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Creative Psychotherapy & Play Therapy - Humanistic & Integrative Modality

Our Play Therapy and Psychotherapy Awards

The QQI award for those completing the 4 years is an MA in Creative Psychotherapy (Humanistic and Integrative Modality). A QQI exit award, Postgraduate Diploma in Arts in Play Therapy, is available to those who exit after 2nd year but who do not complete 4th year. 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 a suitable Play Therapy qualification.

Safety Provisions

It will be necessary for participants be vetted by An Garda Siochana and to be covered by professional insurance cover prior to undertaking direct work with children. To be eligible for professional insurance cover (details available), each participant must be a member of the Irish Association for Play Therapy and Psychotherapy and act in accordance with their Code of Ethics ( Trainees can secure Garda vetting through the IAPTP.

Programme Aims and Objectives

We are committed to training leading practitioners who are professionally competent in the expanding field of psychotherapy and who will have a specialisation in the use of play and creative approaches. As the longest established and foremost provider of this training in Ireland we have a responsibility to respond to the needs of the sector and to the increasing demand for training of prospective students and the continuing professional development of graduates and allied professionals.

This 4 year course is based on three constructs of learning – theoretical, experiential and clinical, which form a central core of learning defined as 'professional practice' worked from a belief in the creative and therapeutic potential of relationships and play mediums. These three areas embody key features of knowledge, skills and competence in the professional practice of play therapy and psychotherapy. We see learning as involving three complimentary, interlinked and interweaving strands of skills, theory and personal development that cannot totally be separated into component parts – for us, the whole is definitely more that the sum of the parts! In putting this into practice we place a high emphasis on experiential learning while ensuring that the emphasis on academic learning is simultaneously maintained.

Programme Aims of the Postgraduate Diploma in Arts in Play Therapy
•To develop the learners' understanding of the principles underlying play therapy and psychotherapy and develop skills in utilizing play and creative mediums in their work with appropriate clients throughout the lifespan.
•Provide learners with knowledge, skills and competence to initiate and manage the professional delivery of play therapy and associated counselling services and practice in compliance with a relevant professional code of ethics.
•Equip learners to demonstrate the expertise to work therapeutically with a wide range of individuals and groups within a variety of clinical, community and/or educational settings.

Programme Aims of the MA Creative Psychotherapy (Humanistic and Integrative Modality)

Includes the aims of the interim award (Postgraduate Diploma in Play Therapy) plus the following:
•Build on prior clinical training and supervised practice to equip the learner to extend their client base, which may already include children, adolescents and adults, to include practice with more complex referral issues including trauma.
•Provide learners with the knowledge, skills and competence to initiate and manage the professional delivery of creative psychotherapy services and implement new models of practice through an advanced ability to compare and critique a range of models and integrate relevant theory and clinical practice.
•Critically evaluate and reflect on the effectiveness of their practice, including the relevance of their own personal process within the therapeutic relationship.
•Provide learners with opportunities for personal development that will facilitate increased self-awareness, and an understanding of the process of healing through the medium of person-centred and humanistic and integrative psychotherapies utilising creative mediums.
•To enable learners to carry out, analyse and present research with relevance to the field of psychotherapy.

•To develop the trainees' person-centred counselling skills, enhance the ability to develop therapeutic relationships, and become skilled in responding therapeutically to the client's play, words, and non-verbal communications.
•To introduce the trainees to a range of models of psychotherapy and play therapy, and the use of expressive arts in the therapeutic and developmental process.
•To develop the trainees' understanding of the principles underlying play therapy and psychotherapy and develop skills in utilising play and creative mediums including music, movement, storytelling, symbolism, metaphor, art, drama, and sand play in their work.
•To facilitate the personal and professional development of the trainees both through the group process and by providing other opportunities for increased self-awareness and growth in maturity.
•To develop the trainees' ability to assess the client's therapeutic needs and provide appropriate services and/or refer onwards as appropriate.
•To equip trainees with clinical skills to engage confidently in child and adolescent psychotherapy sessions, utilising play therapy and the creative arts, and in support sessions with their adult carers.
•To equip trainees with clinical skills to engage confidently in counselling and, later, psychotherapy sessions with adults if they choose relevant optional subjects.
•To equip trainees with clinical skills to engage competently and professionally in psychotherapy sessions with adult clients if they choose relevant optional subjects.
•To facilitate trainees in understanding and critically reflecting on lifespan development, psychotherapy, and associated relevant theoretical frameworks, including newly emerging knowledge, to enable the use of theory to inform professional practice.
•To enable each trainee to discover the integration of theoretical frameworks and practice models that works best for them as a therapist in enabling them to be authentic in their relationships with clients.
•To raise the trainees' awareness of the relevant current legal and ethical frameworks.
•To facilitate trainees in developing an understanding of the relevant research issues and methods.

We aim to provide trainees with opportunities for personal development that will facilitate increased self-awareness, and an understanding of the process of healing through the medium of person-centred and humanistic and integrative psychotherapies utilising creative mediums. This will assist each trainee in the integration of any unresolved issues, facilitating emotional development and the attainment of greater maturity, thus preparing them to provide safety and containment in therapeutic relationships with children, adolescents, and adults. In combination with our focus on safe working practices, ethical considerations and skills development, this will contribute to providing a secure foundation for therapeutic work with clients of all ages.

We pay particular attention to working in respectful, non-intrusive ways that respect the clients' potential to direct their own healing, at their own pace, within a therapeutic environment and within the context of a therapeutic relationship with a congruent, accepting, non-judgemental, therapist. The utilisation of play and creative approaches is seen as central in activating true creativity and spontaneity – the freedom to be oneself.

Further Details and information on other courses from: Eileen Prendiville at 087 6488149, or Facebook:

APT Approved Provider 11-294

Entry requirements

Registering for the QQI award: Direct Entry

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, counseling, psychotherapy etc.) or equivalent
•Have at least one to two years relevant professional (paid or voluntary) experience (for example, social care, counsellor, helpline worker, childcare, social work, education or nursing)
•Be able to demonstrate 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
•Successfully undertake a selection interview
•Commit to full attendance at the course

Registering for the QQI award: Indirect Entry

A small number of applicants, with extensive relevant professional experience, who do not have a suitable degree may be eligible for entry to the academic programme via Recognition of Prior Learning (e.g. completion of training that was at a lower academic level than is generally required). Such applicants must demonstrate, and provide evidence to attest to their acquisition of suitable learning outcomes in a relevant area.


4 years part-time

Further enquiries

Further Details and information on other courses from: Eileen Prendiville at 087 6488149, or Facebook:

Subjects taught

Subject Strands

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 MA 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

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 Sandtray 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 core trainers (included in course fee). 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 an understanding of the counselling and psychotherapy process, coupled with developing skills and a knowledge base to work with clients, including adolescents, with more challenging issues and complex life histories. Emphasis is given to counselling and psychotherapy through 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 Jungian Sandplay Therapy and Gestalt Therapy approaches in clinical practise, as well as an insight into other relevant approaches to psychotherapy, theories of change and human development.

Supervised clinical practice continues with clients of diverse ages.

In this year there are a mixture of 1, 2 and 3 day modules. Open House days continue.

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. Trainees will engage in clinical practice throughout the year and will attend regular supervision sessions with assigned trainers/supervisors. These sessions will incorporate a significant training element and will 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. Those taking the optional module in relation to adult clients will also receive a CTC Diploma in Humanistic & Integrative Psychotherapy.

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.

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.

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, support session with parents, and counselling sessions with 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 is included in course fee; additional privately funded supervision is also required both during the course itself and the pre-accreditation period.



The venue for many of the on-site training days is in Ballymore, (near Moate) Co. Westmeath, where we have a purpose built and fully equipped and resourced training centre. Some modules are also delivered at alternative locations (generally therapy centres) including Limerick, Claremorris and Leixlip. Library facilities are available.

Trainees complete their clinical practice (from 2nd year onwards) in their own area. Fortnightly supervision sessions take place at a variety of locations around the country.

Assessment method

Professional Training Assessment Components:
•Self, peer, trainer and supervisor assessment.
•Self-awareness, maturity, and ability to work with group dynamics.
•Satisfactory participation, development and demonstration of appropriate skills and competencies in relation to each module as set and assessed by module tutors.
•Completion of course requirements and assignments to acceptable standard
•Satisfactory attendance and timekeeping.

Application date

Processing Applications

We begin processing applications approximately six months prior to the start of the course, although applicants are advised to apply as early as possible. The first stage our process is a review of the application form and documents. A short list of applicants are selected for interview. Interviews for the course stating in June 2018 took place in January and those for the group staring in August will take place between Feb and March/April. When all places have been allocated the intake for this year will close and subsequent applications will be held for 2019.

Course fee

The course fee is €3990 per annum (including some books, library access etc). Trainees are facilitated in making a payment plan, to suit their individual circumstances where necessary rather than being required to pay for the year in advance although the full fee is due for each person starting on the course. The additional fee for academic registration and certification with QQI is currently set by QQI at €200 for each Level 9 award (Postgraduate Diploma (2nd yr) and MA (4th yr).

The course is eligible for tax relief under section 473A, Taxes Consolidation Act, 1997. Details available from Revenue (Revenue Leaflet IT 1 'Tax Credits, Rates and Reliefs' and IT 31 'Tax Relief for Tuition Fees in respect of Third Level education) or from

Enrolment and start dates

Course Dates for 2018-2019

There will be two intakes in 2018. The course runs for the full day on each date. The following dates are provisional and subject to change.

Group 1 (Full): 29th June–2nd July (Limerick), 17th–19th August (Westmeath), 28th–30th Sept (Limerick), 24th– 25th Nov (Westmeath), 1st-3rd Feb (Limerick), 16th-18th March (Westmeath), 18th -19th May (Westmeath)

Group 2: 24th –27thAugust (Limerick), 13th–15th October (Westmeath), 30th Nov – 2nd Dec (Limerick), 19th-20th Jan (Westmeath), 22nd–24th Feb (Westmeath) 12th–14th April (Westmeath) 1st– 2nd June (Westmeath)

Course Dates for 2017-2018

Year 1: 2017 – 2018: 24th – 27th August 17, 14th – 16th October, 1st – 3rd Dec, 15th – 18th Feb, 13th – 15th Apr, and 2nd – 4th June.

Year 2 (1): 8th– 10th Sept, 20th – 21st Oct, 10th – 12th Nov, 8th – 9th Dec, 6th – 7th Jan, 10th – 11th Feb, 10th – 11th Mar, 6th – 8th Apr, 21st April, and 11th – 13th May.

Year 2 (2): 22nd– 24th Sept, 22nd – 23rd (or 27th – 28th) Oct, 24th – 26th Nov, 10th – 11th Dec, 20th – 21st Jan, 24th – 25th Feb, 24th – 25th Mar, 27th – 29th Apr, 21st April, and 18th – 20th May.

Year 3: 15th – 17th Sept, 6th – 8th Oct, 17th – 19th Nov, 16th – 17th Dec, 13th – 14th Jan, 3rd – 4th Feb, 17th – 19th March, 20th – 22nd Apr. Case Presentations 20th, 26th, 27th May.

Year 4: 29th May, 1st – 3rd Sept, 29th Sept – 1st Oct, 29th – 30th Oct, 18th – 19th Nov, 19th – 21st Jan, 3rd – 4th Mar/11th -12th March, 21st
Apr. Also child protection training and online course.

Peer group meetings, personal therapy, clinical practice, and clinical supervision sessions take place between the modules listed above. There is also an online learning site for each group plus online courses. An online site for Academic Writing support is also provided.

See for details of upcoming course dates as they are set

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