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Apprenticeship training course

Play therapist (level 7)

Work to improve children’s mental health, emotional well-being, learning capabilities and social relationships.

Qualification level
Equivalent to master’s degree.
Typical duration
36 months
Apprenticeship category
Care services
Maximum funding
Maximum amount government will fund
for apprenticeship training.
Also known as
  • Accredited play therapist
  • Certified play therapist
  • Practitioners in therapeutic play skills
Skills an apprentice will learn
  • Apply in practice play in child development with children and early adolescents
  • Identify, acquire and manage the safe use of materials and equipment for use in the playroom for therapeutic purposes these are: paper, art materials, clay, sand, sand trays with symbols, musical instruments, puppets, dressing-up clothes, water, movements items, this is an example of the minimum therapeutic media required which would be adapted to meet the physical needs of the children
  • Recognise personal issues that arise as a result of sessions with children, clinical supervision and training; takes actions such as personal therapy or CPD to deal with these
  • Apply neurobiology to work with children in observation, assessment, during sessions and reporting upon clinical outcomes
  • Manages the consultation process through interview and discussion skills, adequate assessment of client needs, obtaining consent, agreeing a therapy contract including therapeutic objectives or making a referral to another professional concerned with children’s well-being if the case is outside their competence or resources
  • Make clinical assessments using psychometric tools such as the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ)
  • Applies a theoretical framework to play therapy practice including child development and attachment theory
  • Use the Integrative Holistic Model of Play Therpay: therapeutic stories, clay, role play, drawing and painting, puppets, games, sand-play, music, movement, creative visualisations, masks, dressing up, blocks/lego, water, messy play, relaxation
  • Decide and practice when to work indirectly or directly, and with unconscious or conscious processes using the Play Therapy Dimensions Model as a guide to session activities
  • Plan and use play therapy for groups of children
  • Establish, agree and enforce boundaries to keep the children safe
  • Respond to different children’s behaviours such as aggressive/acting out or passive children in play therapy sessions
  • Assess and deliver play therapy interventions with a variety of conditions on a spectrum of needs from low risk to high risk as measured by the SDQ and other factors
  • Apply ethical principles to ensure personal safety within individual or group play therapy sessions.
  • Manages the handling of sensitive clinical data in practice
  • Ability to effectively communicate to stakeholders, parents and professionals identifying the on-going needs of the child

Full information on Play therapist (level 7) is available from the Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education.

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