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Advanced Candidate Training (ACT)

Advanced Candidate Training (ACT) is an advanced and very focused experience designed to both validate and enhance a candidate’s proficiency in facilitating the Positive Discipline model. The primary goal of the ACT is to explore, improve, and “fine tune” presentation of content and activities, as well as the process of experiential presentation.

Specifically, a small group of Positive Discipline Trainer Candidates (PDTCs) come together with two or more of our Lead Trainers to strengthen their facilitation skills, as well as their knowledge base, in Positive Discipline theory and practice. Consistent with Positive Discipline's values and approach to learning, it is very experiential in nature. ACT is run on the order of an actual Teaching Parenting or Positive Discipline in the Classroom workshop. Attendees serve in the role of facilitator, modeling best practices in PD facilitation.  Each PDTC is responsible for leading one or more “core activities," as well as taking a turn in leading the Parent Helping Parent (or Teacher Helping Teacher) Problem Solving process. Everyone gets lots of practice and both gives and receives extensive and direct feedback. Our experience is that each person learns an enormous amount from listening to and working with each other.
All candidates are expected to have developed a strong knowledge of the Positive Discipline curriculum, theory and facilitation skills prior to attending, so that ACT can serve to "fine tune" their skills and deepen their understanding. To strengthen and support this level of competence, the emphasis is on both giving and receiving extensive feedback. Our intent is that each attendee develops a clear sense of what a quality PD workshop looks like and feels like. The group explores, strives to improve, and gets practice with both the content of the material and the process of experiential presentation – plus, builds a strong collaborative community and has fun throughout the process!

In order to have a strong foundation for working together, PDTCs are encouraged to read a variety of Positive Discipline resources or other sources of Adlerian material, such as Children the Challenge by Rudolf Dreikurs or What Life Could Mean to You by Alfred Adler. A foundation of ACT is developing a clear understanding of how Adlerian principles form the framework for PD activities.

Upon completion of ACT, facilitators make a recommendation to the Board of Directors for certification as a Trainer or work with an individual to develop a plan to strengthen depth of understanding and quality practice.

It is important that candidates understand that attending ACT does not guarantee that an individual will be recommended for certification as a Trainer. Candidates who are not recommended for certification will receive feedback on areas where additional growth is needed, as well as recommendations on how best to attain this. 

If you are uncertain as to whether you are ready take this important step toward certification, please speak to the Executive Director of the PDA. She will arrange for a mentor or connect you with one of the ACT facilitators to explore this further.


The registration fee for this intensive is approximately $700. PDTCs are responsible for their own transportation and accommodations. This event typically lasts 4 days. It is usually held at or near a hotel offering shuttle service to a local airport. Occasionally, depending upon location, PDA members who live nearby have opened their homes to attendees.
Advanced Candidate Training is offered annually at a point where it appears that we have twelve Candidates ready and committed to attend. Historically, this has been in the fall of each calendar year.


You are encouraged to take the following steps as you approach this milestone in the certification process:

  • Notify the PDA at as soon as you begin considering this option.
  • Submit all required materials.
  • Your files will be reviewed to be sure all prerequisites have been completed and documentation received.
  • Work with your mentor or mentor group to ensure that you fully understand all of the core activities and the experiential model.
  • You will be notified as soon as the next Advanced Candidate Training is scheduled.
  • Payment plans can be arranged in advance where necessary.


Please remember, you are welcome -- and encouraged -- to contact the PDA office, your mentor, or any of our Lead Trainers, to discuss any questions or concerns with us personally.


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