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When and Where

The written exam is always given on the 3rd Saturday in October (i.e. October 17, 2020; October 16, 2021; October 15, 2022; October 21, 2023; October 19, 2024).

Exam-Related Instructions

Between submission of your application and the day of the written exam, you should review instructions for taking the exam on exam day and preparing and sending printed copies of the final version of your exam.

You will receive a series of emails that guide you through the process by:

  • informing you of admission to the examination process and requesting payment of the examination fee,
  • confirming the email address where you will receive all exam-related instructions and communications,
  • requesting your choice of exam time from the two options available,
  • reminding you to be sure to use only an approved related field for the Related Field question,
  • directing you to review instructions for exam taking on exam day and submission of final printed copies of your exam.
  • giving you the unique identifier (ID#) that will identify your exam.

When taking the exam, you may not open any other documents or copy from any other document. You may not use any psychodrama notes, articles or books during the exam. This prohibition includes copying from any previously-prepared materials you have written.

Confidentiality and Social Media Guidelines

Review for posting on social media and other forms of communication.

Written Exam Options

Almost all candidates take the exam via email. Use a computer that is in good working order. You will be given a cell phone telephone number to contact on the day of your written examination in case some emergency or crisis should arise.

Preferred Exam Schedule

Candidates may choose one of two options for the delivery of the written exam via email:

  • Option 1: Part I will be sent out at 10:00 AM EDT (Eastern Daylight Savings Time) and must be returned by 12:00 Noon. There will be a one hour break. Part II will be sent out at 1:00 PM EDT and must be returned by 4:00 PM EDT.
  • Option 2: Part I will be sent out at 12:00 Noon EDT (Eastern Daylight Savings Time) and must be returned by 2:00 PM EDT. There will be a one hour break. Part II will be sent out at 3:00 PM EDT and must be returned by 6:00 PM EDT.

Exam schedule for candidates in Asia:

  • Part I will be sent out Friday at 8:00 PM EDT (Eastern Daylight Savings Time) and must be returned by 10:00 PM EDT. There will be a one hour break. Part II will be sent out at 11:00 PM EDT and must be returned by 2:00 AM EDT on Saturday.

These time zones do not apply if you requested and have been approved to take the exam with a different schedule. In that case you will take the exam during the times that are listed on your approved exam options.

When English is a Foreign Language

If your first language is not English you may request to take the written and on-site examinations in your first language. If English is a foreign language for you, please contact the Board immediately for accommodations that can be made for you. Contact us by email with the subject “English as a Foreign Language.” Anyone who resides in China or Taiwan is automatically enrolled in “English as a Second Language.”

If you write the written examination in a language other than English (e.g. Spanish, Chinese, Hebrew, etc.), the Board strongly recommends that you have your written examination translated into English by a professional translator. Having a professional translator translate your written examination into English will decrease miscommunication and misunderstanding and increase your chances that the reviewers will access more accurately your ability to answer the examination questions.

Special Accommodations

If a candidate is unable to take the written examination under the usual and customary circumstances, that candidate may request alternative options for the date(s), format or time limits of the examination. All requests for alternative examination options must be received by July 15.

Onsite First Option

Candidates whose applications have been accepted may choose to schedule their onsite exam in advance of their written exam. This option may appeal to candidates who feel more confident demonstrating their proficiency as a psychodrama director before taking the written exam. However, this option will delay by more than a year the time between applying for certification and taking the written exam.

Candidates who choose this option must apply by the standard application deadline of July 15. Following admission to the exam process, but by no later than September 15, they must submit a request to take their onsite exam before the written exam. They also must pay a Continuous CP Registration Fee.

On or after November 1, following the Onsite Examination Guidelines, candidates submit a plan for their onsite exam. As with any other candidate, an individual who does not pass the first onsite may request a second and, if necessary, third onsite exam.

Any requests for special accommodations for the written exam must be received no later than July 15 preceding the written exam administration date (third Saturday of October).

Here is a typical sample schedule for candidates who elect this option:

  • July 15, 2022: Application and supporting materials received at ABE office.
  • By September 1, 2022: Notification of admission to exam.
  • September 15, 2022: Request to take onsite first must be received at ABE office.
  • Pay Continuous CP Registration Fee.
  • On or after November 1, 2022: Submit plan to ABE office for onsite exam.
  • After approval of onsite exam plan: Take onsite exam.
  • By July 15, 2023, if applicable: Request, if any, for special accommodations for written exam (with supporting documentation if required) due at ABE office.
  • October 21, 2023: Written exam.

Exam Preparation and Study


It may be helpful to think of the written examination for certification as analogous to comprehensive examinations given by many universities. The exam covers seven areas. History, Philosophy, Methodology, Sociometry, Ethics, Research & Evaluation, and Related Fields. All questions are essay questions. Methodology and Sociometry require responses to two questions; all others are a single question.

Structure and Format

The examination is given in two parts. In the morning, two hours are allotted for the areas of History, Philosophy and Methodology. In the afternoon, three hours are allowed for the areas of Sociometry, Ethics, Research & Evaluation, and Related Fields. The Board suggests that candidates spend 30 minutes on each of the single-weighted sections except Ethics (45 minutes) and one hour each on the Sociometry and Methodology Sections. Because there are two questions in each section for Sociometry and Methodology, these areas are double-weighted in the scoring process.


The written and onsite examinations evaluate “adequacy” not brilliance at or mastery of psychodrama, sociometry and group psychotherapy. Becoming certified marks not advanced expertise but, rather, a kind of commencement: the beginning of an ongoing journey, gaining increasing virtuosity as a practitioner of psychodrama, sociometry, and group psychotherapy.

The ABE does not publish model answers because model answers are by their very definition are “models” and would be rated as excellent. Both examinations are rated as pass or fail. It is possible to receive a low pass on each of the nine questions of the written exam and still pass. It is possible to fail two questions and still pass the written examination. To repeat, the Board is not looking for mastery or perfection but adequacy.

Exam Areas

  1. History: Psychodramatists will be cognizant of the history of the fields of psychodrama, sociometry and group psychotherapy. Questions usually cover Moreno’s life and development of psychodrama, early contributors to the fields, and recent developments since Moreno’s death. Psychodramatists are also expected to be cognizant of contributors other than J. L. Moreno to the history and development of group psychotherapy. (30 minutes)
  2. Philosophy: Psychodramatists will have a basic understanding of the philosophical tenets of psychodrama, sociometry and group psychotherapy. Major tenets of philosophy cover spirituality, the godhead, spontaneity, creativity, cultural conserve, developmental theory, the canon of creativity, here and now, and living in the moment. (30 minutes)
  3. Methodology: Psychodramatists will have a thorough understanding of the experiential/action methods of psychodrama related to their scope of practice. Methodology covers: psychodrama terminology, techniques, and interventions, and an ability to explain the underlying rationale. Candidates are expected to be able to discuss a range of methods from applications to a single session with a specific diagnosis or concern to the broader principles of change related to experiential therapies. If a candidate is not a mental health professional, they are expected to be able to discuss a range of methods applicable to their scope of practice. (60 minutes/2 questions)
  4. Sociometry: Psychodramatists will have a thorough understanding of the skills and knowledge required for sociometric assessment, analysis, and intervention in social structures at the following levels: individuals, families, groups, organizations, community and systems. Basic theoretical concepts, as well as demonstration of sociometric interventions, are covered in the questions. (60 minutes/2 questions)
  5. Research and Evaluation: Psychodramatists will have a basic understanding of the state of current applied research, assessment and program evaluation in the field of psychodrama, sociometry and group psychotherapy. Candidates will not be required to know current experimental and qualitative research design, nor will they be required to design a research study related to testing psychodramatic methods or principles. (30 minutes)

    The question on the research section of the CP examination will focus on one of the following:a) Assessment: Psychodramatic, Sociometric and Group Psychotherapeutic tools that are used to assess individual clients or groups (e.g., social atom, role diagrams, sociometric tests, sociograms, etc.).b) Program Evaluation: The practical everyday evaluation of the practitioner’s efficacy as an individual or group provider (i.e., hypothesis testing, goal-setting, and assessing outcomes).c) Current Literature Review: Review of a current professional published article or book that has enhanced a practitioner’s professional practice.d) Historical Literature Review: This question will focus on a review of Moreno’s research studies or a review of one published empirical or qualitative research study of your choice that demonstrates the efficacy of psychodrama, sociometry and group psychotherapy.A good source for recently published articles in the field is the Journal of Psychodrama, Sociometry and Group Psychotherapy. Social Work, Counseling, Education and Psychology journals also publish research on psychodrama and experiential methods.If the examination question asks for a review of a research article or an example of an empirical investigation that has influenced your practice, the response must cite the study so that the reviewer can find it if necessary. At a minimum, the Author, Date, Title of article, Journal Name, edition, and pages are required. This information may be added when submitting the final draft of your exam. When discussing an article give a full description of the study, including a statement of problem, hypotheses tested, results and discussion. Be able to relate the article to your practice.
  6. Ethics and Standards of Practice: Psychodramatists will have a thorough understanding of the ethical principles and standards of practice concerning the fields of psychodrama, sociometry and group psychotherapy. The Board has adopted the American Psychological Association’s (APA) Code of Ethics. Psychodramatists will have a thorough understanding of the APA Code Of Ethics and its applications to educational, consultative, training and research practices. Candidates are expected to be able to discuss an ethical issue with specific reference to the APA’s Code of Ethics. Candidates should also be familiar with the legal issues (e.g., Tarasoff case and others) of practice, and with ethical issues that relate specifically to the practice of psychodrama. (45 minutes)
  7. Related Fields: The psychodramatist will have a basic understanding of the inter-relatedness between the field of psychodrama (which includes sociometry, sociodrama, and group psychotherapy) and other developed fields of therapeutic or educational endeavor. The term ‘related fields’ refers to complete areas of study pertinent to psychodrama, sociometry, sociodrama and psychodramatic group work in the area of one’s professional practice. (30 minutes)

    Psychodramatists will be able to translate these principles and techniques to their scope of practice within their own areas of expertise. Questions are usually broad enough to give individuals a choice of several different theoretical bases to compare or contrast with psychodramatic theory and methods.

    The Related Field you choose must be on the list of approved related Fields. Currently approved Related Fields are:

Attachment Theory
Bowen Family Therapy
Buddhist Psychology
Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy
Contextual Family Therapy
Ego Psychology
Erik Erickson
Imago Therapy
Internal Family Systems

Jungian Analysis
Karen Horney
Milton Erickson
Neurolinguistic Programming
Object Relations Theory
Personal Construct Theory
Reality Therapy
Reichian Therapy
Rogers’ Person Centered Therapy
Somatic Experiencing®
Strategic Family Therapy
Structural Family Therapy
Transactional Analysis

Please note
a) An individual’s invention of a new psychodramatic technique is not a related field.
b) Sociodrama is not a related field. Sociodrama is within the same field as psychodrama.
c) Populations of clients are not a related field of study (i.e. sex addicts, alcoholics, etc.).
d) A Discipline (i.e. Social Work, Art Therapy, etc.) is not a related field.
e) An entire domain (i.e. Education, Theater, Familly Therapy, Systems, Organizational Development, etc.) is not a related field, but rather, it encompasses several related fields.

Additional Related Field requests. You may request that an additional related field be added by sending your request, along with supporting information, to the Board here. Your request should demonstrate that a proposed related field contains the following:

a) A philosophy;
b) A theory of personality;
c) A theory of human development;
d) A body of knowledge;
e) Intervention techniques; and a
f) Research Base.

A two to three page document addressing the six criteria should begin with an introductory section that outlines the history and brief description of the field. Then provide an explanation of how this related fields meets each criterion and supportive references. For the research section, provide references to published articles in peer-reviewed journals that establish that this related field does have a research base.

The Board meets twice yearly (January and September) and will act upon your request at the next regularly scheduled Board meeting. You must receive written approval of your request to add a related field prior to writing the exam. Any essay on a related field not included on the list below or for which you have not received written approval prior to taking the written examination will be rated as “fail.”

Terms, Competencies, and Resources

The terms and competencies provided below are not comprehensive listings of the knowledge needed to pass the certification exam. They provide a good foundation of theory, research and practice in Psychodrama, Sociometry and Group Psychotherapy. A glossary is available here. Be prepared to define and discuss them.

Sample Terms


act hunger
action insight
auto tele
central concern model
classical double
closure sharing
cluster warm-up
cognitive double
containing double
counter transference
creative neutrality

cultural conserve
director-directed warm-up
empathic double
empty chair
first universe
future projection
group double
Hollander Curve
matrix of identity
model group
open tension system
opposite role

physical starters
psychodramatic role
psychodramatic shock
role playing
role reversal
role reversal with God
role training
social atom
status nascendi
surplus reality

Role Theory

psychodramatic role
role chart
role conflict
role consensus
role creating
role crisis
role demand

role diagram
role repertoire
role fatigue
role institutionalization
role lock
role playing
role reciprocity

social role
somatic role
role stealing
role stripping
role taking
role tension
role transition


creative neutrality
diamond of opposites
isolated pair
mutual choice

negative choice
non-reciprocal choice
positive star
reciprocal choice
rejection star
social atom
sociodynamic effect
sociogenetic evolution
sociometric chain

sociometric consciousness
star of incongruity
star of rejection
step-in sociometry
systems theory
world sociometry


In addition to the following Competencies, be sure to review Written Exam Questions from the previous five years and be able to answer those questions. Show ability to:

  • Trace historical development of psychodrama
  • Identify philosophical components of the godhead
  • Name groups with which psychodrama can be used and adapted to the needs of specific populations
  • Discuss state of research on psychodrama
  • Discuss psychodrama’s particular philosophical structure in relation to other therapies
  • Discuss existing ethical codes of psychotherapy and psychodrama
  • Demonstrate the ability to process psychodrama sessions
  • Discuss theory and techniques of psychodrama of a dream
  • Compare and contrast psychodrama to other therapeutic modalities
  • Discuss difference between spontaneous and structured role-play
  • Discuss the differences between catharsis of abreaction and catharsis of integration
  • Discuss difference in catharsis as occurs in sociodrama and psychodrama
  • Administer written social atom and formulate hypotheses regarding elements of interpersonal relationships
  • Discuss relationship of sociometry to spontaneity and tele
  • Administer basic written sociometric tests
  • Analyze written sociometric tests
  • Discuss stages of group development and appropriate interventions
  • Identify differences in and importance of appropriate criteria selection
  • Discuss interventions to address issues of group dynamics
  • Discuss the Canon of Creativity in relation to Moreno’s Theory of Spontaneity /Creativity


The American Society of Group Psychotherapy and Psychodrama provides links to resources as well as purchase information for pertinent books (including the student edition of J.L. Moreno’s Who Shall Survive? and René Marineau’s biography of J.L. Moreno). Electronic and printed versions of books by J.L. Moreno, including volumes co-authoried with Zerka Moreno are available here. Additionally, there are many manuscripts by Moreno available on a wide range of topics. Other authors and editors, especially Zerka T. Moreno, have translated and disseminated Moreno’s original teachings. Group Psychotherapy and Psychodrama, International Journal of Sociometry and Sociatry, Sociometry, Sociatry – published much of Moreno’s work over the years.

The Journal of Psychodrama, Sociometry and Group Psychotherapy publishes current work in psychodrama, sociometry, and group psychotherapy. The International Journal of Action Methods and The British Journal of Psychodrama have published numerous contributions since Moreno.

Bibliography of Psychodrama©
An on-line bibliography of psychodrama incorporating materials from inception through 2015 is searchable by author, key word, date and citation. Since 2015, it has been continued here. James M. Sacks compiled this bibliography until 2009, followed by Michael Wieser. Contributions were also made by Valerie Greer, Jeanine Gendron, Marie-Therese Bilaniuk, and Sabine Tillian. The Australia and Aoteraoa New Zealand Psychodrama Association (AANZPA) offers access to reprints of almost 200 psychodrama papers including more than 50 papers published by J.L. and/or Zerka Moreno.

Seminal works of J. L. Moreno

It is expected that all applicants will be thoroughly acquainted with the works of J. L. Moreno, M.D. (1889-1974) founder of psychodrama and sociometry and pioneer of group psychotherapy. His major works are available from either of the following:

Moreno, J. L. (1941). The Psychodrama of God: A New Hypothesis of the Self. (Also called The Words of the Father). Beacon, NY: Beacon House.

Moreno, J. L. (1946). Psychodrama: Volume One. Beacon, NY: Beacon House.

Moreno, J. L. (1947). Theatre of Spontaneity: An Introduction to Psychodrama. Beacon, NY: Beacon House.

Moreno, J. L. (1951). Sociometry: Experimental Method and the Science of Sociometry. Beacon, NY: Beacon House.

Moreno, J. L. (Ed.). (1956). Sociometry and the Science of Man. Beacon, NY: Beacon House.

Moreno, J. L. (1978). Who Shall Survive? (3rd Edition). Beacon, NY: Beacon House.

Moreno, J. L., & Moreno, Z. T. (1959). Psychodrama: Volume Two. Beacon, NY: Beacon House.

Moreno, J. L., & Moreno, Z. T. (1969). Psychodrama: Volume Three. Beacon, NY: Beacon House.

Written Exam Tips

Almost all candidates pass the written exam each year; many years no one fails. Three main reasons for failure are: a lack of studying; a lack of role training (i.e. writing time-limited practice exams); and high test anxiety. Working with their Primary Trainer to develop a study plan and to form a study group has helped candidates feel more confident and has shown to make the examination process less daunting.


  1. Understand the exam taking procedures. Review the instructions for taking the exam and for submitting a final printed version at least a month before the date of the exam and be sure you are prepared with a working computer, stable internet connection, and pre-formatted documents for Part A and Part B of the exam.
  2. Study for the examination. Go over the past examinations, especially those from the past five years. Could you pass the examination today without further studying? If not, refer to the suggested bibliography and sample terms and competencies.
  3. Review the evaluation of the last year’s examination results. An article on “Written Examination Evaluation” appears in each May Newsletter.
  4. Study Group. The Board strongly encourages you to join a study group to practice, prepare and role train for the written examination. You may form a study group of your peers in training or arrange with your primary trainer or other trainer to join an existing study group.
  5. Develop your writing skills. If you have poor writing skills think about taking a course or receiving assistance in helping you to write. Most psychodrama training centers teach through action. The written examination may be unfamiliar territory. Practice writing answers to essay questions. The primary trainer and/or secondary trainer should review these essays.
  6. Do some role training. Simulate the experience of taking the examination. Either use old questions or ask peers or trainers to develop some mock questions for you. Answer the questions in the same time frame. Remember that when taking the exam you may not open any other documents or copy from any other document. Give your answers to your primary and/or secondary trainer to review.

On Exam Day

  1. Reduce stress. Get a good night’s rest. Eat breakfast. Plan to have a nice lunch during the break. Plan to go out with some folks after the examination to provide support and closure. Remember to breathe, breathe, breathe.
  2. Read the questions carefully. Take a minute to think about what you want to say and organize your thoughts. Write a brief introductory paragraph, present the body of your answer and write a closing paragraph summarizing your thoughts on the question.
  3. Follow the suggested time limits for each question. You must answer all the sections. Also remember that the sections on Sociometry and Methodology are doubly weighted. One of the most frequent reasons for failing the exam is because the candidate failed to give adequate time to all areas of the exam.
  4. Be sure you have answered the question. Especially under time constraints it is easy to go off on a tangent trying to explain everything we know, which can result in an essay with lots of good information that does not sufficiently answer the question asked.
  5. Be sure that the terms you use are generally accepted terms.

Scoring Process

All exams are evaluated without any of the exam reviewers or the Board of Directors knowing the identify of the person writing the exam. Exams are identified by code number only during the evaluation process. The Board of Directors learns the identity of each candidate only after all decisions have been made about the pass/fail of all the examinations. The Executive Director does not evaluate or comment on any individual examinations or the contents thereof. The Executive Director may remind the Board of Directors of existing policies regarding the evaluation of the written examinations.

There are twenty-one separate reviewers for the CP exams: three reviewers for each section. Two of the three reviewers need to agree (Excellent, High Pass or Pass) to be rated as a pass or two of the three need to agree for the exam to be rated as a fail (Borderline or Fail). The ABE double-weights the sections on Methodology and Sociometry. There are nine sections to the exam – 1/9th or one each for History, Philosophy, Ethics, Research/Evaluation and Related Fields and 2/9th for Methodology and Sociometry.

For an exam to be considered a fail 3 of 9 sections of the exam must be rated as borderline or fail (e.g., one double-weighted section and one other section or three single weighed sections). If 3 or more of 9 sections are rated as borderline of fail, Board Directors who did not participate in the initial review of practitioner examinations are convened as a Review Committee to make the final decision of pass or fail for such exams.

The Board does not provide feedback to individuals who pass the written examination. Reviewers are not asked to provide written feedback about essays they evaluate as pass.

The Board does provide written feedback to individuals who fail the written examination. This feedback consists of reviewer comments on any question for which the essay was scored as borderline or fail. Written feedback is generally provided sixty to ninety days after written notification of the examination failure.

Re-Taking Written Exam

If a candidate fails the written examination, the candidate may take the examination again. There is an administrative fee for retaking the written examination. Candidates may take the written examination up to three times within a five-year period. If the candidate does not pass on the third try, the candidate’s application is terminated.

Candidates must successfully complete both the written examination and the onsite observation within five years of admission to the certification process.

Candidates who do not progress toward completion by re-taking a failed written or onsite exam who wish to keep their application active shall pay an annual continuous CP registration fee.