Play Therapy consists of a large number of treatment methods, all applying the therapeutic benefits of play. Play therapy differs from regular play in that the therapist helps children to address and resolve their own problems. Play therapy builds on the natural way that children learn about themselves and their relationships in the world around them.
Through play therapy, children learn to communicate with others, express feelings, modify behavior, develop problem-solving skills, and learn a variety of ways of relating to others. Play provides a safe psychological distance from their problems and allows expression of thoughts and feelings appropriate to their development.
This 12-credit hour program is a post-master’s certificate program since an M.A. or M.S. in Counselor Education, Marriage and Family Therapy, School Counseling, School Psychology, or Social Work is prerequisite for the program. Also, applicants must possess state licensure as a Licensed Clinical Mental Health Counselor, Licensed Professional Counselor, Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, Licensed School Psychologist, Licensed or Certified School Counselor or Licensed Clinical Social Worker.
Introduction to Play Therapy is a course taught through experiential, dyadic, dialectic and lecture methods to provide knowledge and skill competencies to facilitate play therapy as a therapeutic intervention for children and families. This course provides students with the philosophical basis of play therapy, including a review of the history of play therapy, and how to develop a relationship with a child through child-centered, prescriptive, Adlerien, and Ecosystemic theoretical frameworks. The course is an introduction to various theoretical applications and play therapy best practices. Students will become familiar with play therapy skills, the purpose and application goals of play therapy, therapeutic stages and themes, ethical issues, cross cultural/diversity implications, basic development and neurological implications, treatment planning in play therapy including development of treatment goals and assessment of treatment progress and application to a variety of populations and therapeutic contexts.
Group Play Therapy provides students with an opportunity to develop skills in group play therapy treatment. Students will learn the dynamics of groups in play therapy, specific strategies for developing play therapy groups, providing mental health interventions, and effectively utilizing the group dynamics to actualize healthy changes in individual child behavior. Students will learn the current best practices in group play therapy mental health treatment and evidence-based group play therapies. Students will learn contemporary assessment strategies, treatment planning, play therapy interventions, and treatment evaluation. Experiential learning will include Filial therapy, Play-Based Treatment for Families, School-Based Play Therapy, and Theraplay-Based groups.
Advanced Skills in Play Therapy builds upon knowledge of mental health treatment with specific modalities and techniques in play therapy. Students will explore nondirective and directive styles of play therapy and develop a protocol for selecting these styles for specific populations and presenting issues. Students will learn the current best practices in play therapy mental health treatment and evidence-based play therapies. Students will learn contemporary assessment strategies, treatment planning, play therapy interventions, and treatment evaluation.
student will integrate concepts from the Jongsma Child Psychotherapy Treatment Planner.