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MNU Named 1st University for Theraplay® Coursework

MNU Named 1st University for Theraplay® Coursework

More information:
Contact: Carol Best
(913) 971-3586

MidAmerica Nazarene University became the first university in the nation to be approved to teach Theraplay® in its Play Therapy Certificate Program last week. Theraplay is a branch of play therapy (a form of mental health counseling) created by the founders of the Theraplay® Institute in Chicago, Ill. The approach is used to treat children with attachment issues, trauma, developmental delays or behavioral problems such as opposition.

According to Gayle Christensen, executive director of The Theraplay Institute, MNU was chosen for approval in part because of the university’s reputation as an Association of Play Therapy Approved University Center.

The Theraplay Institute, founded in 1971, sets international standards for Theraplay treatment and training. The Institute maintains a certification program, and only certified Theraplay trainers are qualified to provide Theraplay training that is officially recognized by The Theraplay Institute.

Adding Theraplay to the curriculum at MNU gives MNU therapy students a stronger base for their practice, according to Rebeca Chow, MNU’s play therapy program coordinator.

“As one of three major branches of play therapy, Theraplay is something therapists should understand,” Chow says. “This will expose them to another treatment option, especially beneficial for those clients with attachment and relationship disorders.”

“As an APT Approved Center we know that MidAmerica Nazarene University has a certain level of quality,” Christensen said.  “Since the MNU faculty includes Theraplay Certified Trainer, Marlo Winstead, they [MNU] have met our requirements for partnership in offering Theraplay training.”

The Theraplay Institute’s long-term goal is to get the training into more universities because it is one of the core elements for play therapists.  “We’re so happy the first university that we could approve was MidAmerica Nazarene University,” she said.

More than 80 students have enrolled in the Play Therapy Certificate Program at MNU since its inception in 2004. Students must hold a master’s degree and be licensed in a mental health field. Classes are held one weekend per month or online and the certificate can be completed in one year. Enrollment is limited and the next session begins in January 2010.

For more information on the Certificate in Play Therapy Program at MNU contact Rebeca Chow at (913) 971-3710,, or visit

MidAmerica Nazarene University, founded in 1966, is a private, liberal arts university offering more than 40 undergraduate degrees and adult degree completion, as well as five professional graduate degrees in business, education, and counseling, and a post-graduate certificate in play therapy. MNU is located on a 105-acre campus in Olathe, Kan., and operates a location in Liberty, Mo., for adult and graduate programs. MNU is the home to Bell Cultural Events Center, Olathe’s premiere venue for fine arts performances.

General Information:
Play Therapy Certificate Program:

Theraplay is a registered service mark of The Theraplay Institute, 3330 Old Glenview Road, #8, Wilmette, IL 60091.

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