Home Links Contact Us Site Map Search
A Definition of Play Therapy

Play Therapy uses a variety of play and creative arts techniques (the 'Play Therapy Tool-Kit (TM)' to alleviate chronic, mild and moderate psychological and emotional conditions in children that are causing behavioural problems and/or are preventing children from realising their potential.


The Play Therapist works integratively using a wide range of play and creative arts techniques, mostly responding to the child's wishes. This distinguishes the Play Therapist from more specialised therapists (Art, Music, Drama etc). The greater depth of skills and experience distinguishes a play therapist from those using therapeutic play skills. In order to become a Certified Play Therapist a minimum number of hours of supervised clinical work is required whilst in training. This varies according to country. These variations take into account the maturity of the play therapy profession, high in Canada and the USA , emergent in Europe and nascent in other countries. PTI does not want to discourage entrants to the profession where play therapy is not established because the training and practice hours are set too high. The minimum levels are set to ensure safe and effective practice.

Number of hours supervised clinical practice required whilst in training:

Certified Accredited (ii)
Canada & USA 2500(I) n/a
UK & Ireland 200 450
Rest of Europe & Russian Federation 200 450
Australia, New Zealand & RSA 200 450
Rest of World 200 n/a

(i) 1600 minimum play therapy work with children, the balance may be with adults
(ii) The Accredited grade maps to the requirement for adult counselling in the UK and Ireland

The Play Therapist forms a short to medium term therapeutic relationship and often works systemically taking into account and perhaps dealing with the social environment of the clients (peers, siblings, family, school etc). Clinical supervision is essential.

Play therapy may be non-directive (where the child decides what to do in a session, within safe boundaries - see Axline's rules), directive (where the therapist leads the way) or a mixture of the two. Play therapy is particularly effective with children who cannot, or do not want to talk about their problems.

Training to become a PTI Certified Play Therapist requires successful completion of an accredited Certificate and Diploma courses such as that provided world wide by the Academy of Play and Child Psychotherapy (APAC).

See also:
Play    |    Play Work    |    Therapeutic Play    |    Filial Play Therapy    |    Play Therapy    |    Child Psychotherapy and Clinical Psychology (CPCP)    |    Therapeutic Play Continuum


Home | Terms & Conditions | Privacy Policy | International Contact Details

Contents © 1995 - 2008 Play Therapy International