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Four Stage Play Therapy Training Model
The Four Stage Play Therapy Training Model adopted by Play Therapy Ireland was originally developed by Play Therapy UK. It has been developed as part of the Profession Structure Model to support the Career Development Map.

The four stages of the training model span the entire career development map from initial entrant with no previous experience to Certified Play Therapists who wish to progress further eg MA in Practised Based Play Therapy, Supervisor, Trainer. (The  term 'stage'  is used to avoid confusion with university and QCA models that use levels).  The stages also cater for other professionals who wish to add therapeutic play skills to increase their clinical expertise and widen their client base. The training model and the competency framework provides a basis for training providers who wish to have their programmes and courses accredited by PTI.
1st Stage 2nd Stage 3rd Stage 4th Stage
Career Development Pathways


Short courses, workshops, seminars and programmes (typically 1 - 3 days) at this stage are extremely important since they:
  • Provide an experiential introduction to therapeutic play skills
  • Give participants some basic understanding of the history, informing theories and issues
  • Enable further career development decisions to be undertaken
Other longer learning programmes at this stage, including distance learning such as the Morita programme. These may provide sufficient grounding in the relevant psychological theories to enable successful participants, who have not previously acquired this knowledge to proceed to stage 2 programmes. These may also be viewed as foundation or conversion courses.

The material at this stage does not normally entitle participants to practice therapeutic play or play therapy skills with children or adults.

(Certificate stage)

Courses and programmes will normally be at  post-graduate level with sufficient theoretical, experiential and practical content to enable successful participants to use their skills with individual children who have slight to moderate conditions.

Training at this stage requires a minimum of 100 hours clinically supervised work with children as an essential part of the learning process. Participants are required to work within the PTIrl ethical System or an equivalent.

The award for those who successfully complete a PTI accredited programme at this stage will normally be a PTI Certificate of Therapeutic Play Skills.<

This is an essential stage for those who do not have:
  • adequate training or experience in psychology/creative based therapies
  • any experience of using play or creative arts therapies
(Diploma Stage)

Courses and programmes will normally be at the post-graduate level with sufficient theoretical, experiential and practical content to enable successful participants to use their skills with individual and groups of children who have moderate to severe conditions.

Training at this stage also requires a minimum of 100 hours clinically supervised work with children as an essential part of the learning process.  Participants are required to work within the PTIrl ethical System or an equivalent.

The award for those who successfully complete a PTI accredited programme at this stage will normally be a PTI Diploma in Play Therapy.

This stage provides:
  • A natural progression for those who have completed a stage 2 programme
  • An entry stage for experienced creative arts therapists, counsellors, psychotherapists and other mental health professionals.
(Advanced Stage)

Courses and programmes will normally be of a post-graduate stage with sufficient theoretical, experiential and practical content to enable successful participants to build upon their skills as a Play Therapist or practitioner with specialist play therapy skills.

Training at this stage may also require further hours of clinically supervised work with children as an essential part of the learning process. Participants are required to work within the PTIrl ethical System or an equivalent.

A variety of programmes at this stage may be offered for those wishing to become:

  • A Clinical Supervisor of Play Therapy
  • A Play Therapy Trainer
or
  • develop specialist skills incorporating play therapy such as filial therapy
  • or to be awarded an M.A. in Practised Based Play Therapy
This stage provides:

A natural progression for those who have completed a stage 3 programme
An entry stage for experienced and qualified Play Therapists


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