all online material that is new to you.
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  • ISM Series Update

    For Series Grads Only

    This 3-day highly practical course will update your skills for finding the relationship, and priority, of multiple regional drivers (those in functional units), and much more. Every update date is unique and develops, in part, around your wish list.

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Mandatory if your ISM Series completion is more than 2 Years ago

If you completed the ISM Series more than 2 years ago, the ISM update course is mandatory before applying for ISM Certification.  This course is held in various places world-wide (see schedule).

Step 2: Case Report (Written)

Before you submit a written case report, you must complete the Clinical Reasoning For Finding Drivers Form (2024) and submit to Diane for review. This form will provide the outline for the first part of your case report and this exercise shortcuts the clinical reasoning process for how you determined the primary task driver. Download here

The written case report will illustrate a comprehensive understanding of the concepts and clinical reasoning that is the Integrated Systems Model. Prior to beginning your written report, read the first 4 reports in the case report library to gain an understanding of the detail required for certification. The expected case report is a full narrative (full sentences) (with some information bulleted) and should include the following:

  1. Patient’s story (history of events leading up to the current presentation)
  2. Meaningful complaint
  3. Meaningful task(s)
  4. Cognitive and/or emotional beliefs
  5. Screening tasks derived from the meaningful task

In 2018, the concept of Functional Units was introduced in ISM. This is a way to expedite the finding of drivers when the whole body is assessed in a task. Essentially, the driver is found in each functional unit (1st = 3rd thoracic ring to hips, 2nd = 2nd thoracic ring to cranium, 3rd = extremities) relevant to the task and story following which the relationship between the unit drivers is determined.

It is expected that the presentation of each screening task will follow the concept of functional unit testing. This concept is the foundation of the latest clinical reflection form.

Terms no longer accepted in written ISM reports:

  1. FLT or failed load transfer. This is not a widely understood term outside of ISM, please describe exactly how the body region is sub-optimal and don’t just use FLT, detailed reasoning is expected in this report.
  2. Ring shift. Because they don’t.  A thoracic ring translates/rotates and when we use the abbreviated term ring shift or thoracic ring shift, non-ISM trained people think we mean that the thoracic ring shifts laterally and does nothing else. Why? Because that is what ‘ring shift’ tells them it means! So let’s tell them what we really mean and even though it is more words to use/type, it is more accurate.

6. Further analysis of the driver(s) (active and passive mobility (which includes your findings on vector analysis (passive listening)), active and passive control) to determine the underlying system impairment

7. Initial treatment session (RACM)

    1. Release/align – what techniques were chosen for release and cues used to align?
    2. Connect/move – how did you retrain a better strategy for their goals (meaningful tasks). How did you determine whether a connect cue was needed?
    3. Home exercise practice plan

8. Followup treatment sessions

      1. Outline response to treatment and if the driver(s) were noted to change
      2. Briefly describe the highlights of subsequent treatment sessions (RACM)

9. Summary or conclusion to your report

Example Case Report

We are looking for a detailed report (not a summary like the ISM letter). To give you a sense of the scope of this step take a look at an example case report written by Cathy Rogers by clicking the button below. After submitting her case report, Cathy was asked Clinical Reasoning Questions.  Her answers are in the boxes. Submissions that contain insufficient detail or clinical reasoning will be returned for further development before any clinical reasoning questions are asked. After reading Cathy’s report, go to the library and read Calvin’s, Leigh’s and Phil’s reports.

Cathy’s Case Report

Step 3: Skills Demonstration (Video)

Three short videos (no longer than 5 minutes each) in either .mp4, .mov or m4v format to demonstrate your acquired ISM skills as they pertain to your written case report OR in another case.  If another case is chosen, please provide a brief ISM synopsis to explain the videos.

  1. How you determined the driver(s) during any of the treatment sessions (choose one that highlights that you have the skills necessary to determine the influence of one site of impairment on the other).
  2. How you determined the underlying system impairment of one of the drivers in your case report (include vector analysis using a variety of listening techniques)
  3. One other video of your choice that highlights your understanding of the assessment/treatment principles of the Integrated Systems Model pertaining to your chosen model for these 3 videos

Example Videos

Take a look at these 4 example videos to get an idea what we’re looking for.

Skills Demonstration
Finding the Driver
Skills Demonstration
Vector Analysis PD
Skills Demonstration
Release Technique of Primary Vector
Video Preview
Secondary Driver Hypothesis After Release

Step 4: Case Review

This case report will be reviewed by Diane Lee and clinical reasoning questions will be asked at certain points in your reports.  This is to be followed by answers that illustrate your knowledge of the theoretical concepts presented in your case. We may go back and forth for up to 4 versions of your report until it is completed.


If your case is inconsistent with an ISM assessment and not deemed ready for certification after 4 re-writes, you will be asked to continue to practice and to try again later in 1 year. The annual update course would be a good idea if this occurs for you! There is an expected standard for certification, it is not a given that merely submitting a case report will result in certification.

Benefits of Certification

After it has been determined that you have the required ISM skills and clinical reasoning for certification:

  • Your name and workplace will be added to the special list of world-wide certified ISM practitioners
  • You will be permitted to use the special ISM logo on your letterhead and receive a certificate of ISM certification!
  • Your report will be published on the learnwithdianelee.com website for future learning of ISM Series students
  • You can apply to assist us when we teach courses near you!

Where do I start?

In order to sign up for certification you must be logged in to your account on this site.  Your account must also be registered as a graduate of any Discover Physio Series (word-wide) or the ISM Series with Diane Lee. If you did the ISM Series prior to 2014, it is highly recommended that you attend an ISM update course – much has changed!

Registered grads will see a button below to sign up.  If you are signed in and you are a graduate but do not see the button below, please contact with your Series Grad year/location.

Start your Certification!

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