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.
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.
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Review the evaluation of the last year’s examination results. An article on “Written Examination Evaluation” appears in each May Newsletter.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Be sure that the terms you use are generally accepted terms.