Play Therapy Ireland (PTIrl)
- is a not for profit organisation
dedicated to promoting the use of play and creative arts therapies as ways of
enabling children to reach their full potential. We are funded mainly by
our membership subscriptions with fees for services provided and secondarily by philanthropic
investments. On this page we summarise:
Our Mission and Purpose
Who we are for?
Play Therapy Ireland
Our Constitution and Structure
To maintain our position as the leading professional body, in
Ireland, dedicated to
promoting the use of play and creative arts therapies (the therapies) as
ways of enabling children to reach their full potential by alleviating
emotional, behaviour and mental health problems.
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PTIrl exists to further the good practice of
therapeutic work with children. This includes improving children's
emotional literacy as well as alleviating behaviour and mental health
problems. We believe that the use of various forms of recognised therapies
to help children fulfil their potential and overcome emotional and
behavioural problems has reached a crucial stage in Ireland.
A prime need is to combine, co-ordinate and
integrate the valuable skills that all therapists possess for the benefit of
all children in need.
Since therapeutic work with children draws
its strength from a multi-disciplinary approach, it is vital to be
completely open in considering and accepting many different approaches for
working with children. Play therapy is a comparatively recent
discipline. Because of its relative newness it is important that
its evolution is encouraged, that new ideas and methods are considered,
tried and evaluated.
PTIrl welcomes into full membership anyone who
has satisfactorily completed a recognised course for working therapeutically
with children such as drama, art, music, dance and movement - as all these
disciplines may be used on their own or as an integrative part of play
therapy. They all have an equally valuable contribution to make.
PTIrl is a forum for working together with a
respect for each other's role.
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Practitioner Membership is open, at various levels, to ALL
working therapeutically with children AND
also to those who have an
interest in the subject:
- Play Therapists
- Music Therapists
- Dance & Movement Therapists
- Art Therapists
- Drama Therapists
- Sandplay Therapists
- Occupational Therapists
- Nursery/Primary Teachers
- Special Needs Teachers
- Learning Assistants
- Child Care Workers
- Social Workers
Play Workers and anyone who is training
to work with children and wishes to acquire play or creative arts
therapy skills at sometime.
To act as a professional organisation for anyone working therapeutically
with children in Ireland.
To promote the benefits of therapeutic work with children.
To set standards
and provide an
training and other resources
therapeutic work with children by working with training providers,
disseminating information and accrediting appropriate courses in creative
therapies. PTIrl aims to form links with a number of colleges and other
specialised training providers which can offer a variety of Introductory,
Certificate, Diploma, Supervisor and Trainer courses up to Post Graduate
To promote and advance discussion,
education and research in play therapy, creative arts therapies and child
objectives are set out formally in the Memorandum
and Articles of Association.
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Play Therapy Ireland's constitution reflect s the principles of its founding
members and those enacted successfully by PTI and PTUK:
- A wide range of therapeutic interventions using play or creative arts
therapies can be used to benefit many children. A qualified practitioner
requires a range of ‘tools’ including: art, creative visualisations, clay,
dance/movement, drama, masks, music, puppets, sandplay and therapeutic
- Many practitioners, working in a variety of settings, as well as ‘Play
Therapists’ can use these interventions safely and effectively if
supported by an appropriate professional infrastructure.
- The infrastructure must include a modern ethical system that embodies
clinical governance as well as the provision of ethical guidelines, a
professional conduct procedure and a register of certified members.
- PTIrl must provide a lead and meet all of the obligations required of a
- The varied needs of the children, their carers, commissioning
organisations and users of the therapies together with the existing
skills, aspirations and resources of potential and existing practitioners
must be realistically accommodated in setting standards of competence and
training. The emphasis must be on what a practitioner can do
not merely what a practitioner knows.
- The organisation structure must be sufficiently flexible to enable
decisions to be taken quickly, reflect the needs of the public and
practitioner members, enable innovation to take place and alter according
to growth and changing needs. We do not want to be bogged down by
numerous committees or bureaucratic procedures that so often hamper the
progress of other professional associations. We believe that the
majority of members are content to be consulted on important issues but do
not have the time to be closely involved in decision taking. The
direction of some professional organisations, with a traditional
organisation, can be high-jacked by a small cabal using 'democratic'
procedures. PTIrl believes that liberty is an even more important
principle than democracy in corporate governance.
- PTIrl will work collaboratively with any organisation that aims to
The governing documents are the Memorandum and Articles of Association,
since the term ‘constitution’ is not a term which is generally used within
the Companies Act and is not defined generally by the Act. These two
documents together form a ‘constitution’.
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The first major play therapy event in Ireland was Play Therapy International's (PTI)
World Congress in 2000 and held at Trinity College, Dublin. The
President of Ireland gave an inspiring address to the 200 delegates. A PTI
member, Aideen Taylor de Faoite of Galway, devoted a huge amount of energy
to the local organisation in making the event a big success and resulted in
putting play therapy on the map in Ireland. Audrey Gregan, a very
experienced PTI member, was a pioneering Play Therapist in Ireland who urged
the adoption of high professional standards and training.
Because play therapy is an emerging profession, it is difficult to establish a fully
fledged professional organisation without 'pump priming' financial,
administrative and practical support. This support offered by PTI and
PTUK and was accepted.
PTIrl was inaugurated on 28th April 2003. Its founding
members had been working as Play Therapists for a number of years in Ireland having received training
accredited by PTI and PTUK and, in the absence of an equivalent organisation
in Ireland, were members of these organisations. Because the PTUK model was
adopted as the basis for PTIrl and there is a close working relationship
between these organisations we give some of this background below.
Although this close relationship exists, PTIrl is a totally separate,
autonomous organisation registered in Ireland (company number 370347) for the benefit of Irish
children and practitioners.
Play Therapy (UK) – The United Kingdom Society for Play and
Creative Arts Therapies Limited (known in short as PTUK) was originally set
up in October 2000 as Play Therapy UK. It was established as an alternative
governing body and professional organisation to provide a choice for
practitioners of and anyone interested in using therapeutic play, play
therapy or creative arts therapies to help children with emotional literacy,
behaviour and mental health problems.
It was felt, by a number of practitioners at that time, that the existing
professional association in the UK was too restrictive in its membership criteria, had
course accreditation standards that did not meet the needs to produce the
large numbers of safe and effective practitioners that are required in the
United Kingdom and was insufficiently open or innovative in its policies.
Since then PTUK has grown to be the largest organisation in the UK in the
field of therapeutic play and play therapy and has a proud record of
innovation. This includes the ‘Spectrum
’ and ‘Therapeutic
‘ concepts that recognise that children have a wide range
of emotional, behaviour and mental health problems and that professionals
with a variety of interventions and skill levels can safely and effectively
alleviate these conditions.
was introduced to provide better protection for both the
public and therapists. This incorporates an ethical framework, professional
conduct procedure and a
requirement which places PTUK in the forefront of setting high professional
standards. PTIrl has adopted these for use in Ireland until our
Members wish to amend it in the light of their experience.
In 2002 PTUK developed the
(PSM), based on a competency framework, using the
experience of a number of international play therapists. This was the first
major innovation concerning the organisation of the profession since it
started in the UK. It provides a basis for:
- clear communication with commissioners and users of the therapies
- guidance upon the selection and recruitment of therapists
- career planning
- the identification of training and CPD needs
- the design of training courses and programmes
- setting remuneration scales
- job performance appraisal
The PSM is available for use by PTIrl Members.
The international database of play therapy clinical outcomes
was funded by PTUK and development was started. The first results were
published in 2003. This major source of quantitative play therapy research
now (March 2006) has data for over 400 cases. PTIrl is contributing data and
benefits from the research.
In 2003 PTUK accredited the first MA in Practised Based Play Therapy programme in
the UK, designed and run by the Academy of
Play and Child Psychotherapy
(APAC) and validated by the University College Chichester. This is a modular post graduate play
therapy training programme in three parts: Certificate in Therapeutic Play
Skills, Diploma in Play Therapy and MA by Dissertation. It has emerged as
the most coherent, practice based, post-graduate play therapy training
programme in the world. It has the largest number of students
currently enrolled with several hundred students from 12 countries. It
is unique in measuring the clinical outcomes of its students' work.
Because of the growth in the number of students the academic management of
the programme was transferred in January 2006 from the University of
Chichester to National University of Ireland. It is now delivered at
Marino Conference Centre, Dublin and at present is the only PTI
accredited course in Ireland.
In November 2005 PTIrl, with the
help and support of PTI, organised the largest play therapy conference to
date in Dublin with 220 delegates.
Audrey Gregan the first Chief Executive managed PTIrl from July 2007 to October 2013. It is planned that a new Chief Executive will be appointed by February 2014.
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PTIrl's policy is to work both directly and
through PTI with any other
professional societies, associations and institutions whose members work
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- The Professional Standards Authority (PSA)' -the UK regulator of health regulators
PTUK, having worked closely with the Professional Standards Authority http://professionalstandards.org.uk to develop standards and processes for the new Accredited Register programme, had its accredited Register of Play Therapy and Creative Arts Therapists approved in April 2013. This Register includes all Irish Play Therapists and Practitioners in Therapeutic Play Skills who meet the high standards required. http://www.playtherapyregister.org.uk/.
These rigorous standards are used as de facto standards in Ireland to protect the public and assure the quality of practice, until the Irish Government sets its own