MA Creative Psychotherapy (Humanistic & Integrative Modality)
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. 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). The QQI course code is PG21811 (9M18873). It is an IAHIP recognised course – the only child and adolescent training to achieve this status. IAHIP (Irish Association of Humanistic and Integrative Psychotherapy) is a section of the Irish Council for Psychotherapy so members are eligible to receive the European Certificate in Psychotherapy through the ICP.
The Children's Therapy Centre (CTC) is the longest established and foremost provider of professional play therapy training and CPD courses in Ireland and has been delivering specialised training since the 90's. We have approved quality assurance standards with both FETAC and HETAC and are a recognised QQI training provider. We are a registered third level educational institute. We are also an APT approved provider of play therapy training – the only one delivering training in Ireland.
QQI replaced the National Qualification Authority of Ireland (NQAI), The Further Education and Training Awards Council of Ireland (FETAC), and the Higher Education and Training Awards Council (HETAC) in November 2012. It also took over functions of the Irish Universities Quality Board.
Introduction to the course
This is a four-year part-time experiential and eclectic 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 listed to be one of the protected titles and 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. In these cases the play therapist will work with 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. those who complete the full MA) are mental health professionals and, in addition to the developmental and therapeutic servces 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.
Counselling in Action
This course focuses extensively on the play therapy process and the therapeutic relationship as part of the healing intervention for children, adolescents, and adults, who have experienced difficult life events or who are compromised in reaching their full potential. In addition, it takes a systemic approach, looking at the needs of young clients within their family and the broader needs of the family also. Therefore, in addition to client-centred play therapy, psychotherapy, and creative arts approaches, we include training on the counselling skills that are essential if one is to work successfully with the child within their family.
We utilise humanistic and integrative models that incorporate the use of non-directive and focused approaches as indicated, to respond to the changing needs of the specific client as they present to us in therapy. Students will also become proficient in the use of therapeutic activities and interventions utilising play and the creative arts to enrich their therapy practice.