Play Therapy

Play Therapy can be added as a concentration to the MS in Clinical Mental Health Counseling, MS in Couples and Family Therapy, MEd in School Counseling and MEd in School Psychology programs or pursued as a stand-alone graduate certificate.

This is a post-master’s certificate designed to provide school and mental health counselors and school psychologists with useful, research-based tools and techniques to help children and adolescents through a variety of social, emotional, behavioral, and learning difficulties, including post-traumatic stress disorder, conduct disorder, aggression or impulsive anger, anxiety, depression, ADHD, and low self-esteem.

See the schedule of play therapy courses

PSU’s play therapy courses prepare post-master’s counseling professionals and master’s degree students with prior coursework in counseling children with the necessary 150-hour educational requirement to gain the Registered Play Therapist credential through the Association for Play Therapy.

Registered Play Therapists and Registered Play Therapists-Supervisors are licensed or certified practitioners, including school-based counselors, who have earned a master’s degree or advanced mental health degree; have taken 150 or more hours of specialized play therapy training; and have documented 500 hours of clinical and play therapy specific experience under supervision with a Registered Play Therapist-Supervisor. Supervision is not provided by the University, but is available from Registered Play Therapist-Supervisors in the area.

Required Courses

  • 1
    This course provides a broad overview of the major theories of play therapy. It covers the history of play therapy, therapeutic properties of play, developmental perspectives, beliefs, and techniques. Discussion and case histories will demonstrate the application of these theories to the playroom. Class format includes lectures, discussions, experimental practice and self-reflection.
  • 1
    Students are prepared with therapeutic skills and experience in implementing Child Centered theory in the play therapy process. Class format includes lectures, discussions, personal reflection, skill development and videotape of a session demonstrating skills for group supervision.
  • 1
    Course participants will gain skills in the use of metaphoric play therapies. A broad overview of expressive methods including sand tray therapy, bibliotherapy, and puppet play will be explored and related to current play theraphy theoretical models. Class format includes lectures, discussions, sand tray exploration and skill development.
  • 1
    This course offers an in depth study of special client populations including spectrum disorders, sensory deficits, ADHD, and children with dysregulation and anger issues. Efficacy-based play therapy methods and assessments will be discussed. Class format includes lectures, discussions, reflections, case histories and skill development.
  • 4

    Students take four, one-credit special topics courses

    This course offers an in-depth study of a particular topic, contemporary issue or concern. The course will be taught by a specialist within the field being studied. A faculty member can also coordinate a series of guest speakers who will meaningfully address the topic. Since topics vary, the course may be repeated with permission of the instructor.
  • Total for Play Therapy – 8 credits

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