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Accredited Diploma Course Details

This play therapy course has been clinically accredited by PTUK, PTI . Successful completion of the course and the required clinical hours leads to registration as a Certified Play Therapist on the PTUK register of Play and Creative Arts Therapists, accredited by the Professional Standards Authority. The course is also validated for academic standards in the UK by the Leeds Beckett (formerly Leeds Metropolitan) University as part of the MA in Practise based Play Therapy programme run in collaborative partnership with APAC. In the Republic of Ireland it is validated by and run in a partnership with the NUI (National University of Ireland - Galway).

Phone 01825 761143 for a Career Guide & full Brochure)

Post Graduate Diploma in Play Therapy

Designed for



Course Structure

Learning Methods





Course Provider



An Application Form is available: MS Word version OR PDF version.

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The course is designed for anyone who has successfully completed the APAC Certificate in Therapeutic Play and has at least 50 hours experience of working with children or adolescents using play therapy. Participants may come from any background such as:

  • Counsellors

  • Psychotherapists

  • Clinical Psychologists

  • Primary School Teachers/Assistants

  • Nurses

  • Nursery School Teachers/Assistants

  • Social Workers

  • Play School Teachers/Assistants

  • Care Home Staff

  • Adoption/Foster Agency Workers

The Diploma course is the second part of a programme leading to an MA in Practise Based Play Therapy  It is at stage 3 of the PTUK

Four Stage Training Model


The course has been designed to:

  • Enhance your career/professional skills

  • Become registered as a 'Certified Practitioner in Therapeutic Play Skills' on the Register of Play and Creative Arts Therapists, accredited by the Professional Standards Authority.

  • 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 PTUK to work with individuals and groups of children who have moderate to severe problems

The Diploma course is the second part of a programme leading to an MA in Practise Based Play Therapy.  It is at stage 3 of the PTUK four stage training model


Synopsis The course is experiential in nature and will be specifically rooted in non- directive play therapy.

AN INTEGRATIVE APPROACH TO PLAY THERAPY  - Children and their environment

As in the Certificate course material for the Diploma builds upon the theory and practice of humanistic psychology, particularly that of Virginia Axline ("Dibs In Search of Self") and Carl Rogers and gestalt play therapy developed by Violet Oaklander. It recognises contributions made by others in the early 1900s, such as John Bowlby, Margaret Lowenfeld, Donald Winnicott, Rachel Pinney etc It extends to a deeper understanding of the unconscious processes in relation to the child’s development based upon Freud, Jung, Graff, Fairburn Hillman, Moore and Jacobson. It also places importance on the spiritual aspect of human development. Opportunities for many forms of creativity will enrich the contents of the course.

You will be exploring ways of integrating the child as the centre of a social system, which includes schools, families, and team of support.

The main items in the 'Play Therapy Tool-Kit' covered in the 'Certificate in Therapeutic Play Skills' are re-visited at a greater level of competence and converted into skills to be used with therapeutic groups. You will also learn how to deal with more difficult problems and using the PDM as an assessment tool.

Learning Objectives The overall purpose is to enable participants to practice safely and effectively as a Play Therapist.

Upon successful completion of the course each participant will have gained:

• the competencies to work with all children (individual and group) of with all problems where Play therapy is suitable and with children and young people with mild to severe problems

• to make assessments incorporating the PDM

• A sound understanding of the principles underlying play therapy and the appropriate use of techniques

• The competencies required for running play therapy sessions with groups of children as well as individuals

• An ability to assess children's needs and set up a play therapy services unit

• An ability to make decisions taking into account the ethical issues concerning all parties involved

• Increased confidence in using play therapy with children and adolescents and communications with referrers, parents and guardians

• The counselling, therapeutic and practical skills to carry out effective play therapy

• Awareness of your own process and development

• A comprehensive theoretical knowledge of child development and child psychology

• An ability to use the taught play therapy skills as assessment tools

• The ability to use a full play therapy tool-kit

• A basic understanding of play therapy research issues and methods

Course Structure  Module Descriptions (Modules 1 - 5 form the Certificate in Therapeutic Skills  course

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

Module 6 - Introduction to Working with Groups; Developing Metaphors for Group Working; Introduction to Research Methods;. Developing Expressive Arts Skills - 1 - Dance and Movement for Groups; Assessment; Special cases: Autism, Mental/Physical disability

Module 7 - Developing Expressive Arts Skills 2 - Music Working With Parents/Teachers, Assessments through observation using video case studies Special cases: adopted, fostered

Module 8 - Developing Theatre Form Skills -Therapeutic Story Telling;. EPR; Assessment methods; Special cases: Loss/Bereavement, Separation

Module 9 - Developing Symbolic Play Skills; Sand Play - Advanced Skills; Working with Metaphors; Endings, Special cases: Physically and sexually abused - children who have experienced trauma

Module 10 - Developing Expressive Arts Skills - 3 Art in child development; Special cases working with Terminally Ill and or abuse; Court Work; Student presentation

Learning Methods

The course is divided into 5 modules some of which will gain a CPD certificate in its own right for the skills learnt as 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 weekends. Assignments will be subject of group discussions the following weekend.

It is essential that participants are working with children whilst the course is in progress.  100 supervised hours need to be completed before the Diploma can be awarded.  Group clinical supervision of this work is a primary learning method.  The situations and problems that you encounter in real life outside the classroom together with their solutions are an essential part of the learning process.

Duration 15 days consisting of 5 x 3 day modules (Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays)
Award The Post Graduate Diploma in Play Therapy will be awarded, with 60 'M' points, on the basis of:
  • Two written case studies, covering the work with a child for at least 1 year and showing a clear integration of theory and practice.
  • Completion of an individual practical therapeutic project, designed and documented by the participant.
  • Continuous evaluation of course work contributions and ability to work with group dynamics
  • Post training presentation
  • Evidence of a further 100 hrs supervised hours of working with children using play therapy
  • Completion an an essay of about 3000 words
  • Evidence of regular play therapy supervision
  • Satisfactory attendance on the course

We are proud to announce APAC's Post Graduate Certificate running in collaborative partnership with NUI Galway. Summer School for 15 days - 5th July 2016
Click here for NUI Galway details

Venues already validated by Leeds Beckett (formerly Leeds Metropolitan) University are marked LBU
Venues in Ireland validated by National University of Ireland (NUI) Galway and marked NUI

South East England

Salomons CampusLBU Broomhill Road, Tunbridge Wells, Kent TN3 0TG

Beaumont Estate, Old WindsorLBU Burfield Road, Old Windsor, Berkshire, England, SL4 2JJ

Midlands & East Anglia

Buckden TowersLBUBuckden, Cambridgeshire, PEI9 5TA

West Midlands

The Beeches, BournvilleLBU The Beeches, Bournville, West Midlands, B30 1LS

Northern Ireland

Edge Hill, Belfast Edgehill College, 9 Lennoxvale, Belfast BT9 5BY

Clotworthy Arts Centre, AntrimLBU Antrim Castle Gardens, Randalstown Road, Antrim, BT41 4LH

West of England & Wales

Engineers House, BristolLBU The Promenade, Clifton Down, Bristol, BS8 3NB

North of England

The Northern College, Leeds/BarnsleyLBU, Wentworth Castle, Stainborough

ManchesterLBU  , Pinewood on Wilmslow, Manchester

Trafford Hall, ChesterLBU  , Wimbolds Trafford, Chester


Rosebery HouseLBU, Edinburgh

Golden Jubilee Conference HotelLBU, Glasgow


Epiphany HouseLBU, Truro, Cornwall, TR1 3DR


The Union Jack ClubLBU, Sandell Street, Waterloo, SE1 8UJ


Marino Conference CentreNUI, Dublin, Ireland
For Garda vetting please contact

Ennismore Retreat CentreNUI, Cork, Ireland
For Garda vetting please contact


La MoulineLBUSt Genest de Contest, Tarn, Midi Pyrenees, France

and other locations upon request

Faculty / Facilitators

Selected from APAC's faculty.

Provider APAC

UK Courses - £3250 plus University Registration fee - £365
Irish Courses - €3950 including University Registration fee

You can pay online at Play Therapy Shop

Bed and breakfast accommodation is available on site at Marino Conference Centre,  Buckden Towers, Salomons and  Wentworth Castle.  There is  nearby attractive accommodation at approximately £35 per night for the other venues.

Course Title 1st Module Start Dates of Other Modules
2nd 3rd 4th Final
Clotworthy House, Antrim 25/11/16 03/02/17 12/05/17 30/06/17 08/09/17
Salomons, Tunbridge Wells, Kent 28/04/17 23/06/17 15/09/17 17/11/17 19/01/18
Union Jack Club, London 03/02/17 24/03/17 05/05/17 23/06/17 29/09/17
Marino Conference Centre, Dublin 10/02/17 24/03/17 19/05/17 02/06/17 15/09/17
Ennismore Retreat, Cork 09/09/16 18/11/16 17/02/17 07/04/17 09/06/17
Engineers House, Bristol 18/11/16 20/01/17 17/03/17 19/05/17 14/07/17
Buckden Towers, Cambridgeshire 09/09/16 28/10/16 03/02/17 21/04/17 30/06/17
Wentworth Castle, Leeds/Barnsley 15/04/16 15/07/16 30/09/16 18/11/16 20/01/17
Pinewood on Wilmslow, Manchester 21/10/16 09/12/16 24/02/17 02/06/17 14/07/17
Rosebery House, Edinburgh 03/06/16 02/09/16 28/10/16 20/01/17 03/03/17

Dates are correct at the time of publishing but maybe subject to change so please check with the office on 01825 761143 before booking

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