BCTA/NA Approved Teacher Criteria and Application

The Approved Teacher Application and required supporting documents are available as printable PDF forms:

Approved Teacher Application Form
Skills Self-Assessment Form

Student Evaluation Form

Approval Criteria

In April 2000, the Board of Directors of the Biodynamic Craniosacral Therapy Association of North America (BCTA/NA) approved basic criteria for approving teachers in the Biodynamic method of Craniosacral Therapy.

Refinement of these criteria by the Teaching Community is an important part of the process as our organization grows and matures. The refined criteria represent a guide for future teachers. The criteria also serve to facilitate the mentoring process between previously approved teachers and their Teacher Trainee.

In the craniosacral therapy community, the terms Biodynamic Craniosacral Therapy and Craniosacral Biodynamics are used interchangeably.  Biodynamic Craniosacral Therapy will be used throughout this document.

The fundamental principle we follow in the BCTA/NA is the Breath of Life and the unfoldment of the creative impulse as a potency both in our individual students and the organization as a whole. To that end, the Teaching Community is dedicated to:

  1. holding the teacher-student relationship as primary,
  2. creating highly competent practitioners of biodynamic craniosacral therapy,
  3. promoting study and research that supports our understanding of the Breath of Life — the mystery of the Divine found in and around each of us that creates our unique incarnation.

In the sections below, each of the BCTA/NA criteria is discussed in detail. These are intended to be met in keeping with the spirit of the criteria while allowing the mentor to create some variation as needed.  The teacher’s understanding of the Standards for Practitioner Competencies of the BCTA/NA is an integral part of the skills necessary to convey the standards to students. Teachers of biodynamic craniosacral therapy maintain a set of goals based on the unity of mind, body, and spirit as experienced in the present moment.

These goals are to:

  • Maintain a focus on the Breath of Life as primary
  • Encourage the intuitive, imaginative and spiritual capabilities of the student.
  • Explore the ability to shift perception from analytical to self-reflective thinking.
  • Maintain the classroom as a sacred space that contains and nurtures the inner growth of the student.
  • Increase the capacity of students to deepen their awareness of basic biodynamic principles while acknowledging current models of neurobiology.
  • Create an expanded concept of health and healing as seen across cultures.
  • Provide the space to safely explore and hold the polarities of science and wholism, illness and health, spirit and matter, etc.

Numerous skills accompany these goals. They include, but are not limited to:

  • Classroom management skills including the ability to help student’s process their experience
  • Cognitive and interpersonal skills that include a high sociability with both students and staff and the ability to be self-reflective and nonjudgmental.
  • The ability to explicate the underlying beliefs and expectations in the Standards of Practice.
  • To encourage the awareness and need for self-regulation or containment, especially emotionally and behaviorally.
  • To reduce re-traumatization from touch and intimacy issues that frequently arise in students.
  • The ability to apply strategies for learning and to honor different learning styles; this includes equivalent demonstrations of learning when necessary.

BCTA/NA Guidelines for Education

As part of the application process, each applicant entering a teacher training program with a BCTA/NA approved teacher, the applicant is required to submit a “Letter of Intent” to apprise the BCTA/NA of their intention and why they are interested in becoming a BCTA/NA approved teacher. Also, the applicant will sign a letter of agreement to comply with the BCTA/NA guidelines for education in establishing his/her own training program. 

1. Certification training consists of 700 hours, divided as follows:

  • Classroom instruction: 350 hours
  • Sessions performed on practice clients outside of class. Practice clients are nonfee-paying clients; one session equals one hour of work: 150 hours
  • Sessions received from a registered craniosacral therapist: 10 hours. Students may receive their sessions from any RCST®. It is recommended that students receive sessions from at least three different RCST® practitioners. When receiving sessions from the teaching team, the session provider will acknowledge the dual relationship.
  • Independent project such as a research paper or equivalent demonstration of learning: 40 hours
  • Required independent study (reading, drawing, etc): 150 hours

2. Class pre-requisites and student to teaching staff ratio

  • There must be a BCTA/NA Approved Teacher in the classroom at all times for graduates to be eligible to apply for RCST® membership
  • Each training is limited to a maximum of 30 students. This requirement ensures not only the safety but also the quality of the learning experience for each of the students
  • The required student to teaching staff ration is 5 to 1
  • To be considered a viable training that qualifies for teaching assistantship certification or Teacher Training certification, a training must have no less than 6 students

3. The requirement for Teaching Assistants: Teaching assistants must have graduated from a foundation training of an approved teacher of the BCTA/NA and be an RCST® in good standing before the start of a new Foundation Training.

In exceptional situations, a foundation course may not be able to comply with BCTA/NA  Guidelines for Education at the start of the training. If an approved teacher’s course is unable to comply, a written request for exemption may be submitted to the Board of  Directors. The exemption request will include the particular exemption, reason for exemption, the plan and timeline to become compliant with the Guidelines, course location and dates. Each request will be considered on its own merits and responded to within 60 days.

4. The requirement for Teacher Trainee: Teacher Trainees are to receive supervision as needed. Their basic requirement is the same as Teaching Assistant. Plus, submission of “Letter of Intent” at the beginning of Teacher Training, participation in curriculum development for the overall course and each teaching module, supervised teaching with formal feedback from the mentor and other members of the teaching team, a minimum of at least seven presentations is required; ideally the Teacher Trainee will do a portion of teaching in each module.

5. The requirement for Teachers: Teachers are to receive supervision as needed. Their basic requirement is the same as RCST®’s.

6. A student is encouraged to stay with the training they started. This guideline supports the psychological safety and trust of the entire group. When a student needs to switch to a different training because of individual reasons, this must be done in a way that supports both the students in the training and the individual being integrated.

7. All courses shall be organized and taught in accordance with the Standards for Practitioner Competencies and the Code of Ethics of the BCTA/NA.


1. Submit a Letter of Intent to BCTA/NA

2. Graduation from a BCTA/NA Approved Biodynamic Craniosacral Therapy Program (700 hours), in the presence of a BCTA/NA Approved Teacher

3. In order to apply to be an approved teacher, you must be an RCST® in good standing.

4. Develop a Biodynamic Craniosacral Therapy Clinical Practice (3 years).
As part of the application process, the applicant must state on the honor of their word that they have completed a minimum of three years of clinical practice that averages at least 5 sessions a week or totals at least 700 sessions. This practice requirement starts upon graduation from their basic certification program. It may be completed during teaching assistantship and service as a Teacher Trainee, as described below.

5. Teaching Assistantship (700 hours). Applicants must participate as a teaching assistant in a complete training program taught by a BCTA/NA approved teacher. This represents a second full training for the applicant. The assistant receives mentoring and supervision from the teacher and/or other qualified persons during team meetings throughout the entire length of the training. Guidelines for the Teaching Assistantship include 100% classroom attendance, full attendance at teaching team meetings, review of student homework, and co-facilitating small tutorial groups.

6. Teacher Trainee Experience (700 hours). Applicants must participate as a Teacher Trainee in a second complete training taught by a BCTA/NA approved teacher. This represents a third training cycle for the applicant. This phase as a Teacher Trainee includes teaching of the material with direct supervision, regular contact with a mentor, and assisting in curriculum development. A teacher trainee may begin this phase of their training after they have completed at least half of their teaching assistantship (see #3 above). Guidelines for the Teacher Trainee Experience include all the activities in which the Teaching Assistant engages, plus participation in curriculum development for the overall course and each teaching module, and supervised teaching with formal feedback from the mentor and other members of the teaching team. A minimum of at least seven presentations is required; ideally, the Teacher Trainee will do a portion of teaching in each module.

7. Approved Mentorship. The Teacher Trainee must be in a mentoring/supervision relationship at all levels of their training and preparation for approval. The mentor acts as a guide through the Standards of Practitioner Competencies and Code of Ethics and helps the Teacher Trainee establish the discipline necessary to unfold the material in its implicit psychological, emotional, physical and spiritual dimensions. This requires discipline to navigate the various layers inherent in biodynamic craniosacral therapy. From the onset, the mentor and the Teacher Trainee mutually agree on a specific set of goals. The mentor must also explore the question, “Why me?” What qualities do I embody that the Teacher Trainee is most seeking to learn? Teaching biodynamic craniosacral therapy is both an art and a craft, a learned skill. Through the various levels of the above-mentioned training, the BCTA/NA recognizes that a Teacher Trainee may form different mentoring relationships and receive supervision from more than one source. Supervision and mentoring shifts to one primary mentor as the Teacher Trainee moves closer to approval status.

The Application Process
(Applicant must be an RCST® member in good standing with the BCTA/NA)

1.  Entering the teacher training program submission of a “Letter of Intent”:  Each applicant at the beginning of their teacher training program is required to submit a “Letter of Intent” to keep the BCTA/NA apprised of their intention to become a teacher and why they are interested in becoming a BCTA/NA approved teacher. 

2.  Mentor/Supervisor Recommendation. Applicant must request a letter from their primary mentor/supervisor who is an approved BCTA/NA teacher. This letter from the mentor must clearly state they believe the candidate has met all of the BCTA/NA requirements for teacher approval, and give unequivocal support for the applicant to become an approved teacher. The mentor plays a crucial role in the approval process for applicants. The mentor evaluates the applicant’s ability to teach, not only in regards to craniosacral therapy but any other life and/or career experience that may complement any of the criteria for approval. The mentor creates a composite picture of the applicant for the Teacher Approval Committee based upon documentation submitted by the Teacher Trainee. As part of the composite picture of the applicant, the mentor is expected to ensure the applicant’s understanding of the Standards of Practitioner Competencies and Code of Ethics.

3.  Student Feedback Forms. After Applicants have completed at least seven (7) mentor supervised curriculum presentations during class, applicants are expected to gather and submit Confidential Student Feedback Forms (as provided the BCTA/NA Admin) with their Teacher Application.  These forms are to be completed by all students under the applicant’s teaching. The number of forms submitted to the committee must equal the total number of students in the class and be accompanied by the class roster and location of the class. Students are not required to put their names on the evaluation form and these forms do remain confidential. If a student does not wish to fill out a form, that must be noted on the roster.

Printable PDF version of the Student Evaluation Form
Student Evaluation Form
4.  Skills Self-Assessment. Each applicant must also complete a Skills Self-Assessment Form. The assessment forms ask applicants to rate themselves on a scale of 1-5. The bulk of the Skills Self Assessment Form is an evaluation of each of the major competencies within the Standards of Practitioner Competencies of the BCTA/NA. This is a confidential self-assessment of the applicant’s ability across a broad spectrum of skills necessary in teaching biodynamic craniosacral therapy. It is not intended as a test of one’s ability, but rather an instrument that shows where assistance may be needed in the growth and development of the applicant’ s teaching career. The Teacher Approval Committee acknowledges that teaching and the skills necessary to manage a classroom full of adult learners takes many years to master and is a lifelong learning process.

Printable PDF version of the Skills Self-Assessment form
Skills Self-Assessment Form
5.  Completed Teacher Approval Application

Printable PDF version of the application form
Approved Teacher Application Form

6.  Teacher Application Checklist
 – With the exception of the Letter of Intent submitted a the beginning of TT training, all items must be submitted at one time.                                                                  

1.  Before entering a TT program submission of a “Letter of Intent” 
2.  Current RCST® member in good standing
3.  Mentor/Supervisor Written Recommendation
4.  Student Feedback Forms
5.  Skills Self-Assessment
6.  Completed Teacher Approval Application

The Approved Teacher Application and all supporting documentation should be submitted to Pam Hower, BCTA/NA Administrator a the address listed below. There is a $100 non-refundable fee  for processing your application.

To pay the $100 processing fee by check (U.S. banks only), please enclose your check (with the notation ‘New Teacher application fee’) with your application. Or, if you wish to pay the application fee online by credit card, please click here.

Mailing Address:
11006 Connally Lane
Raleigh, NC  27614

If you  have any questions regarding any aspect of the application process, please contact BCTA/NA Administrator, Pam Hower by email, or phone: 239-206-6078.

Please note:  The BCTA/NA Teacher Approval Committee (TAC) may take up to 45 days after all required documents have been received, to process the application and send their recommendation to the BCTA/NA Board of Directors. The Board will vote on applications during the next scheduled monthly Board meeting.  A TAC member will expediently notify the applicant of the results.  

After approval, the newly Approved Teacher will remit the financial difference between $140 RCST membership and the $225 Teacher membership ($85.00 US).

To pay the $85 membership change fee online by credit card, please click here. To pay by check (U.S. banks only), please a send your check (with the notation ‘Change Membership to Teacher’) to:

11006 Connally Lane
Raleigh, NC 27614

All Approved Teachers are required to:
1. Remain a BCTA/NA RCST® member in good standing
2. Follow The BCTA/NA Guidelines for Education and Standards of Practitioner Competencies.
3. Adhere to The BCTA/NA Code of Ethics
4. Debrief a minimum of one hour with the entire teaching team at the end of each training module in the 700-hour training.
5. It is strongly recommended that teachers regularly attend the biennial BCTA/NA Breath of Life Conferences and teacher meetings.
The purpose of the teacher meetings are:
     a) to hold executive meetings to process issues in the association
     b) to offer classes to Teacher Trainees and all approved teachers on the latest
         innovations in biodynamic craniosacral and it’s teaching and practice
     c) to network each other’s teaching materials including required and recommended
         reading, teaching aids, handouts and audio/visual materials
     d) to review and support each others’ curriculum and syllabi.
6. Remain in email contact with the organization.
7. If possible, attend the bi-annual approved teacher’s meetings.