This is the first accredited programme of its kind here in Ireland to offer a comprehensive, experiential training in Play Therapy with the option to continue training so as to qualify as a Psychotherapist with a major emphasis on the practice of Play Therapy. While many courses address working with adult clients, our focus on younger clients is unique in a humanistic and integrative psychotherapy training, as is our intense focus on the use of play and creative therapies. 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/psychotherapists. 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)
The Childrens 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 90s. 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 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. 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.
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. Children must be approached and understood from a developmental perspective. They must not be viewed as miniature adults. Their world is one of concrete realities and their experiences are often communicated through play. Unlike adults whose natural medium of communication is verbalization, the natural medium of communication for children is play activity. (Landreth, 1991) 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.
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.
Unique Features of this training programme
Our training programme is very unusual in that it can qualify graduates to work therapeutically with clients of all ages: children, adolescents, and adults. While many courses address working with adult clients, our focus on younger clients is unique in a humanistic and integrative psychotherapy training, as is our intense focus on the use of play and creative therapies. Many of our trainees are attracted to our course specifically because of these two factors. Our experience has been that there is a lot of interest in training in the field of play therapy as part of a psychotherapy training and that many graduates from the social sciences are interested in pursuing a career as a therapist to work with children and adolescents in addition to adults. Some of our trainees choose to pursue optional modules, with external supervision, in relation to working with adults from 3rd year but this is not required. Many graduates will not choose to follow this path, instead choosing to retain the focus exclusively on child and adolescent practice.
Postgraduate Diploma in Arts in Play Therapy (60 level 9 credits)
This is probably the most in depth programme in play therapy that currently exists anywhere in the world. The professional body (Irish Association for Play Therapy and Psychotherapy) that recognises this course has the most stringent standards for this work, including a requirement for a minimum of 300 tutor learner contact hours greatly exceeding the training hours requirements of other play therapy professional bodies around the world (150 required by the Association for Play Therapy, 200 by the British Association for Play Therapy and by Play Therapy International). We have an extensive focus on the therapy process itself, intensive supervision by core trainers and we consider a broad range of human development theories, 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 clients 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 psychosocial difficulties and achieve optimal growth and development.
Graduates of the programme are eligible for professional accreditation as a play therapist, and the programme is already a recognised course of the Irish Association for Play Therapy and Psychotherapy (IAPTP). Many graduates have already achieved full accreditation.
Master of Arts in Creative Psychotherapy (Humanistic and Integrative Modality) additional 60 Level 9 credits.
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, adolescents, and also adults where appropriate (i.e. for learners who complete additional, separate, adult training and attend specialist supervision in relation to this component). 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, Gestalt, Jungian) throughout 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 meet the criteria of the European Certificate of Psychotherapy (ECP) for core psychotherapy training courses. Graduates of the four-year programme are eligible for professional accreditation as a psychotherapist and the course is already a recognised course of the Irish Association for Psychotherapy in Primary Care (IAP PC) and the IAPTP.