What is Play Therapy?
Play therapy and its various forms and schools (like filial therapy, family play therapy, and child-centered, ecosystemic, developmental, relationship, group, and cognitive-behavioral play therapy), is a special therapeutic approach for working with children, adolescents, their families, and/or care providers. Play is a natural medium for children. Usually, children have not developed the cognitive or verbal skills that adults use to discuss feelings, emotions, and experiences in therapy. A safe and structured playroom environment is established where children are encouraged to play in ways that reveal concerns, problems, and issues they are struggling with.
Play therapy allows:
- Children communicate ideas, feelings, and experiences through play.
- Children recreate and resolve events (such as trauma, divorce, abuse, or death of a parent or family member) in play.
- Children can rehearse and master life skills and other techniques through play.
- Children work through various problems in play.
A qualified play therapist is able to guide the play of children in ways that are therapeutic and healing. Parents, family members, or care providers are often included in the play. This allows the play therapist to observe and
interpret the full range of systemic/relational dynamics that are important to the child or adolescent. The play therapist is then able to enter into the intra-psychic and systemic reality of the child resulting in appropriate
The Association for Play Therapy:
Many clinicians and educators use play therapy in psychotherapy with children and adolescents. The Association for Play Therapy, Inc. (APT), in existence since 1982, confers three credentials: RPT (Registered Play Therapist), RPT-S (Registered Play Therapist Supervisor), and SB-RPT (School-Based Registered Play Therapist). These credentials signify the registrant has met a set of requirements highlighting his/her play therapy education and training. To become a RPT or RPT-S, a clinician must have earned a Master's degree in an appropriate mental health profession from a regionally accredited educational
institution, two years and 2,000 hours of supervised clinical experience, 35-50 hours of clinical supervision, 350-500 hours of clinical play therapy with clients, and 150 APT CE hours of instructions. Please contact the APT at 559-298-3400 for exact requirements pertaining to you and for details on the SB-RPT credential requirements.
Training, Supervision, and Certificates
Only students enrolled in or graduated from a graduate mental health program are eligible to receive APT CE hours. Clinical supervision is provided for supervisees to reach eligibility for Registered Play Therapist (RPT) or Registered Play Therapist-Supervisor (RPT-S).
The Certificate program also integrates, play therapy, art therapy, dance, movement, and other creative approaches. At the School, students will learn to do play therapy with adolescents, adults, couples, and families. Five (5) classes are required for the certificate.
The School provides the 150 APT CE hours of instruction in the areas suggested by the Association for Play Therapy, Inc. (APT):
1. Play Therapy History – 4-5 hours
2. Play Therapy Theories – 40-50 hours
3. Play Therapy Techniques or Methods – 40-50 hours
4. Play Therapy Applications – 40-50 hours
5. Clinical Supervision Training (4 hours minimum)
The APT allows up to 50 APT CE hours of instruction for registration to be distance education. School classes are available in independent study formats.
The Colorado School for Family Therapy offers conferences that include presentations, workshops, and play therapy supervision groups (limited by the APT to ten supervisees) each day. Contact the School for current scheduling.
Supervised play therapy intensives are held over a two-day period allowing students/clinicians to work with clients (both children and families), in a live group supervision setting. Supervision and clinical practice hours can be used
for Certificate credit, APT registration, and State licensure.
The School also offers 30 didactic-contact-hours APT CE per class.
Current courses include:
-History and Theory pf Play Therapy
-Play Therapy Techniques and Methods
-Play Therapy and Art Therapy
-Play Therapy Multicultural Issues
-Play Therapy Trauma and Abuse
The School is approved by the Association for Play Therapy (APT) to offer continuing education specific to play therapy. APT Approved Provider 98-038. The School maintains responsibility for the program.
How soon can I become a RPT or a RPT-S?
Students should contact the Association for Play Therapy, 401 Clovis Ave, Suite 107, Clovis, California, 93612, 559-298-3400, or email [email protected] to discuss the registration requirements unique to them.
The student may cancel their enrollment at any time prior to midnight of the third business day after signing the School contract. All refunds will be made within thirty (30) days from the date of cancellation.