Four Stage Training Model  

The PTUK Four Stage Training Model has been developed as part of the Profession Structure Model to support the Career Development Map. They are also mapped to University and NVQ levels.  

Four Stages  

The four stages of the training model span the entire career development map from initial entrant with no previous experience to certified Play Therapists who wish to progress further e.g. MA in Practised Based Play Therapy, Supervisor and Trainer. We use the term 'stage' to avoid confusion with the university and QCA models that use levels. The stages also cater for other professionals who wish to add therapeutic play skills to increase their clinical expertise and widen their client base. The training model and the competency framework provides a basis for training providers who wish to have their programmes and courses accredited by PTUK.  

1st Stage

Short courses, workshops, seminars and programmes (typically 1 - 3 days) at this stage are extremely important since the courses:  

  • Provide an experiential introduction to therapeutic play skills
  • Give participants some basic understanding of the history, informing theories and issues
  • Enable further career development decisions to be undertaken  

Other longer learning programmes at this stage, including distance learning such as the Morita programme. These may provide sufficient grounding in the relevant psychological theories to enable successful participants, who have not previously acquired this knowledge to proceed to stage 2 programmes. These may be viewed as foundation or conversion courses.  

The material at this stage does not normally entitle participants to practice therapeutic play or play therapy skills with children or adults.  

2nd Stage    

(Certificate stage)  

Courses and programmes will normally be of a post-graduate level with sufficient theoretical, experiential and practical content to enable successful participants to use their skills with individual children who have slight to moderate conditions.

Training at this stage requires a minimum of 100 hours clinically supervised work with children as an essential part of the learning process. Participants are required to work within the PTUK Ethical System.  

The award for those who successfully complete a PTUK accredited programme at this stage will normally be a PTUK Certificate of Therapeutic Play.  

This is an essential stage for those who do not have adequate training or experience in psychology/creative based therapies.  

3rd Stage    

(Diploma Stage)  

Courses and programmes will normally be at the post-graduate level with sufficient theoretical, experiential and practical content to enable successful participants to use their skills with individual and groups of children who have moderate to severe conditions.  

Training at this stage also requires a minimum of 100 hours clinically supervised work with children as an essential part of the learning process. Participants are required to work within the PTUK Ethical System.  

The award for those who successfully complete a PTUK accredited programme at this stage will normally be a PTUK Diploma in Play Therapy.  

This stage provides:  

  • A natural progression for those who have completed a stage 2 programme.

4th Stage  

(Advanced Stage)  

Courses and programmes will normally be of a post-graduate stage with sufficient theoretical, experiential and practical content to enable successful participants to build upon their skills as a Play Therapist or practitioner with specialist play therapy skills.  

Training at this stage may also require further hours of clinically supervised work with children as an essential part of the learning process. Participants are required to work within the PTUK Ethical System.   A variety of programmes at this stage may be offered for those wishing to become:  

  • A Clinical Supervisor of Play Therapy
  • A Play Therapy Trainer
  • or develop specialist skills incorporating play therapy such as filial play coaching
  • or to be awarded an M.A. in Practised Based Play Therapy  

This stage provides:  

  • A natural progression for those who have completed a stage 3 programme.
  • An entry stage for experienced and qualified Play Therapists.


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