Summary of Training Requirements
IFBPT is the only global independent credentialing organization for the profession of Biblio/Poetry Therapy.
The International Federation for Biblio/Poetry Therapy awards the designations of Certified Applied Poetry Facilitator (CAPF), Certified Poetry Therapist (CPT), and Registered Poetry Therapist (PTR) in acknowledgement of application to and completion of the approved training program.
The latest Guide to Training Requirements was revised on March 1, 2016. The Guide is available as an electronic PDF file for $20 from our Training Guide page. This Guide is essential if you are interested in becoming trained as a CAPF, CPT or PTR. It details all components of training and contains templates of all required forms for initial application and final certification. It also provides samples of required documents, a roster of approved Mentor/Supervisors, and an essential bibliography for the poetry therapy scholar.
Training is offered via guided independent study under supervision by a designated Mentor/Supervisor and is therefore arranged between the trainee and the M/S. Both initial application for training and ultimate granting of credentials are managed by the Credentials Committee of IFBPT, whose decisions are final.
ABOUT THE CAPF, CPT, AND PTR
The terms poetry therapy, applied poetry facilitation, journal therapy, bibliotherapy, biblio/poetry therapy, and poetry/journal therapy are all intended to reflect the interactive use of literature and/or writing to promote growth and healing. When the umbrella term “poetry therapy” is used herein, it is intended to encompass all of the modalities above. These terms are trademark protected and their legal use is restricted to those who have completed the required training and maintain their status in good standing as determined by the renewal policy in place.
Thousands of professionals use poetry, journals, and other forms of literature to foster personal growth and help achieve therapeutic goals.
A certified poetry therapist (CPT) and registered poetry therapist (PTR) are licensed professionals who have extensive mental health training and may work independently with emotionally troubled populations. The CPT and PTR are qualified to work with clients in clinics, hospitals, and similar institutions, as well as with mentally healthy populations. CPTs and PTRs also work with individuals having adjustment problems brought about by developmental or life crises or disabilities. The PTR completes an advanced level of training and fieldwork, commensurate with the highest levels of clinical practice.
Although some trainees may undertake CPT or PTR training while enrolled in a clinical graduate program and/or completing post-graduate requirements for licensure, these designations are conferred only upon those who have completed graduate work in a mental health field or as an MD and have attained licensure. A credentials candidate who completes CPT or PTR requirements prior to licensure will be awarded the CAPF until s/he submits proof of licensure to the chair of the Credentials Committee.
A certified applied poetry facilitator (CAPF) brings to training a unique background, blending love and knowledge of literature and writing with an understanding of basic psychology and group dynamics. Although the CAPF’s training is geared to working with healthy populations, the CAPF must be able to recognize the difference between “normalcy” and pathology, and must be able to determine when a distressed individual needs to be referred to a mental health professional.
The CAPF is trained to facilitate groups and work with individuals in developmental settings such as schools, libraries, recreational facilities, and similar growth and development oriented organizations. The CAPF may also work in a mental health setting under the supervision of a qualified mental health professional.
The Credentials Committee requires that all applicants have completed essential Pre-Requisites, or that they commit to doing so during their initial phase of training. These Pre-Requisites can be substantiated by submission of official college transcripts for courses (or equivalents) in the following areas:
Human Development Across the Lifespan
Poetry as Genre
Literature of Various Genres
In addition, a course in Ethics and Records Management must be completed within the first 6 months of training.
Training for the CAPF, CPT, and PTR consists of four components*:
Readings, classes, workshops, or conferences in the history, theory, practice, and techniques of poetry therapy. All trainees read and annotate required core texts, plus additional assignments approved by the Mentor/Supervisor to build competency in each trainee’s area of intended practice.
2. Peer Experience
Experience as a participant in a poetry therapy group is an essential part of training, and sets the IFBPT program apart from others in this field. Here the trainee personally explores the benefits of various professional techniques, facilitation styles, and modalities. Professionalism is honed by taking part experientially, submerged in the processes one is learning to teach to others.
After foundational learning has been satisfied, and some peer experience has been attained, each trainee plans and conducts facilitation with individuals or groups under guidance by the M/S. Sites, age groups, topics, and other issues are addressed.
All field work is supervised by the M/S or other qualified professional, and requires accurate and thorough record-keeping.
*In addition, PTR candidates must demonstrate Institutional Experience and complete a Capstone Project as specified in the Training Guide.
Essential personal qualifications for working in the field of poetry therapy include
- emotional stability
- good judgment
- respect for boundaries, and
- a commitment to life-long learning
As a potential trainee, you are expected to have sufficiently worked through your own issues in counseling or psychotherapy prior to enrollment in the training program. The process of training will likely bring up personal issues that may be best served by a counseling relationship. Your mentor/supervisor (M/S) may, at his or her discretion, refer you into counseling, support groups or other adjunctive therapies. It is an ethical violation for a Mentor/Supervisor to provide counseling or psychotherapy (including poetry therapy) for a trainee.
Unlike an art, music or dance therapy trainee, a poetry therapy trainee is not expected to be proficient in the art form of writing. Basic literacy, grammar, composition, and reading comprehension skills are required and will be assessed as part of the application process.
TRAINING FOR CERTIFICATION IN POETRY THERAPY
(Detailed training requirements can be found in the current Training Guide. Go HERE to purchase an electronic or hard copy.)
Bachelor’s degree or higher for CAPF. For CPT, master’s degree or higher in a mental health field or as an M.D., plus licensure. For either credential, pre-requisites in psychology, literature, and professional practice.
Didactic study of poetry therapy
Peer experience in poetry therapy
Facilitating group or individual sessions of poetry therapy
Note: It is necessary that the bachelor’s degree be earned prior to the start of the CAPF program.
The Credentials Committee may permit CAPF training to commence for people who have completed certain professional training programs that result in licensure without a 4-year college degree (e.g. R.N.), taking into consideration years and type of work experience and continuing education.
Candidates for licensure in a mental health field may complete all requirements for the CPT and be awarded the CAPF until licensure is conferred.
TRAINING FOR REGISTRATION IN POETRY THERAPY
Master’s degree or higher in a mental health field or as an M.D., appropriate licensure, and pre-requisites in psychology, literature, and professional practice.
Didactic study of poetry therapy
Facilitating group, individual, or family sessions of poetry therapy
Peer experience in poetry therapy
Other meritorious learning
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* Requirement is waived for applicants with licensure in a mental health field or as an MD who can provide documentation that they have completed this requirement.
* Note: Appropriate licensure for the discipline (e.g. counseling, social work, psychology) must be attained before the PTR is granted. Candidates for licensure may complete all requirements for the PTR and be awarded the CAPF until licensure is earned.