Procedure and Criteria for Fellow

Professional Training guidelines of the International Society for Bonding Psychotherapy
approved by the ISBP Board meeting 06/06/2013.

Fellow and Institute Fellow.

I. Prerequisites

II. Training phases:

  1. Self-experience
  2. Assistant group leader
  3. Supervised independent practice
  4. Theory

III. Primary sponsor and training contract IV. Credentials Committee

V. Completion of professional training and certification as fellow of the ISBP national chapter.

I. Prerequisites

The training in B.P. offers three tracks.

Track one (Fellow):

Entrance requirements:

  1. A minimum of a Masters level university degree in a relevant major: medicine, psychology, education, social sciences (social work, etc.), theology, etc.
  2. A complete basic training in psychotherapy.

Track one candidates bring a professional background that basically fulfills the ECP criteria (pts.4.1 thru If the candidate fulfills most but not all of the ECP criteria, the TF should guide him/her to augment where necessary.

During the professional training it must be possible to exercise B.P. in practice and combined with continuous supervision.

Track two (Fellow):

Entrance requirements:

  1. A minimum of a Bachelors level university degree (or the equivalent) in a relevant field (see above).
  2. Some basic training in psychotherapy.

Track two candidates bring some of the ECP requirements (e.g. a three year university degree, some basic knowledge regarding psychotherapy in general). The T.F. supports the trainee to augment those elements missing from the ECP standards, in part through curriculum and therapy possibilities within BP, and in part through external courses and reading/study assignments.

During the professional training it must be possible to exercise B.P. in practice and combined with continuous supervision.

Track three (Institute Fellow):

Entrance requirements:

1. A professional context enabling the practice of B.P. under direction of a responsible psychotherapist – if possible a certified B.P. therapist.

Track three trainees are candidates for the status Institutional Fellow. They accept that this status allows them to do B.P. only within a context where a recognized psychotherapist has the professional responsibility for the therapy. As a rule this would happen within a clinical context (therefore the term institute fellow).

II. Phases of the training

The basic requirements for training will depend on the entry level of the candidate; in general, candidates in tract 2 and 3 are required to complete a greater number of training hours.

All the following hours of training are seen as the minimal necessary for recognition as Fellow or Institute Fellow, and the T.F. can require the trainee to do more hours in any area that the T.F. deems necessary. Ideally, the T.F. and the candidate will develop a collaborative working relation, so that both the T.F. and the trainee agree on what is necessary for the trainee to acquire competency as a B.P.-Therapist.

Curriculum for track 1 candidates:

  1. Self-experience in Bonding (specify mat work, attitude work, …) groups: 150-250 hours minimum.
  2. Experience as assistant or co-therapist in B.P. groups: 80 hours minimum, with parallel supervision.
  3. Leading B.P. groups as the primary therapist (this may be in conjunction with a peer co-therapist): 60 hours minimum, with parallel supervision.
  4. B.P. specific theory: 60 hours minimum (at any time).

Curriculum for track 2 and tract 3 candidates:

  1. Self-experience in Bonding groups: 200-250 hours minimum.
  2. Experience as assistant or co-therapist in B.P. groups: 120 hours minimum, with parallel supervision.
  3. Leading B.P. groups as the primary therapist (this may be in conjunction with a peer co-therapist): 90 hours minimum, with parallel supervision.
  4. B.P . specific theory: 60 hours minimum.
  5. (Only track 2 candidates) General theory of psychotherapy as needed, with external courses and reading/study assignments. The candidate could be supported to increase his/her basic knowledge in, e.g., the areas of psychopathology and diagnosis, psychodynamic theory, theory and practice of group therapy, etc.

As an assistant and as primary therapist, the candidate is to gain experience in all aspects
of B.P. The T.F. will supervise and guide the candidate in all relevant areas, including attaining competency in, but not limited to, the following:

  • Intervention and support for clients in the bonding exercise (mat work) and in the attitude group.
  • Questions concerning the contextual issues in B.P., how to ensure an environment of safety, etc.
  • General supervision questions concerning interventions for particular clients/patients, special client/patient groups (such as addicts, traumatized persons, etc.), case supervision, dealing with different therapeutic contexts (workshops, ongoing groups, institutions, etc.).

In agreement with the primary sponsor, working with or serving as an assistant to other T.F.s or experienced Fellows can be accredited as well (see III below, “second recommendation”).

To ensure sufficient flexibility for both – candidates as well as teachers – the phases of training can overlap; e.g. it is possible for a training candidate to start with assistance while they are still in advanced self-experience. The theory can be acquired at any time during the training.

III. Primary sponsor and professional training contract

When beginning the assistant phase of the professional training, at the latest, the candidate is to conclude a training contract formally and in written form with one of the Teaching Fellows of the national chapter. If not already, the candidate at this point becomes a member of the national chapter. He thereby gains the formal status of “Member in Training“.

With this training contract the Teaching Fellow becomes the „primary sponsor“ of the candidate. The function of the primary sponsor is to support the candidate in all areas relevant to the practice of B.P. This includes acquiring a high degree of professional competence, as well as maintaining a professional and ethical attitude towards clients, patients and colleagues.

It is the duty of the primary sponsor to present the candidate to the Credentials Committee (see IV below).

At the end of the training, the primary sponsor writes a recommendation for the candidate for certification as B.P. Fellow, which is submitted to the national Credentials Committee.

This recommendation is a written statement from the Teaching Fellow that he/she considers the candidate to be sufficiently prepared to practice B.P. on their own. The contents of the recommendation is to include an exact description of the context and the process of the professional training under the primary sponsor (number of hours of self- experience, theory, assistance, hours of practice as leader of B.P. sessions, hours and type of supervision).

Furthermore, the primary sponsor is to confirm that the personal therapy of the candidate is completed in such a way, that he/she is able to do therapeutic work responsibly.

In addition to the recommendation of a primary sponsor, the candidate also needs the recommendation of a second Teaching Fellow (second sponsor). If a second T.F. is not available, with the permission of the Credentials Committee, an experienced Fellow may function as second sponsor. The second sponsor evaluates the professional and personal competence of the training candidate. In order for the second sponsor to submit his/her recommendation, it is advised that the candidate does part of their training with this other Teaching Fellow (or nominated Fellow) as well.

IV. Credentials Committee

The Credentials Committee of each national chapter consists of at least three members. All members of the Credentials Committee are Teaching Fellows or other senior B.P. therapists.

The Credentials Committee supervises and supports the primary sponsor during the training of the candidate. As soon as possible after conclusion of the training contract, at the latest before the end of phase 1 (i.e. before beginning of phase 2), the primary sponsor will introduce the training candidate to the Credentials Committee.

The Credentials Committee in close communication with the sponsors decides on all exceptions, e.g. on whether the candidate fulfills the prerequisites for entering training (see above I), whether exceptions to the prerequisites for training can be accepted, which if any exceptions can be made to the minimal curriculum, etc.

The Credentials Committee can give recommendations to the primary sponsor about what measures could be reasonable for their training candidate to close potential gaps in experience or knowledge (e.g. participation in courses on diagnostics, on transference phenomena, work in the addiction area, etc.).

V. Completion of the professional training (certification)

Completion of the professional training and certification includes the following:

  1. Recommendation of the main sponsor.
  2. Second recommendation of the second sponsor.
  3. An interview between the candidate and the representatives of the Credentials Committee.

This interview allows the members of the Credentials Committee to gain a general impression of the professional and personal qualifications of the candidate in regard to the practice of B.P.

The candidate must know the ethical guidelines of the I.S.B.P. and must be capable to discuss ethical questions and their resolutions. He/she must be able to describe the context and framework of their work with B.P. and must have knowledge of the legal issues in the context of their work situation.

Based on the recommendations of the two sponsors and the interview, the Credentials Committee gives a recommendation for or against certification.

This recommendation is submitted to the executive board of the national chapter, who then confirm the decision of the Credentials Committee. With a positive confirmation, the candidate is awarded recognition as Fellow or Institute Fellow.