Training Conducted by the PAT

There are many types of training conducted by the PAT that can be credited with the Board as long as it focuses on one or more of the seven key competencies (history, philosophy, methodology, sociometry, ethics, related fields, or research and evaluation). Training conducted by a PAT can range in format, content, participants, time, etc. For example, some PATs start off knowing they want to develop a long-term group for certification as their major goal as a TEP. Other PATs conduct staff development training using psychodrama techniques, for example to resolve interpersonal working relationships or to teach assertiveness training. Training modules range from brief demonstrations of psychodrama, sociometry and group psychotherapy to residential workshops that span a weekend or longer. Training can focus on a particular area of interest or the broader knowledge needed to provide certification training. As the PAT demonstrates training skills and personal maturity, she/he is encouraged to provide workshops in a progressively more responsible manner.

PATs may give 160 hours of training to any one individual student that applies toward practitioner certification with the Board. A student may attend more training than that with all PATs, but further hours cannot be counted for certification credit.

The PAT is responsible for maintaining accurate records of students who attend training conducted by the PAT.

Primary Trainer – PAT Relationship

The Primary Trainer serves as a mentor who provides consultation to the PAT as she/he develops training and educational experiences in psychodrama, sociometry, and group psychotherapy. The principles of co-creation and the model of adult learning guide the relationship over the three years of progressively responsible and independent training conducted by the PAT trainee. The relationship is one of a mentor and consultant and PATs develop their own style and expertise as a TEP.

The Primary Trainer guides the PAT through the three years of supervised training and education experience through an individualized training plan that is submitted to the American Board of Examiners each year. The trainer provides input to the overall three year plan and, with the PAT, completes a PAT Annual Update, which is then reviewed by the Board. The PAT must continue to submit PAT Annual Updates until the PAT has been certified as a TEP.

PAT’s Responsibilities

The PAT is responsible for regular and routine communication with the primary trainer and with informing the trainer of any impairments or obstacles occurring in the process. The PAT is responsible for preparing and submitting all documentation and renewal materials to the Primary Trainer for receipt by the Board in a timely manner. Plan ahead for adequate time for oversight and verification by the Primary Trainer.

The PAT is responsible for informing consumers of services of the certification process, requirements and the role of the PAT in the certification process. It is particularly important to remind students that a maximum of 160 hours of training can be counted from all PATs towards the required 780 hours of training for practitioner certification. It is also important to inform students that a PAT can be neither a primary nor a secondary trainer.


The Primary Trainer provides close consultation to the PAT for the first 144 hours of training conducted. The PAT must obtain a minimum of 48 hours of consultation for the first 144 hours: one hour of consultation for three hours of training. If more training workshops are offered during the three years, consultation is expected at the minimum ratio of one hour of consultation for every eight hours of training. The PAT must continue to receive consultation for all workshops offered for credit until the PAT has successfully passed both the written and the on-site TEP examinations.

Consultation happens when the focus for the session between TEP and PAT is on developing, conducting, and evaluating training and education workshops conducted by the candidate. Consultation can include, but is not limited to:

  • Development of the role of trainer and how it differs from practitioner
  • The process of starting training groups and workshops
  • Developing areas of training expertise and/or specialization
  • Enhancing the use of psychodrama and sociometry methods for the purpose of training
  • Using sociometry to build a certification training group
  • How to provide supervision and resolve difficulties with students

Additionally, the Primary Trainer provides consultation and support around the examination process, including record keeping and maintenance of yearly updates.

The Primary Trainer is responsible for promoting more independence and responsibility for the training conducted by the PAT. Some TEPs provide initial on-site consultation by conducting workshops with the PAT. Consultation can also be conducted one on one, on the phone, by email, or though audio-video communications.

Change of Primary Trainer

For a variety of reasons – including retirement, geographical relocation, or incompatibility – a PAT may need to change primary trainers. the Board has established procedures for such a transfer. Contact us by email for information about the process.

Secondary Trainer

Many PATs seek consultation with a Secondary Trainer in an area of competency that adds to what the Primary Trainer provides. It is extremely difficult to find a secondary trainer six months before the exam, but it is relatively easy to find a secondary trainer during the first year as a PAT. Your secondary trainer does not have to be in your geographical vicinity. With a little planning and organization you can choose a secondary trainer who lives far from you. You can videotape your training sessions and have your secondary trainer review them. Your secondary trainer can observe your presentations at regional or national conferences, etc. You can receive supervision over the phone or by e-mail.

Providing Training Hours

Q: Can a PAT be a primary or secondary trainer?
No! Only TEPs can be primary or secondary trainers. You can be the third professional reference for practitioner candidates.

Q: What are the rules when I am co-leading with someone?
If the PAT and the other person (e.g., TEP, PAT, or non-PAT) are equally actively responsible for co-leading the training then the PAT may credit all the training hours. If however, the training is divided into segments with sequential trainers, then the PAT may only credit those hours when the PAT was actively responsible for the training. Whichever option you choose remember that you must also receive supervision for those hours.

Q: How much credit do psychodrama trainees receive when I am co-leading with someone else who is neither a TEP nor a PAT?
It is the responsibility of the PAT to be clear about how many hours the trainee can credit for practitioner certification. In order for students to receive credit, the PAT must lead or co-lead the training. If the PAT sponsors and stays in the room while a non-PAT teaches their students, the students can credit training hours from the PAT. If a PAT offers an eight-hour workshop and only provides active training for four hours while the other four hours are from others who are not PATs or TEPs, then the students can credit four hours. If a PAT and a non-PAT co-lead a session with both individuals actively involved in all phases of the training than the students may credit hours from the entire session.

Q: When I become a TEP, can my students count my PAT training hours with me as TEP training hours?
Training hours that you provided before successfully completing your written and on-site TEP examinations are credited as PAT Hours. Hours that you provide after successfully completing the TEP examinations are credited as TEP Hours.

Q: I do a lot of training. Must I report all those hours?
The Board is concerned only with training hours that are offered for credit to individuals towards meeting the requirement of 780 hours of training for certification as a practitioner. If you have too many training opportunities you simply do not have to offer all these hours for credit. This will most likely occur either in demonstration sessions or in training that is voluntarily provided without remuneration. The PAT may also offer many hours of general professional training that is not specifically related to the professional practice of psychodrama, sociometry and group psychotherapy. It is the responsibility of the PAT and the Primary Trainer to determine whether the proposed training meets one of the seven identified competencies (e.g. history, philosophy, methodology, sociometry, ethics, research/evaluation and related fields) and whether or not the training will be offered for credit towards psychodrama certification.

Q: Can I count supervision hours toward training hours?
No. Supervision and training are two different competencies. There is no requirement to offer supervision as part of the TEP Certification Standards.

Obtaining Supervision

Q: Must I really maintain the required ratio of supervision required for training hours offered?
Absolutely! If the PAT is offering psychodrama training credit, then the PAT must receive the required hours of supervision. The supervision ratio is one hour of supervision for every three hours of training for the first 144 hours of training offered. Thereafter, the ratio is one hour of supervision for every eight hours of training conducted. PAT Annual Updates must meet the established minimum ratios; annual updates that do not meet the minimum ratio will be returned for correction: PATs will be required to eliminate training hours offered for which they did not receive adequate consultation, submit a corrected PAT Annual Update, and inform trainees that those training hours may not be counted toward certification.

Q: Is there any room for spontaneity regarding the Required Ratio of Supervision and Training?
Yes! The primary trainer and the PAT may decide that more supervision is needed in the early phases of the PAT’s development as a trainer. Using a progressively responsible process the PAT would receive supervision at a greater ratio in the first year and less in the third year, but the overall ratio will be one hour of supervision for every three hours of training. The primary trainer and the PAT may also decide to continuously exceed the minimum ratio for supervision and training. Consequently, it is permissible to have more supervision hours than is required for the training hours, but it is never permissible to have fewer supervision hours than the minimum required ratio.

Q: Supervision is difficult to arrange and is costly!
You are not required to offer more than 144 hours of training to apply for TEP certification. You are required to obtain supervision for training hours that are offered for psychodrama training credit. You can limit the amount of supervision required by managing the amount of training you offer for credit above the 144 hour minimum.

Consider the following options! The Board does not require you to have face-to-face supervision for each and every session. You can videotape your training sessions and have your primary trainer review them. You can receive supervision over the phone or by email. With your primary trainer’s consent you can receive supervision from your secondary trainer. You can meet in a small group with other PATs and have a daylong supervision session each month. Be creative!