Play Therapy Certification Program


This course will explore play therapy from its earliest beginnings and the rationale from using play media in counseling children. The client-centered theoretical approach will be explored and its application to cases will be discussed. Emphasis will be on creating and maintaining a counseling relationship with children that allows for the effective use of play media.

This course will examine common childhood diagnoses that present for treatment, examine appropriate treatment plans for these diagnoses, discuss play themes within the context of child sessions, and discuss parent consultation methods. Students will have the opportunity to use these skills in conducting play sessions with children and parents.

The class covers key neural developmental processes and sequences that contribute to critical concepts that are applicable to play therapy techniques with children of varying ages, diagnoses, and social-emotional trauma. Concepts of emotional contagion, divisions of the nervous system, brain divisions, and executive versus autonomic control will be reviewed in relationship to critical clinical treatment decisions. This will cover use of verbal and nonverbal, affective and cognitive, directive and nondirective interventions, as well as the role of empathy in play therapy.

This course will introduce the use of sand tray therapy as a therapeutic technique. It will explore the history and rationale of sandtray therapy and cover fundamental and sandtray techniques with individuals, families and groups. Students will have the opportunity to experience sandtray activities and will discuss application of the skills with children.

In filial therapy, parents are partners in play therapy by actually having special play sessions with their own children. Students learn how to train and supervise parents in this process by role-playing in the playrooms at the MNU Play Therapy Center.

As a play therapist it is necessary to have a tool kit with a variety of play techniques for different presenting problems. This course explores some directed activities that can be used with children of divorce, trauma, ADHD, grief, and others.

I'm very impressed by this much-needed post-master's certificate program. Play therapy offers an effective, evidence based, and developmentally attuned way to help children and families deal with problems. MNU offers high quality training and supervised experience to professionals who wish to improve their effectiveness in working with children and families. MNU's top-notch instruction and supervision also provides a valuable service to the local community-a place to strengthen children and families! I wish there were more programs like this!

—Risë VanFleet, Ph.D., RPT-S, Child and Family Psychologist
President, Family Enhancement & Play Therapy Center, Inc.
Boiling Springs, PA

MNU is an APT Approved Center and an Approved Provider of Continuing Education (APT Approved Provider 07-198) and Theraplay® Regional Training Center.