Our History  


Play Therapy (UK) – The United Kingdom Society for Play and Creative Arts Therapies Limited (known in short as PTUK) was originally set up in October 2000 as Play Therapy UK. It was established as an alternative governing body and professional organisation to provide a choice for practitioners of and anyone interested in using therapeutic play, play therapy or creative arts therapies to help children with emotional literacy, behaviour and mental health problems.  

It was felt, by a number of practitioners at that time, that the existing professional association was too restrictive in its membership criteria, had course accreditation standards that did not meet the needs to produce the large numbers of safe and effective practitioners that are required in the United Kingdom and was insufficiently open or innovative in its policies. Since then PTUK has grown to be the largest organisation in the UK in the field of therapeutic play and play therapy and has a proud record of innovation.  


PTUK introduced the Spectrum of Needs and Therapeutic Play Continuum  concepts that recognise that children have a wide range of emotional, behaviour and mental health problems and that professionals with a variety of interventions and skill levels can safely and effectively alleviate these conditions.  

A new Ethical System introduced to provide better protection for both the public and therapists. This incorporates an ethical framework, professional conduct procedure and a clinical governance requirement which places PTUK in the forefront of setting high professional standards.  


PTUK developed the Profession Structure Model (PSM), based on a competency framework, using the experience of a number of international play therapists. This was the first major innovation concerning the organisation of the profession since it started in the UK. It provides a basis for:  

  • clear communication with commissioners and users of the therapies. 
  • guidance upon the selection and recruitment of therapists. 
  • career planning. 
  • the identification of training and CPD needs. 
  • the design of training courses and programmes. 
  • setting remuneration scales. 
  • job performance appraisal.    

PTUK affiliates to Play Therapy International (PTI) to share best practice around the world.  

Web site www.playtherapy.org.uk launched   SEPACTO research project funded by PTUK, development started.  


PTUK opens www.playtherapyshop.com to provide an on-line subscription renewal, event booking and convenient way of acquiring other products and services.  

PTUK mandates the use of clinical governance for trainees seeking certification.  

SEPACTO operational - first research report generated  

PTUK accredits the first MA in Practised Based Play Therapy programme in the UK, designed and run by the Academy of Play and Child Psychotherapy (APAC) in a collaborative partnership with the University College Chichester.

This is a modular post graduate play therapy training programme in three parts:

  1. Certificate in Therapeutic Play Skills. 
  2. Diploma in Play Therapy. 
  3. MA by Dissertation.  


PTUK in association with PTI organised the World Congress in Play Therapy. This was the largest international event of its type held anywhere with over 70 workshops/sessions and attended by over 400 delegates from 29 countries. First time in the United Kingdom.  

PTUK set up The Play Therapy Press Ltd to republish classic out of print play therapy books and innovative new titles to assist students undertaking play therapy training.  


The PSM and competency framework have a major revision to include filial play. The proposed use of the term Filial Play Coach/Mentor is adopted, after a members' referendum. APAC, PTUK's sister organisation, designs the UK's first Certificate in Filial Play Coaching and Mentoring. Membership passes the 1000 mark.

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