Play Therapy Diploma in Play Therapy Course

Successful completion of the course and the required clinical hours leads to PTI certification as a Play Therapist.   

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.  

Diploma in Play Therapy 

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

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The post graduate course is designed for those that have completed a PTUK/PTI accredited Certificate in Therapeutic Play Skills course. 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 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 Play Therapist 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 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 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 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.  


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 children for slight to severe problems. 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.  


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


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 essay of about 3000 words
  • Evidence of regular play therapy supervision
  • Satisfactory attendance on the course


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  

Cambridge Belfry LBU Back Lane, Cambourne, Cambridge, CB23 6BW

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  


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

and other locations upon request


Selected from APAC's faculty.  

Course Provider  


UK Courses - £3250 plus University Registration fee - £370 

Irish Courses - €3950 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. 


Diploma Course Location1st Block2nd Block3rd Block4th Block5th Block
Northern College02-07-21 24-09-21 26-11-21
The Cambridge Belfry08-10-21 03-12-21 04-03-22 06-05-22 08-07-22
Bel Rosen30-05-21
Brook Mollington Banastre01-10-21 03-12-21 11-02-22 01-04-22 24-06-22
Northridge House10-09-21 12-11-21
La Mouline24-07-21
NUI Galway06-07-21
Golden Jubilee Hotel17-09-21
College of Allied Educators14-10-21 02-12-21 17-02-22 31-03-22 16-06-22
etc. Venues Victoria10-09-21 29-10-21 14-01-22
Poland17-09-21 05-11-21 21-01-22 04-03-22 22-04-22
Salomons Estate24-09-21

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