Linda Ciotola, M.Ed., TEP ~ My Story and Mission

Even as a child, I was on a mission, driven to discover the fullness of well-being. I danced, acted in theatre, played the piano, read, wrote poetry and as I grew discovered that it was – no, it is – the creative process that holds the power to heal. At the same time, I knew that the body is the battleground, holding the pain of unresolved life stories. This led me to the field of health and fitness – becoming a certified group fitness instructor, personal trainer, and health coach, with a concentration in nutrition and eating disorders.

Then, when I experienced my first psychodrama workshop, I exclaimed, “Psychodrama! Where have you been all my life?!” It was that day that I signed up for training to become a certified psychodramatist. Immersed in this field, I became a board certified trainer-educator-practitioner of psychodrama, sociometry and group psychotherapy as well as a trainer in a specialized psychodramatic trauma treatment method: The Therapeutic Spiral ModelTM. Being faithful to the bodymindheartspirit connection, I earned certification as a yoga instructor and Master Reiki Teacher. In collaboration with professionals from a variety of fields, I have interwoven these modalities to create a unique and wholistic strategy of healing.

linda ciotola, zerka moreno

Linda and Zerka Moreno, 2006 at Zerka’s home in Charlottesville, VA.

As a recipient of the Zerka Moreno Award focused on increasing utilization and awareness of psychodrama, my efforts are now to inspire and mentor others. I am passing on what I have learned through written articles, co-authorship of a book, presentations at workshops and conferences, and I have co-developed a new on line educational series to introduce action methods (ACTS). I am deeply devoted to the words of JL Moreno, the founder of psychodrama, who once said, “No truly therapeutic endeavor can have as its mission anything less than the healing of all humankind.”

Linda and the ACTS team in action

Linda Ciotola, M.Ed., CHES (ret.),TEP, 
Psychodramatist, Workshop Facilitator & Certified Health Education Specialist

Linda CiotolaLinda Ciotola is a Certified TEP: trainer-educator-practitioner of psychodrama, group psychotherapy, and sociometry, and a Certified Health Education Specialist with 40 plus years experience in education, group facilitation, and lifestyle counseling. She is an American Council on Exercise Gold Certified Personal Trainer and ACE Certified Fitness Instructor and Certified Fitness Nutrition Specialist. She holds additional certifications in Yoga, indoor cycling, and as a MindBody specialist. Linda is an ACE Gold Certified Health Coach, as well as a Certified Post-Rehab Fitness Specialist, and IDEA Master Trainer. Linda is a Certified Usui Reiki Master Teacher and Certified Lightarian Reiki Master Practitioner and Interfaith Minister. Her areas of expertise include nutrition, exercise, stress management, trauma, eating disorders, women’s health, body image, mindbody wellness. 

She has designed and taught health and fitness classes at the college level, facilitated eating disorders support groups, and worked in academic, hospital, and community settings as well as private practice. She has presented widely at regional, national and international conferences.

Linda is a master member of I.D.E.A., (The Association of Fitness Professionals), International Association of Eating Disorder Professionals, The American Counseling Association, The National Eating Disorders Association, The American Society of Group Psychotherapy and Psychodrama and The United States Association of Body Psychotherapists. She is a certified trainer-educator-practitioner of group psychotherapy, sociometry, and psychodrama and is an accredited Certified Trainer in the Therapeutic Spiral Model ™ of psychodrama used specifically for working with trauma survivors, and is Co-Leader and Developer of the Therapeutic Spiral Bodyworkshop specifically designed for healing body-based trauma issues, and she is the founder of the Eating Disorders Resource Network.

The Who’s Who of American Women, and the Who’s Who Registry of Business Leaders have honored Linda’s professional work and contributions to her field. IDEA acknowledged her as a Master Trainer, the highest level of recognition in the personal training profession.

What is a “CHES”?

A CHES is a Certified Health Education Specialist, having passed requirements established by the National Commission for Health Education Credentialing, The American Association for Health Education, and The Society for Public Health Education.  A CHES has demonstrated competencies in the designated Seven Areas of Responsibility:

  1. Assess individual and community needs for health education.
  2. Plan health education strategies, interventions, and programs.
  3. Implement health education strategies, interventions, and programs.
  4. Conduct evaluation and research related to health education.
  5. Administer health education strategies, interventions, and programs
 and serves as a health education resource person.
  6. Communicate and advocate for health and health education

 On-going continuing education is required to maintain CHES certification.  Linda Ciotola has been a CHES since 1992.

What is a Body Psychotherapist?

A body psychotherapist sees a person as an essential embodiment of mental, emotional, social, and spiritual life.  Goals of body psychotherapy include conscious integration of alienated aspects of the self, and psycho-somatic integration.

Body psychotherapists work with psychiatric clients; traumatized clients; clients with addictions and/or eating disorders; clients with psycho-somatic symptoms; clients wishing to enhance life skills, relationships, communication skills, or psychosomatic functioning.  The goal is to help clients work toward a greater sense of self-regulation and self-determination.

An atmosphere of safety, mindfulness, mindbodyspirit interactions, attention to in-the-moment experiencing, and respectful pacing are fundamental to this work.

What is a T.E.P.?

A TEP is a certified trainer-educator-practioner of psychodrama, group psychotherapy, and sociometry who has passed rigorous requirements established by the American Board of Examiners in Psychodrama, Sociometry, and Group Psychotherapy including a Master’s Degree in a human relations field, plus several hundred hours of training and supervision in psychodrama, and has passed a comprehensive written examination as well as an on-site exam in action. 

Linda is a fellow of the ASGPP and the 2008 recipient of the prestigious Zerka Moreno Award, given for outstanding contributions in the field of Psychodrama, Sociometry, and Group Psychotherapy by the ASGPP. Click here for Linda’s awards.