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Certificate Play Therapy Training Courses

The PTI accredited Certificate in Therapeutic Play course is being run in an increasing number of countries. This is the course for you if you wish to start working therapeutically with children, or are already doing so but do not have a full set of ‘play therapy tools’. It is also designed for those who are counselling children using ‘talking therapy’ skills and wish to add the use of creative arts therapies to their practice. Four big advantages of this PTI accredited course is that it is:


Covering the main therapeutic play approaches – the “Play Therapy Tool-Kit (TM)”

Competency based

On the rigorous PTI International Standards, including the competencies required for this level of practice


Rather than attend a number of different, disjointed training days, which have a narrow specialist focus you will benefit seeing how the different approaches may be integrated Consistent Wherever you undertake the course you may be assured that the content and learning methods are the same. If you decide to continue to the Diploma course to obtain the skills to become a PTI Certified Play Therapist and undertake this next stage of training in another country or venue you will be joining others who have had the same training.

The post graduate course is designed for anyone with experience of children or adolescents, who either works or intends to work therapeutically with them including:

  • Counsellors
  • Psychotherapists
  • Clinical Psychologists
  • Primary School Teachers/Assistants
  • Nurses
  • Nursery School Teachers/Assistants
  • Social Workers & Clinical Social Workers
  • Play School Teachers/Assistants
  • Care Home Staff
  • Adoption/Foster Agency Workers
The course has been designed to:

  • Enhance your career/professional skills
  • Increase your satisfaction in working with children
  • Give you the skills to help children develop their emotional literacy
  • Give you the skills to alleviate behaviour and mental health problems
  • Assist your own personal development
  • Provide you with the Profession Structure Model competencies defined by PTI to work with individual children who have slight to moderate problems

The Certificate course is the first part of programme leading to an MA in Practised Based Play Therapy.

It may be undertaken as a ‘stand alone’ course.

This course is at stage 2 of the PTI four stage training model.


An Enlightened Approach To Coping With Childrens Difficulties

The course is unique in integrating both non directive and directive approaches to play therapy. The programme content is based upon the theory and practice of humanistic psychology, particularly that of Virginia Axline (“Dibs In Search of Self”), and Carl Rogers and the gestalt play therapy approach of Violet Oaklander. It recognises contributions made by others in the 20th century such as Mark Barnes, John Bowlby, Margaret Lowenfeld, Donald Winnicott, Rachel Pinney etc. Opportunities for meditation and all forms of creativity enrich the contents of the course.

The lives of children in the present day are highly regulated and controlled. Non-directive play therapy offers a child the opportunity of making choices and taking responsibility for them; expressing him/herself freely; being accepted unconditionally; having his/her deepest feelings respected and accepted. For these reasons their play is not interpreted and no judgements are made. Such freedoms may only be obtained by the provision of a strong framework.

Therefore the adult takes responsibility for the safety of the child, themselves and the environment. Within these constraints, the child has complete freedom to choose. Time boundaries are also considered to be important thus adding a sense of security by adhering to beginnings and ends. In this way the time within a session becomes timeless and the child’s imagination is set free to explore and recreate his/her experiences and to create and make his/her own world.

There are, however, a number of cases where the non directive needs to be complemented by other approaches. For example working with terminally ill, bereaved, autistic children in organisational settings and short term work. The main items in the ‘Play Therapy Tool-Kit’ are taught and put into practice.

Course Structure

Module Descriptors – (The sequence and content may vary slightly from course to course)

  • Module 1 – Course Introduction; Starting to Work Therapeutically With Children; The Therapeutic Play Continuum; Creative Visualisation; Setting Up to Practice; Pharmacology
  • Module 2 – Music Skills for Working With Individuals and Attachment theory
  • Module 3 – Storytelling & Puppetry Skills for Use With Individual Children; Comparison of Theoretical Models of Psychotherapy
  • Module 4 – Sand play skills for working with individuals and related theory; the Use of Natural Materials; Child Development Theory (1); Art Therapy for Individuals
  • Module 5 – Dance and Movement skills for working with individuals; Student presentations; Endings

Learning Methods

The course is divided into 5 modules as shown above. Participants will learn through working with other members of the course about the roles and responsibilities of the therapeutic relationship. There will be tutorials on theory but formal teaching and lecturing will be kept to an essential minimum.

Learning will be experiential and collaborative using pair, group work, role-play and case presentations. Homework reading and other assignments will provide new information and consolidation of material from the experiential work encountered within the modules. Assignments will discussed during the following module.


APACPTUKPTCPTirl have permanent training centres in Canada, France, Ireland and the United Kingdom.

These courses are also run according to demand in other countries.


Successful participants will receive two awards:

  • Professional: PTI/PTUK Certificate in Therapeutic Play Skills
  • Academic: (if registered with Leeds Beckett University); Post Graduate Certificate of Therapeutic Play Skills with 60 ‘M’ points

15 days consisting of 5 x 3 day modules (Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays) spread over 7 – 9 months. Alternatively as a 15 day intensive course at the Summer School in La Mouline, South of France and in Hong Kong , Sydney, Australia, Hamilton , New Zealand and Ireland

Learning Objectives

The overall purpose is to enable participants to practice safely and effectively using therapeutic play skills in a variety of settings to provide emotional support to individual children for slight to moderate problems. Upon successful completion of the course each participant will have gained:

  • A sound understanding of the principles underlying play therapy and the appropriate use of techniques – the play therapy tool-kit
  • Practical skills for running therapeutic play sessions with individual children
  • An ability to assess children’s needs and organise the provision of therapeutic play facilities
  • An appreciation of the ethical issues
  • Increased confidence in using therapeutic play with children and adolescents
  • The counselling, therapeutic and practical skills to enable you to carry out therapeutic play
  • An understanding of the ethical considerations
  • Awareness of your own process and development
  • Theoretical Knowledge of child development and child psychology


  • APAC– the Academy of Play and Child Psychotherapy
  • PTUK– Play Therapy United Kingdom
  • PTirl– Play Therapy Ireland
  • PTAu – Play Therapy Australasia


Please check with your chosen training provider.


Up to 4 intakes per year according to demand – please check with your chosen training provider


Faculty / Facilitators

Chosen from a faculty of presenters accredited by PTI, APAC and approved by University of Chichester.