Why pursue a Graduate Certificate in Play Therapy?
The Graduate Certificate in Play Therapy trains students to intervene therapeutically with children by using a comprehensive multimodal approach. It is unique in that the program offers a practical and hands-on approach to the profession of play therapy. Students work directly with children during their training, participating in supervised play therapy practice sessions. Many programs offer only one or two courses to prepare clinicians to work with children. Those working in the field with children who have experienced complex psychosocial issues often feel overwhelmed and ill-prepared for the reality of the work. This Graduate Certificate was created to address this need and to provide professionals and students with five core courses that offer concrete, evidence-based, foundational hands-on training in play therapy.
This graduate certificate is suitable for professionals working in related fields such as psychology, social work, education and creative arts therapists seeking to increase their skill level and to develop new skills through continuing education. Courses are taught in one-week intensives (one course per week) running from May to June. Students spend four days in class and Friday is spent as a reflection day or reading day.
Bachelor's degree in Psychology, Social Work, Youth Work, Child Studies, Early Childhood and Elementary Education, Teaching and other related fields in the provision of mental health or educational services, or equivalent.
Applicants lacking a relevant undergraduate degree but able to demonstrate evidence of a professional background, including experience working with children in emotional distress within health, social or educational services may be considered for admission on a case by case basis.
Proficiency in English. Applicants whose primary language is not English must demonstrate that their knowledge of English is sufficient to pursue graduate studies in their chosen field. Please refer to the Graduate Admission page for further information on the Language Proficiency requirements and exemptions.
Play is a form of communication and is the central language of Play Therapy. Child Centered Play Therapy is an effective, innovative, and scientifically validated treatment for children. The goal of play therapy is to learn how to understand a child’s communication through play, as well as to intervene both verbally and through play to help the child heal. Play therapy is uniquely positioned to assess, treat and evaluate the progress of children, adolescents and families experiencing social, behavioural, and psychological issues.
While the focus is on a child-centered approach, students also learn Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) techniques with children, group play therapy, school-based techniques, trauma and neurobiologically- informed and attachment-based approaches. In addition, students learn Theraplay, Parent-Child Relationship Therapy and Filial, all of which involve both parents and children. Students are introduced to assessment tools and ethical and culturally responsive practices.
The Department of Creative Arts Therapies is pleased to be working with play therapy pioneers Dr. Garry Landreth and Dr. Dee Ray at the Center for Play Therapy at the University of North Texas. Students who graduate from the Concordia Graduate Certificate in Play Therapy will also receive a certificate from the Center for Play Therapy for Child-Centered Play Therapy (CCPT) 101, and Child-Centered Play Therapy (CCPT) 102 and Child-Parent Relationship Therapy (CRPT) 101 and Child Parent Relationship Therapy (CRPT) 102.
The Graduate Certificate consists of the following five courses, taught in one-week intensives (one course per week) running from May to June.
PLTH 501 Play Therapy 1 Introduction to Play Therapy
This course introduces the history, major models and processes of play therapy. The basic model of child-centered play therapy, which evolved from the humanistic psychotherapy model, is explored through both theory and practice. Topics such as trauma, negative life experiences, the impact of these experiences on the brain and the child’s development are introduced and will continue to be explored in other course material. This course introduces students to the four main structures which contain a play therapy session. Evaluation and assessment in play therapy is addressed. This course covers common themes in play therapy acknowledging the cultural diversity of clients, record keeping, preparation for the ending of the therapy relationship and the essential materials for an effective and culturally sensitive playroom.
PLTH 502 Play Therapy 2 Cognitive-Behavioural Child-Centered Play Therapy
This course focuses on the theories and techniques that inform CBT and their application in play therapy. Topics include the cognitive model and cognitive behavioural therapy assessment and evaluation, session structure, and directive interventions in play therapy.
PLTH 503 Play Therapy 3 Child-Centered Group Play Therapy
This course emphasizes the philosophy and rationale for group work with children and pre-adolescents. Focus is on the goals of group therapy, the role of the play therapist, screening and selection of group members, play and activities at various developmental levels, and planning and structuring sessions. Building on PLTH 502, this course covers when to integrate CBT into child-centered group play therapy.
PLTH 504 Play Therapy 4 Relational Play Therapy and Filial Play Therapy
This course focuses on the history, theoretical foundations, research, and practical applications of relational and filial play therapy. In particular, students examine the techniques and models to work with parents including the Guerney, VanFleet and Landreth and Bratton models based on attachment and self-regulation theories. Students learn techniques to support the attunement of parents to their children and facilitate a more secure attachment and the strengthening of family bonds.
PLTH 505 Play Therapy 5 Neurobiology and Attachment in Play Therapy
This course covers neurobiological attachment theories within child-centered play therapy. This course focuses on understanding how trauma impacts neurological development and the treatment of trauma using child-centered play therapy.