Creative Psychotherapy - Humanistic & Integrative Modality

Children's Therapy Centre

Creative Psychotherapy - Humanistic & Integrative Modality

Postgraduate Diploma in Arts in Play Therapy (60 level 9 credit embedded award)
This embedded award is not offered outside of the MA. All training requirements are met on completion of the 3rd year of the MA. The professional body (Irish Association for Play Therapy and Psychotherapy) that recognises this course as part of the criteria to become professionally accredited, has the most stringent standards for this work, greatly exceeding the training hours requirements of other play therapy professional bodies around the world. CTC has an extensive focus on the therapy process itself, intensive supervision by core trainers (fully accredited psychotherapists) and we consider a broad range of human development theories, neurobiology perspectives, models of play therapy and psychotherapy, developmentally appropriate counselling skills (for children and adults), clinical and professional practice issues etc. We have ensured that our learning outcomes encompass all the benchmark criteria that have been agreed as being necessary in educating competent play therapists. While play therapists most commonly work with children under 14 years of age, they may also work with older adolescents and adults using creative approaches rooted in play. Play therapy is a developmental counselling approach in which the therapist takes the client’s age and stage of development into account in all aspects of their work. The play process is central to the therapy which relies on its’ specific therapeutic powers as the agents of change in facilitating the client to prevent or resolve psycho-social difficulties and achieve optimal growth and development.

Upon entering 3rd year, graduates of the Postgraduate Diploma stage of the programme become eligible for pre-accredited membership of the Irish Association for Play Therapy and Psychotherapy (IAPTP) and on completion of the year will fully meet the training requirements for play therapy practice.

Master of Arts in Creative Psychotherapy (Humanistic and Integrative Modality) – additional 60 Level 9 credits.
Master of Arts in Creative Psychotherapy (Humanistic & Integrative Modality)
Postgraduate Diploma in Play Therapy
This is the first accredited programme of its kind here in Ireland to offer a comprehensive, experiential training in Play Therapy as part of a fully professionally recognised MA qualification as a Psychotherapist with a major emphasis on the practice of Play Therapy. Our focus on younger clients is unique in a humanistic and integrative psychotherapy training, as is our intense focus on utilising creative, action methods that bring neuroscientific learning and interpersonal neurobiological concepts into the heart of developmentally appropriate clinical practice. Our MA graduates are ideally placed to work as psychotherapists with children and young people presenting with emotional difficulties that may be mild or severe in nature. Having achieved the dual qualifications, they practice as psychotherapists specialising in play therapy. This course incorporates both professional and academic training. Graduates of the four-year programme are eligible for professional accreditation as a psychotherapist and play therapist with the Irish Association for Play Therapy and Psychotherapy (IAPTP). The MA is awarded by Quality and Qualifications Ireland (QQI). The MA has also been awarded course recognition by the European Association for Psychotherapy (EAP) for core psychotherapy training courses. The course is also a recognised course of the Irish Association for Play Therapy and Psychotherapy (IAPTP) and by the European Association for Integrative Psychotherapy (EAIP). Graduates are eligible to be awarded the European Certificate in Integrative Psychotherapy.

The whole ethos of the programme, and its content, aims, methodologies, learning outcomes, philosophy etc. is humanistic and integrative in nature. Our focus is on utilising creative, action methods that bring interpersonal neurobiological concepts into the heart of developmentally appropriate clinical practice with children and adolescents. The core model of psychotherapy that we teach is Client Centred, and we compare and contrast this with other models (e.g. Psychoanalytic, Cognitive Behavioural) within the programme. In addition, we integrate the use of the expressive arts therapies and play therapy to equip learners to provide a creative psychotherapy practice. Supervised practice, and theoretical content, relate to working on a deep psychotherapeutic level with clients of diverse ages, and with complex needs, while making extensive use of creative psychotherapeutic approaches. Each learner is facilitated in developing their own individual practice style based on the integration of theories that allows them to be most authentic in their work.

Course content pays particular attention to the humanistic and integrative approach, the psychotherapy process with adolescents, neurobiology, and to trauma issues, in the 3rd year of the programme. In addition to ongoing clinical training, a research project with relevance to the field of psychotherapy is completed in the final year.

The four-year programme has been designed to match the criteria of the European Certificate of Psychotherapy (ECP) for core psychotherapy training courses.

Year 1
This focuses on developing non-directive, client-centred, play and counselling skills, a working knowledge of child development, play, relevant psychological theories and safe working practices; developing a therapeutic relationship; using therapeutic play to facilitate children in developing psychological resilience and reaching their potential (developing self-confidence, self-esteem, and a strong sense of personal identity); and to intervene with clients with a range of particular needs. It has a specific focus on the personal development of the course participants to ensure development of self-awareness, growing maturity, and the development of basic counselling and listening skills. Trainees engage in a practicum to develop observational skills, and practice facilitating creative play sessions. The focus on child observation builds a foundation for developing research skills, and the myriad of approaches to therapeutic play-based interventions builds skills in assessment and programme planning. In this year there are a mixture of 2, 3 and 4-day modules based around weekends as far as possible.

Year 2
This focuses on training participants to work as play therapists with a range of clients with mild and moderate emotional problems. The initial focus is on training as a Client Centred Play Therapist, then on integrating non-directive approaches with more focused interventions to assist clients to develop healthy coping skills. We introduce a variety of models of psychotherapy and play therapy, their origins, their underlying personality theories and philosophies, and practice issues. This year also covers counselling skills in more depth, developing a systemic and professional framework, working with parents and carers as ‘secondary clients’, and involves many personal development workshops utilising creative and play media and approaches. Participants are introduced to the use of creative therapy with clients of all ages; working with clients who present with specific emotional and/or behavioural difficulties (e.g. bereavement, parental separation) and/or disorders. Participants engage in Clinical Practice with children and their families, a proportion of which is clinically supervised by CTC assigned supervisors. There is a focus on developing skills in linking theory and practice including understanding themes in play, conceptualizing the therapy process with young clients, reading play as the language of the child and facilitating developmentally appropriate creative therapy sessions. In this year there are a mixture of 1, 2 and 3-day modules based around weekends as far as possible.

Year 3
This focuses on developing a deeper understanding of the psychotherapy process, coupled with developing skills and a knowledge base to work with clients, including adolescents, with more challenging issues and complex life histories. IAPTP training requirements for pre-accreditation are met during this year. Emphasis is given to utilising the mediums of play and creative media, supported by talk therapy, for clients who present with attachment disorders and/or have experienced child abuse and/or neglect. Continuing personal development (using the creative therapies) facilitates participants to process personal issues. Input is also given regarding sandtray therapy and integrative approaches in clinical practise, as well as further insight into other relevant approaches to psychotherapy, theories of change and human development. A neurobiological perspective is maintained to enhance intuitive practice, making therapeutic use of self, and clinical decision-making. We place very high emphasis on the integration of theory and practice and developing advanced skills in conceptualising the therapy process. Supervised clinical practice continues over the full year with clients of diverse ages, with diverse issues, and in diverse settings.

In this year there are a mixture of 1, 2 and 3-day modules.

Year 4
A significant focus in the professional training element of fourth year is on developing the skills, knowledge and competencies to practice safely and ethically as a psychotherapist with a diversity of clients with complex and multifaceted needs. A special focus on working with clients who have experienced sexual abuse is introduced. Trainees continue to engage in clinical practice throughout the year and will attend regular supervision sessions with assigned supervisors. These sessions incorporate a significant training element and both challenge and support trainees in making links between theory and practice

Supervised practice, and theoretical content, relate to working on a deep psychotherapeutic level with clients of diverse ages, and with complex needs, while making extensive use of creative approaches.

In the MA research methods blended learning component students are introduced systematically to the range of research methods used in psychotherapy and will complete a research dissertation. Particular emphasis is given to formulating appropriate questions, objectivity, reliability, techniques used in research projects that are most relevant to practitioner researchers, ethical considerations, analysing data and presenting findings.

Subjects taught

The core programme is built around three subject strands that build up over the course. These 3 strands are:
1. Reflective Practice
2. Developing Clinical Skills
3. Theoretical Studies

Subjects in the Play Therapy Postgraduate Diploma (years 1 and 2) are:
• Psychotherapeutic Experience: The Internal Working Model,
• Play & Expressive Arts: Theory and Practice
• Human Development including Play
• Psychotherapeutic Experience: Exploring Patterns and Relationships
• Integrative Psychotherapy and the Play Therapy Process
• Play Therapy and Counselling: Supervised Practicum
• A Comparative Analysis of Psychotherapy and Play Therapy Models
• Considering Systems and Environments in Child & Adolescent Therapy

Subjects in the 2nd half of the MA Creative Psychotherapy (years 3 and 4) are:
• Neurobiologically Informed Therapeutic Use of Self
• Humanistic and Integrative Psychotherapy Practice
• Trauma Informed Psychotherapy
• Creative Psychotherapy
• Research Methods and Dissertation

Entry requirements

Registering for the QQI award: Direct Entry to year 1
For admission to the M.A. in Creative Psychotherapy (Humanistic and Integrative Modality), entrants will normally:
• Have a 2.2 or higher in a relevant undergraduate (generally a level 8) degree (for example, though not exhaustively, social science, social care, psychology, nursing, community development, education, counselling, psychotherapy etc.) or equivalent
• Have at least two years full-time relevant professional experience (for example, social care, education, childcare, social work, counsellor/creative arts therapist) working with children.
• Be able to demonstrate maturity, personal readiness and suitability for psychotherapy training including commitment to personal & professional development and a willingness to engage in a self-reflective process that includes personal therapy
• Have participated in relevant foundation level training (generally over 30 hours face-to-face live online or in person) in therapeutic play or play therapy. Ideal foundation training courses are the Therapeutic Play Skills Certificate and/or the Principles of Art Therapy Certificate) and most successful applicants will have completed one or both of these courses. CPD in play, creative arts and counselling skills are also useful.
• Successfully undertake a selection interview
• Commit to full attendance for all 4 years of the course.

Registering for the QQI award: Indirect Entry
A small number of applicants, with extensive relevant professional experience (generally 10 years or more in a professional role), who do not have honours on a suitable level 8 degree may be eligible for entry to year 1 of the academic programme via Recognition of Prior Learning (e.g. completion of training that is at a lower academic level than is generally required). Such applicants must demonstrate, and provide evidence to attest to their acquisition of suitable level 8 learning outcomes in a relevant area and will generally hold a full level 7 degree in a relevant area.

Application dates

Applications for 2024 intakes should be submitted before the end of November 2023.

Please complete the application form in full and post, with CV, 2 passport photographs, and €100 application fee to:
The Children’s Therapy Centre,
Stewart House
Lonsdale Road
National Technology Park,
Limerick, V94 KN70

You can pay the €100 processing fee via cheque, postal order, or a bank transfer. If you would like the CTC banking details please email Damian at You can also pay the processing fee directly on our website

Please email soft copies of the completed application form and CV with the other required documents to . Your application will not be processed unless we have all relevant documentation and the required processing fee. If you have any queries please email


4 years part-time.

Enrolment dates

Provisional Year 1 Course Dates for 2024-2025
There are two intakes each year. Please see course web-page for dates and location.

Post Course Info

Employment Potential
Employment potential for child and adolescent psychotherapists specialising in play therapy has been and continues to be excellent. It is best for those with relevant primary training and work experience. Psychotherapists and play therapists who trained at CTC are currently employed in a range of Child and Family Centre’s, The CARI Foundation, Hospitals, Child and Adolescent Mental Health Teams and Community Care Teams throughout the HSE, Statutory and Private Residential Care services, Primary and Secondary Schools, Special Schools, Voluntary Bodies, Family Resource Centre’s and with many other services. Many of our graduates are also self-employed and work with clients of diverse ages and with diverse clinical issues.

More details
  • Qualification letters


  • Qualifications

    Postgraduate Diploma (Level 9 NFQ),Degree - Masters (Level 9 NFQ)

  • Attendance type

    Part time

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    Course provider