Profession Structure Model - Play Therapist Competency Profile

The table of competencies below is an example of a profile for the post of Play Therapist which could be used for: 

  • A basis for a job description
  • Designing a play therapy training programme
  • Setting remuneration scales
  • Assessing performance

The listing of competencies in the profile is first by type of competency and secondly by importance.

In this example an experienced practitioner is required to have:

  • ALL of the mandatory competencies which total 1250 points

At least 11 of the desirable competencies of which: 

  • 5 must relate to techniques (110 points)
  • 4 must relate to conditions (120 points)
  • 2 must relate to settings (60 points)

Optional competencies: Although none of these are required they will add value to the therapist.

Total Points Required: 1600

Remember that is an example, not a definitive statement that will fit all play therapy positions. PTI offers service to employers of play therapy practitioners and training providers to develop a competency profile that best meets the needs of the situation.

Enabling Competencies

Mandatory 100 Establishes a successful therapeutic relationship. (30 points)
101 Applies an understanding of the nature of play (20 points)
102 Applies an understanding of the development of play (10 points)
103 Uses play recognising its Importance to human development (10 points)
104 Works constructively with parents/carers and teachers (30 points)
105 Takes responsibility for physical safety (10 points)
106 Obtains satisfactory police checks (10 points)
107 Uses appropriate materials & equipment (20 points)
120 Works directively when appropriate (30 points)
130 Manages equipment (10 points)
131 Manages stocks of materials (10 points)
132 Manages a play room for therapeutic uses. (15 points)
201 Adapts and applies the therapeutic play continuum (10 points)
203 Applies a theoretical foundation to therapeutic play (30 points)
204 Takes responsibility for child protection issues (30 points)
205 Sets appropriate boundaries (30 points)
206 Encourages the emergence of the inner child (25 points)
207 Uses a non directive approach to play therapy (30 points)
208 Uses non judgemental approach / reflective commenting (30 points)
209 Uses a non Interpretive approach to therapeutic play in the sessions (30 points)
210 Builds a therapeutic alliance with clients , family and network (30 points)
211 Develops and works with appropriate beginnings & endings (30 points)
219 Maintains confidentiality & conforms to the requirements of data protection legislation (30 points)
221 Works within an ethical framework (30 points)
224 Manages the consultation process (30 points)
225 Makes clinical assessments (30 points)
226 Explores case management options (30 points)
300 Agrees a therapeutic contract (30 points)
301 Implements a therapeutic contract satisfactorily (30 points)
302 Renegotiates a therapeutic contract satisfactorily (30 points)
804 Makes informed clinical decisions in respect of clients (30 points)
807 Prepares reports (30 points)
Desirable 111 Uses other materials in play therapy interventions (5 points)
140 Applies a knowledge of psychopharmacology to working with children using play therapy. (25 points)
212 Uses child observation to inform practice (30 points)
214 Takes responsibility for emotional safety (30 points)
216 Contributes to multi agency meetings (25 points)
230 Uses personality type to inform practice (25 points)
231 Uses intelligence types (25 points)

Therapeutic Competencies

Mandatory 108 Uses story telling as a play therapy intervention (25 points)
109 Uses playdough & clay as a play therapy intervention (10 points)
112 Uses drama as a play therapy intervention (20 points)
113 Uses art as a play therapy intervention (25 points)
114 Uses puppets in play therapy interventions (15 points)
116 Uses sandplay as a play therapy intervention (25 points)
118 Uses movement as a play therapy intervention (25 points)
119 Uses creative visualisation as a play therapy intervention (25 points)
161 Uses role playing as a play therapy intervention (15 points)
202 Uses metaphors and symbols to facilitate therapeutic processes (25 points)
420 Uses play therapy interventions for children who are suffering from grief and bereavement. (30 points)
421 Treats Attachment-Trauma problems (30 points)
422 Uses play therapy interventions for children who are facing a terminal illness 
Desirable 110 Uses unconstructed materials in play therapy interventions (15 points)
115 Use games in play therapy interventions (15 points)
117 Uses music as a play therapy intervention (25 points)
156 Uses mud as a play therapy intervention (5 points)
162 Uses ball play as a play therapy intervention (5 points)
213 Uses body psychotherapy methods including relaxation and breathing exercises (25 points)
240 Uses ceremonies and rituals as a play therapy intervention (30 points)
403 Treats learning and communication difficulties (30 points)
405 Treats conduct problems (30 points)
407 Treats attention and over-activity problems (including ADHD) (30 points)
408 Treats fear and anxiety problems (30 points)
410 Treats somatic problems and prepares client for for painful medical and dental procedures. (30 points)
412 Treats mood problems (30 points)
415 Assesses and treats children who have suffered physical abuse (30 points)
416 Assesses and treats children who have suffered emotional abuse and neglect (30 points)
417 Treats children who have suffered sexual abuse (CSA) (30 points)
418 Uses play therapy interventions for children who have to adjust to foster care (30 points)
419 Uses play therapy interventions for children who have to adjust to separation and divorce (25 points)
Optional 150 Uses masks as a play therapy intervention (15 points)
151 Uses costumes as a play therapy intervention (15 points)
152 Uses a telephone as a play therapy intervention (10 points)
153 Uses blocks as a play therapy intervention (5 points)
154 Uses water as a play therapy intervention (5 points)
155 Uses food as a play therapy intervention (5 points)
163 Uses play station games as a play therapy intervention (5 points)
164 Using computer based applications as a play therapy intervention (10 points)
241 Uses ropes, cords and bands as a play therapy intervention (5 points)
401 Treats sleep problems (30 points)402 Treats toileting problems (25 points)
440 Treats families that abuse their children (30 points)

Management Competency

Mandatory 223 Takes responsibility for own personal development and CPD (30 points)

Quality Management Competencies

Mandatory

218 Ensures quality management of therapeutic play activities (30 points)
801 Gathers and maintains information (25 points)
802 Checks and analyses information (25 points)
803 Uses information to analyse practice (30 points)
900 Implements clinical governance procedures (30 points)

Support & Settings Competencies

Desirable 501 Gives evidence as an expert witness in legal proceedings and supports the child witness (25 points)
Optional 510 Practices therapeutic play in a schools setting (25 points)
511 Practices therapeutic play in a hospital setting (25 points)
512 Practices therapeutic play in a primary care setting (25 points)
513 Practices therapeutic play in a care home setting (25 points)
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