Only those individuals who are certified as Trainers, Educators, and Practitioners (TEPs) can serve as Primary Trainers for individuals seeking certification in psychodrama, sociometry and group psychotherapy. The Board recommends that, if possible, trainees participate in training events from several trainers before choosing a primary trainer. People choose Primary Trainers for a variety for reasons, including national training reputation, training specialty, personality style, geographical access, and personal preference.
This is a long-term (3 years or more) relationship, which includes a variety of roles over time, and thus, needs to be seriously undertaken by both parties. Trainees should make sure it is a good fit, taking into account considerations such as the trainer’s availability, response to emails and questions, how they provide feedback, willingness to help, costs for supervision, actively giving enough training opportunities, and planned duration of training if the primary trainer is if close to retirement. Also, be aware that some primary trainers have requirements that exceed the minimal standards specified by the Board’s certification standards.
Although only individuals certified as TEPs can serve as primary or secondary trainers, applicants for certification may credit training from other providers including:
- up to 160 hours of their training from individuals who are certified as CPs and are formally admitted as Practioner Applicants for Trainer (PATs) and
- certified Trainers, Educators, and Practitioners (TEPs) by Board of Examiners from other countries that have established formal reciprocity agreements with the American Board of Examiners
Primary Trainer Responsibilities
The Primary Trainer is a TEP who is responsible for closely working with the trainee to create, implement and evaluate each trainee’s plan for acquiring knowledge, skills and abilities in psychodrama, sociometry and group psychotherapy. In order for a trainee to be admitted to the certification process, the Board requires that the Primary Trainer has provided a minimum of 390 hours of training to the trainee and requires that the Primary Trainer is willing to endorse the trainee for certification The Board believes that the Primary Trainer’s stance toward trainees is guided by the question “What can I do to help you reach your aspirations and dreams?”
Ideally, the Primary Trainer observes the trainee in a number of practice and training settings, including, but not limited to:
- On-going training groups
- Residential training
- Specialized skill application sessions
It is also expected that the Primary Trainer will witness the trainee in the roles of director, protagonist, processor, psychodrama demonstration leader, and a range of auxiliary roles, including double and antagonist.
Within the Primary Trainer role, the Primary Trainer serves several functions, including advisor, teacher, examination coach, and evaluator. The Primary Trainer also guides the trainee to choose a Secondary Trainer and to develop a plan and approve supervisors for the trainee’s Supervised Practice. The Primary Trainer also may provide all or part of that supervision.
Advisor and Guide to the Certification Process
It is important that Primary Trainers take the advisory responsibility early. It is essential that each Primary Trainer regularly and routinely inform their work-shop participants of the standards and requirements for certification. When a trainee has completed more than 80 hours of professional training, it is the Primary Trainer’s responsibility to clarify the requirements for training and the process of certification to each trainee.
The Primary Trainer explains the differences between training, supervision, and practice of psychodrama, and how each component is a necessary part of the training model in psychodrama, sociometry, and group psychotherapy. It is also the responsibility of the Primary Trainer to explain the differences between personal growth workshops and psychodrama training.
The Primary Trainer’s main responsibility as a teacher is to provide competent instruction, demonstration, and applied practice of the philosophy, history, theory, and methods of psychodrama, sociometry, and group psychotherapy. The Primary Trainer is responsible for providing training from the introductory to advanced levels of skill application. Additionally, the Primary Trainer must prepare the trainee to take the written and on-site examination.
When a Primary Trainer chooses not to conduct workshops on given areas of required knowledge and practice (e.g. sociometry, ethics, research, etc.) or lacks expertise in these areas, the Primary Trainer must ensure the trainee’s participation in the required training from adjunct trainers.
The Board expects that the Primary Trainer will prepare the trainee for the examination process through- out the training process. However, in the final stages, the Primary Trainer will assist the trainee in the preparation and submission of application materials, as well as providing opportunities for study sessions, and/or mock examination simulations. If the trainee fails either examination, the Primary Trainer has the responsibility to identify and co-create a corrective plan of action to supplement areas of noted deficiencies.
The Primary Trainer is responsible for regularly and routinely evaluating the trainee’s performance towards the goal of certification. The Primary Trainer must provide concrete evaluation of the trainee’s progress, or lack of progress in completing the individualized plan for training. The Primary Trainer must provide written documentation of areas of weakness and suggestions for improvement, when progress is unsatisfactory or slower than anticipated.
The Primary Trainer provides supervision and/or works with the trainee to identify appropriate supervisors and establish a practice plan for the trainee’s supervised practicum.