Training to become a Poetry Therapy Practitioner (PTP)

Poetry Therapy is the interactive use of literature – including poetry, prose and non-fiction – to stimulate writing or other creative responses with a view to promoting self expression, self-awareness and well being, in a supportive and non-judgmental environment. A Poetry Therapy Practitioner (PTP) is trained to use poetry therapy resources and techniques best suited to diverse populations.

Throughout your training programme you will work with an experienced Mentor who will support and guide you in all aspects of your training, and help you with your initial and final application folders.

The International Academy for Poetry Therapy has developed a thorough training programme that aims to:

  • Support the trainee throughout the duration of their training
  • Develop and hone knowledge of literature and writing techniques in all their various forms
  • Familiarise trainees with resources and processes congruent with poetry therapy techniques
  • Encourage trainees to integrate their personal specialisms and areas of interest into their work as a PTP
  • Provide opportunities to be part of the International Academy for Poetry Therapy  community through conferences, peer groups, online courses, conference calls and newsletters.


Training typically takes between 2 – 5 years to complete depending on the individual trainee’s needs and preference.

The training encompasses 4 main areas of study and application.

DIDACTIC STUDY – (200 hours minimum). This includes the study of texts in the field of poetry therapy, creative and expressive arts, literature and psychology. A Reading List will be provided by your Mentor. You are required to keep notes regarding your learning and responses. These must be reviewed by your Mentor and included (as applicable) in the final application to certify as a PTP.

PEER EXPERIENCE – (60 hours minimum). This involves participation in groups with poetry therapy peers and others, led by a trained and accredited Poetry Therapy Practitioner. You are required to write a summary of techniques that you are exposed to and add what you have learned from the experience. These must be reviewed by your Mentor and included (as applicable) in the final application to certify as a PTP.

FACILITATION EXPERIENCE- (120 hours minimum). You will work with individuals and groups in a variety of contexts, using poetry therapy techniques. You are required to have a Facilitation Plan for each session and write Process Notes after each session. These must be reviewed by your Mentor and included (as applicable) in the final application to certify as a PTP.

SUPERVISION – (60 hours minimum). You will work closely with your Mentor who will introduce you to the techniques of poetry therapy and supervise all areas of your training. Supervision sessions include reviewing and discussing all aspects of your training. You are required to document each session for review by your Mentor and included (as applicable) in the final application to certify as a PTP.


You will need to show evidence of competency in literature and psychology to complete the training. Your Mentor will discuss this with you and credit may be given (as applicable) for prior knowledge and experience in these areas.

Throughout your training you will work with your Mentor and colleagues to develop an ethical practice and an awareness of Non- Violent Communication.


  1. Contact one of the recognised iaPOETRY Mentors.
  2. The iaPOETRY Mentor will answer any questions you might have, discuss the training programme with you and guide you throughout the application process.
  3. Submit a Letter of Intent (to train as a PTP) to the Credential Chair, along with all other required documentation. (See below). In your letter, provide information about your interest in the field, your goals, education and employment experience, knowledge of poetry, and writing and creative arts experience.
  4. You will receive a letter of acknowledgement of your interest in training for a PTP credential from the Credential Chair.
  5. Discuss the training with your Mentor to determine how you will meet the training requirements. Your Training Plan will be negotiated with your Mentor and will be developmental.


  • Letter of Intent
  • Letter of Acceptance to train you from your Mentor
  • Signed Agreement form between Mentor and Trainee
  • Copy of Degree Certificate/s or other relevant certificates
  • Two character reference letters
  • Signed form verifying that you have not been under investigation nor violated any professional obligations and have read the ethics document
  • Application fee



Your Mentor will send a Letter of Recommendation (LoR) to the Credential Chair endorsing your final application to become a PTP.

LoR to include assurance that Trainee has:

  1. Completed the necessary study regarding the core competencies in Literature and Psychology
  2. Completed 60 hours of supervision
  3. Completed 200 hours of didactic study
  4. Completed 120 hours of facilitation
  5. Completed 60 hours of peer experience
  6. Shown awareness of the theory and practice of Non Violent Communication
  7. Shown awareness of the theory and practice of Ethical standards

LoR may also include reference to any special projects, achievements and circumstances in relation to the Trainee.


Trainee submits final application portfolio folder to include:

  • Cover Sheet itemising the contents of the final portfolio folder
  • Two letters of recommendation from professionals who can endorse the trainee’s work in the field of Poetry Therapy
  • A list of 60 supervision hours, stating whether the sessions were individual in person, individual by telephone or group sessions
  • A list of 200 hours of didactic study, stating the texts read as well as any relevant lectures and workshops
  • A list of 120 hours of facilitation, as well as reports of up to but no more than 1000 words each on: a successful facilitation, a challenging facilitation and a series of 6 facilitations with the same group.
  • A list of 60 hours of peer experience
  • Application fee

All successful applicants will receive their Poetry Therapy Practitioner Credential from iaPOETRY and will be listed as an iaPOETRY Poetry Therapy Practitioner on the website.


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