Distance Learning Training Program

  • Certified Poetry Therapist
  • Certification in Poetry Therapy
  • Certified Poetic Medicine Facilitator
  • Certified in Poetic Medicine


This three-phase distance learning training covers about two years and a half years of time and will give you the direct experience and in-depth training that can make you truly effective in the practice of poetry as healer.

While the majority of the time is distance learning via an on-line video platform, there are also four in-person cohort colloquiums that are essential to the learning experience.

Drawing upon a lifetime of experience, John Fox, CPT, along with guest instructors, will teach you how poetry as healer can act as a catalyst for your professional and personal life.

Poem-making, when approached as a healing, creative and transformational process rather than with analysis or judgment, provides an opportunity for deep inner healing. It encourages connection and meaning. This is especially true when we share this experience within a community of learners who commit themselves to empathy and respect, discernment and curiosity, self-reflection and courage

Phase One: Cohort based program.

Focused on starting and sustaining a personal practice of poetry-as-healer  in the way of Poetic Medicine.

Truth is such a rare thing and it is delightful to tell it.

—Emily Dickinson

Elements of Phase 1 include:

  • 2.5 hours (approx.),  bi-monthly on-line classroom sessions over seven months.
  • 5 hours, individual mentoring from John Fox
  • Students can expect four to five hours of homework per month
  • One in person colloquium at the beginning of the training
  • Schedule arranged upon approval of application

A cohort is a group of students who together create a learning community. The cohort-based approach nurtures creative interaction and supports personal integration of course material.  We will use as our primary text of study, Poetic Medicine: The Healing Art of Poem-Making.  Topics include:

  • Heart Who Will You Cry Out To? —Giving Silence Words
  • The Same River Twice —Merging the Healing and Creative Proccesses
  • Poetic Tools for Your Healing Journey —Creating with the Elements of Poetry
  • The Fragile Bond —Expressing Poems of Pain and Love Between Parent and Child
  • Landscapes of Relationship —Reflecting on Intimacy, Marriage, Longing and Friendship
  • When God Sighs —Making Poems About Loss, Illness and Death
  • The Peace of Wild Things —Embracing the Earth to Tell Your Story
  • Poems of Witness in a Conflicted World —Speaking the Truth, Going to the Heart
  • There Is a Secret One Inside Us —Using Your Spiritual Voice to Heal


Phase Two: Focused on learning and integrating optimum ways to practice and apply poetry as healer.

In its origin a poem is something completely unequivocal.  It is a discharge, a call, a cry, a sigh, a gesture, a reaction by which the living soul seeks to defend itself from or to become aware of an emotion, an experience.  In this first spontaneous most important function no poem can be judged.  It speaks first of all simply to the poet himself, it is his cry, his scream, his dream, his smile, his whirling fists.


Phase 2 will include:

  • 12 —2.5 hours (approx.), bi-monthly on-line classroom sessions over seven months.
  • 5 hours of individual mentoring from John Fox
  • Students can expect five hours of homework per month
  • 2 four-day colloquiums (place and date to be determined)


Each on-line session (12 in all) will focus on a particular theme related to the practice of poetic medicine.  These include:

  • Why Do I Want to Practice Poetic Medicine?
  • How Do I Hold a Safe and Creative Environment?
  • What Inspires Risk, Experimentation, Honesty of Feeling
  • & Pleasure in Language?
  • The Art of Deep Listening & Attention, Slowing Down & Silence
  • Letting Go of Judgment, Being Curious, Noticing/Nurturing Strengths, Affirming Connections
  • What Not to Do -- How You Can Damage and Shut People Down
  • The Ethics and Boundaries of Poetry as Healer
  • The Place of the Body In Bringing a Poem Alive,
  • Sensing Where Someone Is Through Body Language and Breath
  • Absorbing Poems into Your Marrow and Sharing Them with Others
  • Composing a Poetic Medicine Program for Specific Populations:
  • Selection of Poems, Getting to Know Your Medicine
  • Looking Towards Phase 3:  Arranging for a Practicum
  • Exploring Indigenous Roots of Poetry as Healer
  • Creative Expression: Singing, Art, Dance, Clay,
  • Meditation/Concentration: Ways of Learning to Be an Instrument
  • Going Deeper Still


Phase Three: in-depth learning and practice.

Poetry, welcomed as a healing companion,

turns our attention to what matters most to us.

—John Fox


Focuses on in-depth learning— from direct experience— through the practice of poetry therapy/poetic medicine.

For those who choose to pursue the full course, Phase 3 will begin during the last sessions of Phase 2. There will be guest faculty of mentors selected from various helping fields and professions —persons skilled and practiced in the applications of poetry as healer to their field of practice.  You will have the opportunity to consult with these people and learn directly from their experience and expertise. In some cases you may be able to work directly with them.

Learning and Practice

In the third phase of training, students focus on the practice of poetry therapy / poetic medicine, bringing it to a wide-range of settings.  These settings could include any place or circumstance that will serve people.

Phase 3 work includes:

  • Practicum Work
  • Study
  • Supervision / Mentoring  with John and guest mentors.
  • Three Academic Papers: Self-Reflection, Research, Final Project
  • Attendance at the 4th Colloquium

Guest mentors, who deeply appreciate the usefulness of poetry-as-healer, and who may, in their own way, bring poetry for healing into what they do, they will be available to you for consultation.  John during his career has met and built relationships with these fine teachers and practitioners. They come from the following populations, disciplines and fields of interest:

  • School Children and Educators
  • Cancer/Wellness Care
  • Hospice and Grief Support
  • Veterans
  • People living with AIDS
  • Peace & Justice
  • Ecopsychology and Creativity
  • People with Significant Mental Health and Physical Challenges
  • Medical Students, Physicians and Nurses
  • Pastoral Care
  • Arts-in-Medicine
  • Prison
  • Immigrant Youth
  • Psychotherapist in Private Practice

Download PDF document here that describes Phase 3 in depth.



Certified Training Program

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