Journal to the Self Instructor Certification Training – FAQ


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Click here to download a hard copy file of this FAQ (.pdf).


What is the Journal to the Self Instructor Certification Training (ICT)? 

The ICT prepares committed journal writers all over the world to teach the basic journal workshop that founder Kay Adams created in 1985. We now have instructors in over 35 countries on six continents, including the United Arab Emirates, New Zealand, Singapore and Ukraine, and in nearly every US state and Canadian province. 

What are the requirements to become certified? 

The most important qualification is an awareness of the power of writing in your own life and the desire to share this tool with others. We do require that you have a minimum of two years of consistent journal writing for your own personal growth, creative expression and/or life management, because it’s important that you have an embodied sense of what writing can do and has done in your own writing practice. Beyond that, experience as a facilitator or teacher is useful but not required. You will learn basic group process and facilitation skills in the ICT. 

I’m not a therapist or counselor or social worker. Am I eligible to take the training? 

Absolutely! Kay developed this course before she was a therapist, and about 70% of our instructors are not in counseling-related professions. It is designed to be a fast-paced, lively, fun introduction to lots of different ways to write a journal. The instructor training appeals to people of all walks of life. All of them have in common a passion for bringing the healing art of journal writing to those who want to learn its many benefits and strategies.  

The ICT prepares committed journal writers all over the world to teach the basic journal workshop that founder Kay Adams created in 1985. We now have instructors in over 35 countries on six continents, including the United Arab Emirates, New Zealand, Singapore and Ukraine, and in nearly every US state and Canadian province.  

Logistics of the Instructor Certification Training

How is the program delivered? 

In 2022 we did a major upgrade to the ICT course delivery. Now the entire program is offered on video with Kay Adams teaching two 12-hour (6-week) stages. This offers all the convenience and flexibility of the “old” home-study program with all of the robust lecture material from the ICT 5-day Intensive that, pre-COVID, was offered twice a year in Denver. Now you get all the benefits without the expenses of travel, lodging, meals, and taking a week off of work! 

In Stage 1, Kay teaches the actual Journal to the Self course you’ll be certified to teach, to a group of instructors-in-training. You will take the 12-hour course as if you were in the room, writing in your workbook or journal to the same prompts, for the same amount of time, as the participants. 

In Stage 2, the instructors-in-training return to participate in another 12 hours (6 weeks) of facilitator training. Again, you’ll learn along with the group, writing to the same prompts and for the same amount of time as they do. Stage 2 includes:  

  • the philosophy and logistics of teaching Journal to the Self 
  • basic facilitation and group process skills 
  • a nifty vision & manifestation tool 
  • two marketing segments: 
  • “old school” relationship marketing 
  • social media marketing 
  • how to select and set fees 
  • business planning 
  • how to customize the JTTS curriculum for special populations (creatives, people in transitions, wellness, chronic pain, e.g.)  
  • and much more.  

Upon successful completion of a response paper reviewed by Kay Adams, you’ll be invited into a private coaching session to pick Kay’s brain for any last questions you have about earning back your entire tuition (and more!) in your first two paid classes! 

What is the workbook? 

Every trainee completes the digital Journal to the Self Workbook as part of training. This is the same workbook that your students are asked to purchase. The retail cost is $10. Some instructors prefer to buy multiple digital tokens for their students and charge a $10 materials fee. Most instructors make it known in the marketing materials and/or enrollment process that there will be a $10 workbook required. They provide the student with a link and let them pay for, download and print their own workbooks. (Note that the student does not have to write in the workbook, but it is a necessary accompaniment for the instructional material it contains.) 

Teaching the Journal to the Self Workshop 

What settings do certified instructors offer classes/workshops in? 

Many settings! Yoga studios, bookstores, libraries, wellness centers, church/synagogue/temple community rooms, places of employment, community service programs, adult education settings – the possibilities are diverse. Since 2020, many certified instructors have taught on Zoom, which opens up global reach.   

How many students are in each Journal to the Self workshop? 

This is up to the individual instructor. Typically, for the best group process, we recommend a range of 5-10. The sweet spot for many instructors is 6-8. 

Is there an opportunity in the training to practice teaching? 

We don’t require practice teaching in the training itself. We do prepare new instructors to teach a pilot class (paid or unpaid) after graduation to practice both the content and the process. 

Do instructors make actual money teaching the course? 

Many of our instructors are using their certification to supplement employment or retirement income, and some are creating entire businesses, brands or specialty areas in their existing businesses that focus on Journal to the Self courses. We devote fully 1/3 of the second stage of training to marketing and networking, and we break it down so that even the most aversive marketers can shift mindsets from “selling” to “sharing” a method that has nearly universal benefits for personal growth, creative expression and life management. 

How much can certified instructors make? 

It depends, of course, on the individual instructor. However, in the training you will learn how to earn back your tuition in the first two paid classes. The suggested range that instructors charge per person for each 12-hour Journal to the Self course is $225-375. (If your own market needs a lower or higher price, we’ll show you how to navigate to your right price.) At a mid-range of $300 per person, you would earn back all of your tuition with your first 7 or 8 paid students. 

Can I adapt the Journal to the Self content to include my own processes? Can I create my own course derived from Journal to the Self? 

As to adapting the course to include an instructor’s own material: The Journal to the Self workshop is a robust branded curriculum that requires every minute of the 12 hours to teach all the content and facilitate all the experiential work. Thus, no additional material can be added. However, your Journal to the Self audiences are now warmed up and ready for your own original journal groups, in which you can feature your own curricula.  

As to creating your own course: We encourage creation of your own follow-on workshops in your own style and for your own particular specialties. However, the Journal to the Self workshop is a trademarked curriculum and the intellectual property of the Center for Journal Therapy, and thus cannot be used as the inspiration for another basic how-to-write-a-journal course. Many instructors use Journal to the Self as a springboard to their own creative process that is unique to them and their own branded material.  

Keeping this trademarked brand robust and clear across nearly four decades ensures that any student in any class taught by a certified instructor receives the same content and the same quality of training. When using the curriculum as presented in the facilitator manual, customization for the basic course comes organically as each instructor brings their own personality, stories, and experiences to the group. Also, in  Stage 2 you will learn how to customize the basic curriculum for specific demographics (e.g. cancer patients, creatives, etc.) 

Do instructors ever offer individual sessions? 

Some, particularly coaches and therapists, do offer individual sessions. Most instructors, though (including the ones who also do private sessions) use the group experience more than they do individual work because of the power of community. As the poet Rilke noted, “There is nothing so wise as a circle.” 

Do health coaches take this course? 

Coaches of many specialties take the instructor training and find that it adds new dimensions of client engagement and success. 


What is the cost of the training?  

The Journal to the Self Instructor Certification Training is $2250 for a two-year certification to teach the branded workshop anywhere in the world, face-to-face or on Zoom or another digital platform. All instructors are coached on how to earn back their full tuition in their first one or two paid classes. Your support materials include: 

  • 24 hours of video training with master teacher and founder of the method, Kay Adams 
  • A step-by-step teaching manual with everything from timing to talking points outlined for you 
  • A customizable marketing brochure and business card  
  • A marketing plan for your first year 
  • A 1:1 coaching call with Kay  
  • A global community of certified instructors 
  • Bimonthly certified instructor Town Halls on Zoom, with video access to all prior Town Halls 
  • A library of customized curricula, with new curricula added each quarter  
  • Certification to teach the program anywhere in the world (or on Zoom or another video platform) for two years  
  • Recertification at affordable rates every two years 

Do you offer a payment plan? 

Yes. Please reach out to our program manager, Kendra Johnson. 

Is there a contract to sign? 

We do ask that you sign a document that is more of an agreement than a contract. It defines the scope of our relationship and what we ask of all certified instructors. Because the Journal to the Self workshop is a brand, it must have consistency in content. All instructors are encouraged to bring their own personalities and life experiences to the teaching role while remaining true to the content of the Journal to the Self workshop. In no way do we mean to limit anyone’s practice or trade. However, we  ask that there be compliance with the intellectual property boundaries we have set. 

Next Steps 

How do I apply? Is there an application fee? 

There is no application fee. Download the application here, and give it thoughtful attention. When you are complete, email it as a PDF to Kendra Johnson. Applications can take up to ten business days to be reviewed and approved (almost are done within five business days). 

Can I apply the hours toward the Certified Journal Therapist (or Facilitator) credential should I decide to continue on to the Therapeutic Writing Institute? 

Absolutely! In fact, this training is required for the Certified Journal Facilitator or Certified Journal Therapist credential, so if you take it prior to application for TWI, you’re ahead of the game. 

For Licensed Therapists, Counselors, Social Workers  

Is continuing education available for counselors or therapists who take the instructor certification training? 

Yes. The Center for Journal Therapy is an approved continuing education provider (ACEP® 5782) of the National Board of Certified Counselors (NBCC). If you are an LPC, LMHC or similar licensure, you should be covered. Many social work boards also accept NBCC continuing education; check with your licensing board. The entire course carries 24 hours of continuing education. 


I am a mental health therapist with an active license. Can I teach the Journal to the Self course to other therapists for continuing education?  

It would depend on your state licensing boards’ provisions, but in general, yes. If you have CE provider status, you would need to comply with your organization’s protocols. If you want to piggy-back on the Center for Journal Therapy’s provider status, we can accommodate that so long as you follow the protocols we provide for compliance with NBCC’s requirements. 

Other questions?  

I have a question that isn’t answered here. 

Please reach out to Journal to the Self program manager Kendra Johnson, who can be reached at with JTTS FAQ in the subject line. 

Thank you for your interest in the Journal to the Self Instructor Certification Training! We look forward to offering you a quality educational experience.