Certificate Training Program

The Practice of Poetry as Healer

cohort 2019

The Poetic Medicine Training Program is designed for a wide range of people interested in using poetic medicine for themselves, as well as bringing this healing art to others, meeting the therapeutic needs of individuals and communities. This practice of poetic medicine serves as a catalyst for spiritual, mental, emotional, and physical well-being.

The training program draws from a lineage of practitioners and a practice that includes clinical and indigenous perspectives of "poetry as healer." The Institute's Founder, John Fox, brings 40 years of experience. He has taught in a variety of graduate programs, and made ground-breaking written contributions to the field. The training program's structure and content was developed by John, with the support of IPM Board members and IPM's national network with people working in the field of poetic medicine.

In 2020, John invited Cyra Dumitru, a graduate of the first PM cohort, to co-teach in the training. She brings decades of experience teaching creative writing in a wholistic way. Sparked by her Poetic Medicine practicum work, Cyra created and sustains successful poetry therapy programs in San Antonio, Texas. Building on the original curriculum John created, Cyra is contributing significantly to the growing, breathing structure of the training."

Together, John and Cyra mentor students through this 3 phase training program and into their professional practice.  Phase 1 is dedicated to personal work within the cohort, using Poetic Medicine as our working text. Phase 2 emphasizes best practices in poetic medicine. Phase 3 is the academic and practicum stage-taking Poetic Medicine out into the world.  

Phase 1 is dedicated to personal work within the cohort. Phase 2 emphasizes best practices in poetic medicine. Phase 3 is the academic and practicum stage-taking Poetic Medicine out into the world.

A deep range of guest mentors are available to students in Phase 3 that apply to fields of medicine, education, psychology, pastoral & hospice care, social action, cancer support, grief work, earth & indigenous wisdom and contemplative practice.

This distance-learning/low-residency program includes on-line classes about every 3 weeks and 4 in-person colloquiums throughout the 3 phases of the training. We meet at lovely retreat centers in Menlo Park, California and San Antonio, Texas.


We are not currently accepting applications.
If you are interested or have questions about this program, please reach out.

We invite the inquiries of all who feel this course would benefit them personally and/or professionally

Tuition: $4,000 for each phase

Tuition can be paid in 3 or 4 installments. We offer scholarships and work/study programs for those who need financial aid.
Please be sure to indicate this in the application request form.


The Scholarship Fund

Help us train and empower the next generation of Poetic Medicine Practitioners!

Our students, graduates and poetry partners are already sharing their skills and gifts with the world. They provide a therapeutic experience in the transformative power of poetry for: at-promise youth, people who are unhoused, immigrant and refugee youth, prisons, mental health community programs, spiritual centers, hospitals, university counseling centers, women who have experienced domestic abuse and sexual violence, and Veterans. 

In each place we go, we witness how the life-affirming act of reading, hearing, writing and speaking poetry transforms lives and shapes a new kind of community based on equity, deep listening, intuition, inclusion and caring: the kind of authentic connection we most need.

The training program is bearing abundant fruit! IPM is extending this healing work well-beyond its founder, John Fox, by empowering others with poetic medicine tools and teachings that can be replicated. While we believe it is essential that people have a direct experience in the practice of "poetic medicine," we advocate that students make this practice their own, i.e. embody their own unique way of working. 

Some of our qualified students do not have the financial capacity to pay for their Certification in Poetic Medicine and with your help we can provide them with scholarships. We are seeking donations of all sizes, every contribution large or small helps!

We also welcome pledges of $500-$1,000 per year, over 3 years. If we receive 4 - 8 pledges over 3 years, we will be able to provide 1 - 2 full and/or partial scholarships!

Please consider this: You will be making a difference in mending the fabric of our country and our world.  
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P.O. Box 60189, Palo Alto, CA 94306