Training Requirements

Prerequisites & Initial Application

In order for a candidate to apply for the SP certification, their primary trainer must be an ABE certified TEP, and they must verify through an initial application that the following requirements have been met:

The training requirement for psychodrama certification is summarized in the following table:

  • Psychodrama training hours
    • 300 hours of Psychodrama training provided by ABE Certified TEPs; at least 100 of those training hours with the candidate’s primary trainer.
    • Up to 40 training hours may be obtained from individuals that are ABE certified CPs, PATs, and TEPs at local, regional, and national conferences sponsored by recognized organizations, including the American Society of Group Psychotherapy and Psychodrama, The American Group Psychotherapy Association, The North American Drama Therapy Association, The Taiwan Association for Psychodrama, or International Association of Group Psychotherapy and Processes.
    • Up to 40 distance learning training hours will be accepted (must be provided by an ABE certified TEP).
  • A minimum of three (3) supervision sessions with the primary trainer.
    • Supervision sessions must be at least 60 minutes in length and offer the applicant the opportunity to discuss specific psychodrama, sociodrama, or sociometric applications.
  • The primary trainer must have observed the candidate competently direct at least 2 full psychodrama or sociodrama sessions and demonstrate an understanding of sociometric principles and processes.
  • Education requirements (see below)
  • A completed and signed agreement with the Primary Trainer, ensuring a commitment to adhere to ABE practice standards, supervision, continuing education requirements and training expectations, including:
    • Minimum of 20 training hours per year.
    • Minimum of 7 supervision sessions per year.
    • Minimum of 10 Continuing education hours per year in areas relevant to SPs practice.
    • Awareness of and adherence to ABE Practice standards, scope of practice and core competencies.
    • Professionalism (maintaining good standing with professional organizations, upholding licensure if applicable).
  • Verification that candidate’s license(s) and/or certification(s) to practice in their professional field has never been suspended or revoked due to unethical, unprofessional, or illegal conduct.

Primary Trainer

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.

Primary Trainer Roles

  • Guides overall certification training process with trainees.
  • Develops individualized training plan for the adult learner.
  • Helps select Secondary and Adjunctive Trainers and collaborates with them to maximize learning for the trainee.
  • Helps develop an approved Supervised practice plan.
  • Maintains accurate records of training and supervision hours.
  • Provides regular evaluations and written feedback.
  • Provides examination support to achieve competency.
  • Endorses candidate for the certification examinations.

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 100 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.

Examination Coach

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.

Practicum Supervisor

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.


  • A minimum of a Bachelor’s degree from an accredited University in the field relevant to the applicant’s areas of practice. Candidates are expected to have completed coursework in five key mental health areas and are expected to practice only within their areas of competence, educational background and professional proficiency.
  • SP applicants who hold a Bachelor’s degree must provide to their primary trainer, verification of completed coursework that provides a basic foundation in five key mental health areas including Human Growth and Development; Theories of Personality; Abnormal Behavior (Psychopathology); Methods of Psychotherapy; and Social Systems (e.g., Family Therapy, Organizational Behavior, etc.).
  • SP applicants who hold a graduate degree (Master’s or Doctorate) and who are not also licensed or certified as mental health professionals are required to submit relevant official graduate transcripts indicating they have completed coursework covering the same five key mental health areas listed above.
  • Graduate level (Master’s or Doctorate) licensed mental health professionals are assumed to have competency in the aforementioned five key mental health areas and will not be required to provide transcripts of their course work. Examples of these post graduate level mental health degrees include Counseling or Clinical Psychology, Social Work, Mental Health Counseling or Pastoral Counseling, Expressive Arts Therapies, Art Therapy, Dance/ Movement Therapy, Drama Therapy, and Music Therapy. In this case SP applicants will be required to submit a photocopy of their current license or certification.
Revised May 2024