Certificate in Therapeutic Play Skills

Successful completion of this course provides the title Certified Practitioner in Therapeutic Play Skills on the PTUK register of Play and Creative Arts Therapists, accredited by the Professional Standards Authority.


This course has been clinically accredited by PTUK and PTI.  

It is also validated at venues in the UK for academic standards by the Leeds Beckett (formerly Leeds Metropolitan) University as part of the MA in Practice based Play Therapy programme run in a collaborative partnership with APAC.  At venues in the Republic of Ireland it is validated by and run in a partnership with the National University of Ireland.  

Call 01825 761143 for Career Guide & full Brochure.  

Post Graduate Certificate in Therapeutic Play Skills  

An Application Form is available:

MS Word version OR PDF version  

Get your play therapy resources from

The course is designed for anyone with experience of children or adolescents, who either works or intends to work therapeutically with them including:  

  • 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

Applicants must be able to study at level 7 (post graduate) and have a current advanced DBS check.  The course is at stage 2 of the 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 individual children who have slight to moderate problems

The Certificate course is the first part of programme leading to an MA in Practise Based Play Therapy.  It is at stage 2 of the PTUK four stage training model

It may be undertaken as a standalone course.  


The course is unique in integrating both non directive and directive approaches to play therapy. The programme content is based upon the theory and practice of humanistic psychology, particularly that of Virginia Axline ("Dibs In Search of Self"), and Carl Rogers and the gestalt play therapy approach of Violet Oaklander.   It recognises contributions made by others in the 20th century such as John Bowlby, Margaret Lowenfeld, Donald Winnicott, Rachel Pinney etc. It also places importance on the spiritual aspect of human development. Opportunities for meditation and all forms of creativity will enrich the contents of the course.  


The lives of children in the present day are highly regulated and controlled. Non-directive play therapy offers a child the opportunity of making choices and taking responsibility for them; expressing him/herself freely; being accepted unconditionally; having his/her deepest feelings respected and accepted. For these reasons their play is not interpreted and no judgements are made.

Such freedoms may only be obtained by the provision of a strong framework. Therefore the adult takes responsibility for the safety of the child, themselves and the environment. Within these constraints, the child has complete freedom to choose. Time boundaries are also considered to be important thus adding a sense of security by adhering to beginnings and ends. In this way the time within a session becomes timeless and the child’s imagination is set free to explore and recreate his/her experiences and to create and make his/her own world.

There are, however, a number of cases where the non-directive needs to be complemented by other approaches. For example working with terminally ill, bereaved, autistic children in organisational settings and short term work.

The main items in the Play Therapy Tool-Kit are taught and put into practice. 

Learning Objectives

The overall purpose is to enable participants to practice safely and effectively using therapeutic play skills in a variety of settings to provide emotional support to individual children for slight to moderate problems. Upon successful completion of the course each participant will have gained: 

  • A sound understanding of the principles underlying play therapy and the appropriate use of techniques the play therapy tool-kit
  • Practical skills for running therapeutic play sessions with individual children
  • An ability to assess children's needs and organise the provision of therapeutic play facilities
  • An appreciation of the ethical issues
  • Increased confidence in using therapeutic play with children and adolescents
  • The counselling, therapeutic and practical skills to enable you to carry out therapeutic play
  • An understanding of the ethical considerations
  • Awareness of your own process and development
  • Theoretical Knowledge of child development and child psychology 

Course Structure  

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

Module 1 - Course Introduction; Starting to Work Therapeutically With Children; The Therapeutic Play Continuum; Creative Visualisation; Setting Up to Practice; Pharmacology  

Module 2 - Music Skills for Working With Individuals and Attachment theory  

Module 3 - Storytelling & Puppetry Skills for Use With Individual Children; Comparison of Theoretical Models of Psychotherapy 

Module 4 - Sand play skills for working with individuals and related theory; the Use of Natural Materials; Child Development Theory (1); Art Therapy for Individuals  

Module 5 - Dance and Movement skills for working with individuals; Student presentations; Endings  

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.  


15 days consisting of 5 x 3 day modules (Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays)


Post Graduate Certificate of Therapeutic Play Skills with 60 'M' points


Click here for NUI Galway details  

Leeds Beckett (formerly Leeds Metropolitan) University are marked LBU

Venues in Ireland validated by National University of Ireland (NUI) Galway and marked NUI

East England

Buckden Towers LBU Buckden Towers, High Street, Buckden, Cambridgeshire, PE19 5TA  

South East England

Beaumont Estate LBU Burfield Road, Old Windsor, Berkshire, SL4 2JJ

Salomons Estate LBU Broomhill Road, Tunbridge Wells, Kent, TN3 0TG

The Union Jack Club LBU Sandell Street, Waterloo, London, SE1 8UJ

ETC Venue LBU Drummond Gate, Pimlico, London SW1V 2QQ

West Midlands

The Beeches LBU Bournville, West Midlands, B30 1LS  

West of England and Wales

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

Epiphany House LBU Truro, Cornwall, TR1 3DR

North of England

Pinewood on Wilmslow LBU Wilmslow Rd, Handforth, Wilmslow, Manchester, SK9 3LF  

The Northern College LBU Wentworth Castle, Barnsley, S75 3ET  

Mollington Banastre LBU Parkgate Road, Chester, CH1 6NN

Slaley Hall LBU Coal Road, Hexham, NE47 0BX


Golden Jubilee Conference Hotel LBU Beardmore Street, Glasgow, G81 4SA

Rosebery House LBU 9 Haymarket Terrace, Edinburgh, EH12 5EZ  

Northern Ireland

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


National University of Ireland Gallway NUI University Road, Galway, Ireland  

Ennismore Retreat Centre NUI Cork, Ireland  

Marino Conference Centre NUI Dublin, Ireland  

For Garda vetting please contact bbkells@gmail.com  


La Mouline LBU St Genest de Contest, Tarn, Midi Pyrenees, France  

and other locations upon request


Selected from APAC's faculty.  




UK Courses - £3150 plus University Registration fee - £370 

Irish Courses - €3750 including University Registration fee  

The additional registration fee shown above is to register with the University for this course as a part of the MA in Practise Based Play Therapy programme. There will be additional University registration fees if you subsequently proceed to the Diploma and MA stages.  

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.  


Course Venue1st Block2nd Block3rd Block4th Block5th Block
Greece11-06-21 03-09-21 12-12-21 14-01-22 18-03-22
Engineers House11-02-11 08-10-21 10-12-21 01-04-22 01-07-22
Bel Rosen
Brook Mollington Banastre15-10-21 10-12-21 04-03-22 06-05-22 01-07-22
La Mouline
NUI Galway
Slaley Hall01-10-21 10-12-21 04-03-22 06-05-22 24-06-22
College of Allied Educators23-09-21 11-11-21 20-01-22 10-03-22 07-04-22
etc. Venues Victoria04-02-21 22-04-21 24-09-21 19-11-21 24-06-22
Pinewood on Wilmslow21-05-21 16-07-21 24-09-21 12-11-21 04-02-22
Poland23-04-21 11-06-21 03-09-21 15-10-21 03-12-21
College of Allied Educators30-09-21 18-11-21 09-12-21 24-02-22 21-04-22
Salomons Estate01-10-21 10-12-21 11-02-22 06-05-22 01-07-22

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