Stetson University

Graduate Programs

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Play Therapy Certificate Program

The Play Therapy Certificate Program offers two tracks: one that offers graduate credit and a continuing education track. The program prepares counseling professionals to work with children, adolescents and their families by utilizing the most effective and developmentally appropriate theories and techniques. The three certificate courses are designed to address the history, theories, techniques and applications of play therapy and can be applied toward the educational requirements necessary for individuals seeking national Registered Play Therapist credentials. For information regarding this credential, mental health professionals should refer to the Association for Play Therapy website.

What is Play Therapy?

Play is the natural language of children and how they best communicate and develop in the world around them. A complication or series of complications in a child's life can disrupt healthy development. In play therapy, a mental health professional utilizes the therapeutic power of play to help children resolve a range of developmental and emotional difficulties and achieve optimal mental health. Play therapy promotes resiliency and assists children to develop holistically and enhance emotional intelligence. Elements of play therapy can also be used when counseling older children, adolescents, groups and families.

Who Provides Play Therapy?

Play therapy is a set of skills learned and practiced by professionals from multiple realms of mental health. The play therapy certificate program accepts applicants currently training or practicing within the fields of clinical mental health, marriage and family therapy, social work, school counseling, psychology and psychiatry.

Application Procedures

What is Required of Applicants?

Potential students for this program are either currently enrolled in or have graduated from a mental health-related master's or doctoral degree program. Minimally, students are expected to have successfully completed graduate-level coursework in the areas of child development, counseling theories and basic counseling skills appropriate to their profession.

Required Application Materials

All interested applicants must submit:

  • The play therapy certificate program online application
  • One time application fee
  • Professional resume
  • Official transcripts

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Courses

Play Therapy Theories and Practices

This course is a prerequisite for the remaining courses providing an overview of the essential elements and principles of play therapy, including history, theories, techniques, applications and skills. Students will be able to apply information toward creating a developmentally-appropriate play therapy room with proper materials. The course is highly experiential with a strong focus on basic play therapy skill development within the context of ethical and diversity-sensitive practice.

Play Therapy with Families and Special Populations

This course continues to build upon basic play therapy skill development and focuses on the case conceptualization and application of play therapy theories and techniques to families, groups and individual children belonging to special client populations. Topics of special focus will include treatment of trauma, grief, abuse and autism spectrum disorders. The course contains an experiential component focused on the demonstration of skill development within the context of diversity-sensitive practice.

Play Therapy and Expressive Arts Techniques

This course also continues to build upon basic play therapy skill development while focusing on the application of expressive arts techniques when counseling children, adolescents and families. Through an experiential format, students will learn to facilitate and process interventions utilizing expressive medium such as clay, painting, drawing, movement and sand tray.

More Information

If you're interested in applying for the Play Therapy Certificate Program, please contact the Stetson University Office of Graduate Admissions by emailing gradadmissions@stetson.edu or calling 386-822-7100.

If you'd like more information about the program, please contact Page Thanasiu, program coordinator, by emailing her at pthanasi@stetson.edu or calling 321-939-7611. You can also refer to the program brochure.

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