Creative Psychotherapy - Humanistic & Integrative Modality

Children's Therapy Centre

Creative Psychotherapy - Humanistic & Integrative Modality

MA Creative Psychotherapy (Humanistic & Integrative Modality)
Master of Arts in Creative Psychotherapy (Humanistic & Integrative Modality)
Postgraduate Diploma in 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. Graduates will be ideally placed to work as therapists with children and young people presenting with emotional difficulties that may be mild or severe in nature and to practice as humanistic counsellors (PG Diploma) or psychotherapists (MA).

This course incorporates both professional and academic training. The MA is awarded by Quality and Qualifications Ireland (QQI). It is an IAHIP recognised course – the only child and adolescent psychotherapy training to achieve this status. IAHIP (Irish Association of Humanistic and Integrative Psychotherapy) is a section of the Irish Council for Psychotherapy. This course is also directly recognised by the European Association for Psychotherapy (EAP).

This is a four-year part-time experiential and eclectic child and adolescent psychotherapy training with theoretical, practical and skills development components. It is made up of two distinct stages: the first two years comprise the play therapy programme and forms the basis for the final two-year component which leads to the psychotherapy award. All 4 years are structured in a way that builds on prior learning so as to develop the necessary personal characteristics, skills and competence and acquire the depth and breath of knowledge that is core to the formation of a psychotherapist. There are clear distinctions between the professional roles of play therapists and psychotherapists, mainly linked to the fact that psychotherapists are mental health professionals. The title of psychotherapist is one of the protected titles currently in the process of becoming subject to CORU regulation and practitioner registration.

We utilise role-play, small and large group work, lectures, presentations, discussions, creative activities, etc. This course is designed for mature students who wish to engage in training in the use of creative interventions and approaches, therapeutic play, play therapy, child psychotherapy, counselling and psychotherapy. Great emphasis is put on personal development and experiential learning, skills development, supervised clinical practice, utilising action methods, active imagination, and on working in accordance with a clear theoretical framework. Core play therapy, counselling and psychotherapy trainers, and clinical supervisors, all meet the required standards for professional and academic training. Course content pays particular attention to humanistic and integrative approaches, the psychotherapy process with children and adolescents, neurobiology, and to trauma issues. Neurobiologically informed psychotherapists take a neuroscientific perspective and are mindful of the biology of attachment and arousal. Such knowledge is used to inform clinical decision-making. In addition to ongoing clinical training, a research project with relevance to the field of psychotherapy is completed in the final year.

Play therapy is a developmentally sensitive therapeutic modality in which a trained play therapist uses the therapeutic powers of play to help children prevent or resolve psychosocial difficulties and achieve optimal growth and development. Play therapy is relationship based – the power of the therapy comes from the strength of the relationship between the Play Therapist and the child.

Play therapists use approaches, interventions, media, and activities that are appropriate to the age and developmental stage of the client. Play permits the child to communicate with adults nonverbally, symbolically, and in an action-oriented manner.

When the practitioner does not hold a separate mental health qualification to practice as a psychotherapist, play therapy is practiced as a non-mental health profession often in the context of another professional career (e.g. teacher, social worker, childcare). The play therapist may provide services for typically developing children and clients who do not have clinical issues: they may work with children with mild adjustment issues or those struggling with developmental challenges. The aim is to promote emotional wellbeing and assist the child, including those facing adversity (e.g. stressful events including e.g. hospitalisation, parental separation, bereavement, or single incident trauma in previously well adjusted children) to master developmental milestones and develop emotional literacy and resiliency.

Play therapists who are also psychotherapists (i.e. on completion of the full MA) are mental health professionals and, in addition to the developmental and therapeutic services offered by play therapists, are involved in providing psychological treatment to clients with complex emotional needs and issues. In addition to the benefits identified above, the aim of the intervention can also include the resolution of particular psychological and/or psychiatric issues that compromise the child's healthy interactions with the world. This includes children and adolescents who have experienced adversity, experience chronic distress, and who may struggle with emotional, psychological, or mental health related difficulties. This practice is designed to help facilitate personal growth, allieviate distress and overcome emotional and behavioural problems. It is concerned with resolving issues, building resources, repairing damage and restoring (or enabling for the first time) positive mental health. It plays a significant role in reorganising the personality and helping those who have experienced developmental trauma that has interrupted or distorted development to enable and maximise their true potential. Such psychotherapists are qualified to work with children across the spectrum of need including those with significant clinical issues, e.g. disrupted and disorganised attachments, histories of neglect, experiences of physical, emotional and sexual abuse, and those whose development has been distorted by living in situations of chronic distress, unpredictability and lack of supportive, attuned caregiving.

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.

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.

Subjects taught

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

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

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

Personal Therapy
Each trainee must participate in Individual Therapy Sessions, a minimum of 30 per year, with an accredited psychotherapist (generally IAHIP), of their own choosing, scheduled at own convenience, over the duration of the course. The experience of being a client is vital to developing an understanding of the therapy process in an experiential way and facilitates the self-exploration and development of increased self-awareness that is central to the practice of therapy. The cost of these sessions is not included in the course fee and will be negotiated between the trainee and the therapist of their choosing. Group psychotherapy sessions take place during course time. There is no additional cost for these sessions.

Over the 4 years therapeutic/personal development sessions including both group and individual therapy sessions span 180 hours. Further personal reflective activities bring these hours up to 250. There are opportunities for personal development in the course itself and through workshops, experiential activities and relationships within the group. All personal therapy requirements must be met as a condition of graduation.

Clinical Practice and Supervision

CTC take a careful and sequential approach to clinical practice: for safety reasons there are many carefully monitored stages before the work with clients will reach the level of psychotherapy. Trainees will begin by engaging in child observation sessions, then therapeutic play sessions, then play therapy sessions with children and adolescents, intake, review and support session with parents and relevant adults, as they progress through the training and are assessed as being ready to engage in increasingly complex clinical work and psychotherapy practice. Some clinical supervision (during the academic year) is included in course fee; additional privately funded supervision is also required both during the course itself and the pre-accreditation period.

Entry requirements

Our Psychotherapy Award

This is a four-year course. The QQI award for those completing the 4 years is an MA in Creative Psychotherapy (Humanistic and Integrative Modality). As the QQI award is set at level 9 on the National Framework of Qualifications entry is restricted to applicants who have already completed a suitable undergraduate degree. Entry to year 3 is restricted to holders of IAPTP recognised Play Therapy course qualification, or to holders of an alternative Postgraduate Diploma in Play Therapy plus the IAPTP Statement of Equivalence to IAPTP Approved Play Therapy Training, which entails additional conversion training to meet IAPTP criteria.

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 relevant professional experience (for example, social care, counsellor, helpline worker, childcare, social work, education or nursing) 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

The Programme Management Team have processed the MA applications for the 2023 intakes and have shortlisted for interviews. The first round of interviews will take place in January 2023. Any applications received at this point will be held on file here and processed in 2023 if any spaces remain open after the first round of interviews, if not they will be processed in November 2023 for the 2024 intakes.

Processing Applications

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

We begin processing applications at least nine months to a year prior to the start of the course, although applicants are advised to apply as early as possible and definitely before the end of November of the year preceding entry. Applications for 2023 intakes should be submitted before the end of November 2022. The first stage our process is a review of the application form and documents. A short list of applicants are selected for interview. Interviews take place in January. When all places have been allocated the intake for the year will close and subsequent applications will be held for the following year. Applicants are advised that there is tough competition for entry to this course due to the number of high calibre applicants. We accept applications throughout the year.


4 years part-time.

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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