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What Will It Cost?

One of the most common questions we receive from those interested in the possibilities of training for work in our field is one regarding fees, and this isn’t surprising.

IFBPT training is gained by what we term “Guided Independent Study.” It is undertaken with the guidance and support of an official mentor/supervisor who has previously achieved the CAPF, CPT, or PTR, gone on for further study in supervising trainees, and who demonstrates continued learning through biennial renewal of her credentials and status.

Each mentor/supervisor is free to set her own fees, usually charging by the hour for both mentoring and supervision. All are happy to discuss how they work when contacted. Some may have year-long “cohort” programs, while others offer occasional “intensives” which may last a full week on site.

Here is a breakdown of the expected expenses you may encounter.


Formal Coursework:

Costs for coursework necessary to meet pre-requisites (if not previously completed in pursuit of degrees or licensure).

Classes can be taken at local community colleges or universities, if available, online from numerous sources, or via the instruction of one’s own or another IFBPT m/s as independent study. Some online courses may be free.

If you need coursework, do clear your plans with your m/s prior to beginning any training.


The required textbooks are listed on the website and in the Training Guide. They can often be found via resources such as Amazon, or used book outlets, but don’t be fooled into paying outrageous prices for “rare books.” Again, seek advice from your m/s before ordering books that seem too expensive.

In addition to these required readings, you’ll invest in more resources to continue your training in the topics of your special interest areas. Although an extensive bibliography is included at the back of the Training Guide, since its publication many excellent resources have continued to become available. Your own m/s may have additional requirements, and will certainly work with you to seek out relevant material for your study.

Other Didactic Learning:

This may come through seminars, workshops, one-time classes, or other opportunities, both via IFBPT sources and others, including creative arts therapy programs and workshops. The online Therapeutic Writing Institute also offers individual courses or a full program which meets 50% of IFBPT standards upon completion.

Attendance at the annual conference sponsored by The National Association for Poetry Therapy (NAPT) is another wonderful resource. Held in varied locations around the US (recent conferences have been held in Chicago, Arizona, North Carolina, and Kansas). Travel, accommodations, conference fees, and incidental costs should all be considered here. You will also certainly want to become a member of NAPT, and as such you’ll receive a subscription to the excellent quarterly Journal of Poetry Therapy.


Here’s your chance to “earn while you learn.” With guidance from your   m/s, you can create a continuing group or a short workshop that fulfills this category, and charge a fee for participation.

If you are already connected with a clinic, educational institution, or other organization through employment or affiliation, you might explore offering workshops or classes for pay as you learn and practice your poetry therapy skills.


Many trainees find peer credit the most challenging to accrue. This may be because face-to-face experience continues to be the standard, preferred form of training and we accept trainees from widely scattered locations. You may not have a mentor/supervisor nearby who conducts peer groups. Don’t fret.

Recently, IFBPT increased the number of hours of peer experience trainees can acquire via Skype or teleconference. As mentioned, several trainers also conduct Intensives, and 4.5 peer hours are available at each NAPT Conference (this experience is called the “Triple Workshop” in the Conference program).

The personal experience of being on the receiving end of poetry therapy sessions is one of the most enjoyable activities of any trainee’s work! Your m/s can help you identify opportunities to take advantage of this growth-enhancing experience.


Mentoring covers many aspects of a trainee’s time — consultation regarding the application process, identification of places to offer one’s workshops and groups, and general guidance through the 2+-year sojourn to Certification. Supervision covers more formal aspects such as review of your facilitation plans, discussion following group presentations, and questions that arise concerning professional behavior, ethics, and challenges dealing with group issues.

You can calculate potential costs in this category by consulting the Training Guide for the minimum number of hours you’ll need, and multiplying by the hourly fee your m/s charges.


Yes, these costs do add up, but you’ll be paying to pursue your passion for healing via poetry, journaling, story-telling, memoir, and other types of expressive writing; meeting experts in the field; connecting with a vast community of others engaged in these pursuits — reading, learning, networking, and exploring in a profession that changes the world through the power of the pen.

Still have questions? Contact any mentor/supervisor for help! We welcome your continued interest, and wish you every success.