Online GAB Instructor Training offers in-depth training for those who want to earn extra income by teaching Guided Autobiography courses. The distance-learning format through the Internet makes live instructor training available to individuals all over the world. Participants write and share their own two-page life stories on GAB themes throughout the 8-week program while learning how to develop, schedule, publicize and run GAB groups within their own communities.


What is Guided Autobiography?

Guided Autobiography (GAB) is a method for helping people document their life stories. Guided by a trained instructor, participants are led through themes and priming questions that evoke memories of events once known but filed away and seemingly forgotten. Each participant writes a story on a particular theme each week, brings the story to class and reads it to a small group of receptive classmates. Writing and sharing life stories with others is an ideal way to find new meaning in life and to put life events into perspective. While connecting with one another on their journeys of self-discovery, participants feel enlivened by the group experience and gain a greater appreciation of their own lives and of the lives of others. GAB can be a powerful catalyst for improved self-esteem, self-confidence and communication within communities and within families.


What will be covered

  • You’ll receive in-depth training on how to conduct your own Guided Autobiography courses. Each class session is 3 hours in length providing you with a total of 24 hours of advanced instruction and group experience.
  • Throughout the program, you will learn by doing. You’ll write a two-page life story on a given theme each week and you’ll read your story out loud to your classmates online.

Upon finishing the GAB Instructor Training Program, you’ll receive a certificate of completion.


Your Instructors

Cheryl Svensson, Ph.D. is an experienced GAB instructor who worked directly with James Birren for many years. Cheryl has taught college courses in the Autobiographical Studies Program at the University of Southern California’s (USC) School of Gerontology. After the training you’ll be well-qualified to teach the proven GAB method that is recognized throughout the world. Cheryl's next class will begin September 19. Contact her for more information:

New GAB Training Instructors

Wendy Bancroft, M.A.  A recent addition to the Birren Center group of GAB Instructor Trainers, Wendy brings some 40 years of experience to her training role having been a journalist with the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, a writer and editor, a documentary filmmaker with her own company, and a senior researcher in two national research organizations. Wendy has been leading groups as a certified GAB Instructor for four years in her home, in the classroom, and online. To learn more about Wendy, visit her website at

Wendy will be holding classes to train others to become GAB Instructors this fall, running for 8 weeks from September 18 to November 6, 3 pm to 6 pm PDT. Wendy takes a maximum of six students in each class, so if demand warrants, there will be a second class. To have your name added to the waiting list for Wendy’s upcoming class and/or talk with Wendy, write to

Flora Morris Brown, Ph.D, will soon begin teaching her own classes to train GAB instructors through the Birren Center. Flora is an author, publishing coach, and Professor Emeritus from Fullerton College. She brings 40 years of teaching, writing, and consulting experience and her love of the transformative power of stories to training GAB facilitators. She is dedicated to helping you use your Guided Autobiography training to create and market profitable workshops locally and globally. Learn more about her training program and sign up to be notified of upcoming sessions at

Online Instruction

The program is provided entirely online, so you will be completing it in the comfort of your own home. Classes will be instructed live through a user-friendly, interactive website. You will simply log onto the website at the appointed time, enter your assigned pin number and you’ll instantly be in class. In the interactive program you’ll be able to ask questions while engaging with the instructor and other students. The class sizes are limited so be sure to sign up early.


Technical Requirements

In order for you to see and hear the instructors and other students, and for them to be able to see and hear you, you will need a few tools.

  • Internet Access: You’ll need a computer with Internet access.
  • Headset: You will need a headset with a microphone.
  • Webcam: Finally, you’ll need a webcam.


What is included with the training?

  • You’ll participate in a comprehensive program comprising 24 hours of instruction by experienced Guided Autobiography instructor Dr. Cheryl Svensson.
  • As a special bonus, you will receive the new DVD: Guided Autobiography in which Dr. James Birren will explain the process and GAB themes. This DVD will be an invaluable resource for you to review the GAB method as explained by the master himself, or for you to show in segments in your own GAB courses.
  • You’ll receive all of the teaching materials used during the 8 sessions of training to be used for teaching your own GAB courses.
  • In addition to the online class time, you’re free to email the instructor with any questions that may arise in between sessions.
  • After you complete your training, the Birren Center will continue to provide support as you launch your own GAB course. This is a valuable resource that is not usually available with most training courses.


What is the cost of the Program?

Our goal is to train instructors so that Guided Autobiography can be made available to as many people as possible. Through our growing network of highly trained GAB instructors, thousands worldwide have experienced the power of writing and sharing their life stories. The tuition for the 8 session Guided Autobiography Instructor Training Program has been set at $450.

Payments may be made safely with a credit or debit card through our secure PayPal service, the largest and most reliable online payment center in the world.


Next Courses

Training classes are ongoing.  Please contact for new class offerings.