Play therapy can be a great choice for children who are struggling with mental health issues, major life changes, or behavioral challenges. However, any parent who is going to enroll their child in sessions with a play therapist will want to be assured that the therapist has gone through robust training to effectively support their child.

They will also want to be informed of the therapist’s official qualifications and certifications. What is a Registered Play Therapist, and what does play therapy entail?

A Registered Play Therapist has gone through extensive training in helping children work through their own problems, expressing their emotions and frustrations, and improving their interactions with other children and adults. This is a developmentally appropriate form of therapy for kids between the ages of 2 through 12. It can be fun, enjoyable, and effective!

A Registered Play Therapist can support children in the healing process through playful, creative activities and storytelling. Here are the qualifications necessary to become a Registered Play Therapist.

Required Licensing

All therapists must have a license to practice, and play therapists are no exception to this rule. A license is key to becoming a play therapist.

A mental health practitioner cannot become a play therapist without an existing license. In order to become a Registered Play Therapist, one must already have a license to independently practice counseling, marriage and family therapy, psychology, social work, or psychiatry.

Educational Degree

A Registered Play Therapist must also possess a relevant degree from an institute of higher education. They must have a Master’s degree or higher from a program that required a wide range of courses.

Their curriculum has to include coursework in a variety of subjects, including child development, ethics, child and adolescent psychopathy, principles of psychotherapy, and theories of personality.

Play Therapy Instruction

Someone who is studying to become a Registered Play Therapist must also go through specific instruction in play therapy throughout their degree program. Furthermore, this instruction must be formally documented.

Over a period of two to seven years, one must engage in 150 hours of documented instruction in play therapy. These hours have to take place at an institute of higher education or through an APT-approved provider. They will have to study subject areas like history, seminal and historically significant theories, skills and methods, and other topics of their own choosing.

Their instruction can cover subjects like Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Adlerian Therapy, Child Centered Therapy, and more.

Supervised Play Therapy Experience

Naturally, before practicing independently, an aspiring play therapist will need to complete supervised play therapy experience. This experience will be overseen and documented by a Registered Play Therapist acting as an official supervisor.

Anyone who wants to work as a Registered Play Therapist has to record 350 direct client contact hours.

Play Therapy Supervision

Someone who is studying to become a Registered Play Therapist must also get recorded feedback from their supervisor. To earn this title and complete the Play Therapy supervision requirements, they need to go through a minimum of 35 hours of play therapy supervision. They also need to have five sessions under direct observation with a supervisor.

During these sessions, they need to demonstrate their skills in several core competencies. These include knowledge and understanding of play therapy, professional engagement, and a mastery of crucial play therapy skills. Once someone has successfully fulfilled these requirements, they will be able to work as an independent Registered Play Therapist.

Is your child struggling with anxiety, trauma, or another problem? It may be time to seek a Registered Play Therapist. Reach out to us today to discuss your options for scheduling your first session.

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