Play Therapy Certificate Program:
Frequently Asked Questions

The Department of Counselor Education is currently accepting applications for the Spring 2019 Play Therapy Certificate Program. To learn more about this opportunity, please review the commonly asked questions below.

What is play therapy?

Play therapy is a developmentally appropriate and evidence-based approach to counseling children. Due to young clients’ brain development, they are unable to process trauma and other difficulties by talking about their thoughts, feelings, and perspectives as adults would. Instead, children use play and expressive materials to communicate and make sense of events that have occurred in their lives. With training, counselors are able to utilize materials within play therapy to facilitate this process and enhance the child’s development. Elements of play therapy and use of expressive arts are also very effective with adolescents and adults.

How will this certificate help me with future employment?

Among mental health practitioners, there is a recognized shortage of appropriately trained individuals prepared to use evidence-based and developmentally appropriate theories and techniques while counseling children and adolescents. By completing this certificate program, you will immediately be more competitive when applying for counseling positions that focus on these populations.

How many classes make up the certificate program and what would I learn in each?

There are four courses (three full courses plus a 9-week experiential lab) that make up the certificate program. They can potentially be completed over the course of two semesters. These courses include Play Therapy Theories & Practices, Play Therapy Service Learning Lab, Play Therapy with Families & Special Populations, and Play Therapy & Expressive Arts Techniques. Course descriptions are located on the Play Therapy course page.

Can I take any portion of this program online or as distance learning?

Due to the highly experiential nature of our play therapy training, we do not offer the courses online or have a distance learning option.

Who can apply for the program and what is the process for doing so?

Play Therapy Certificate students are either currently enrolled in or have graduated from a mental health-related master’s/doctoral degree program (e.g., Clinical Mental Health Counseling, School Counseling, Marriage and Family Counseling, Clinical Social Work, Psychology, or Psychiatry). 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. Applicants will submit a Play Therapy Certificate Program application along with an application fee, a professional resume, and official transcripts. Once accepted, students will also need to undergo a background screening in order to participate in the skills lab with child clients.

Do I earn graduate college credit or continuing education (CE) in the program?

Students in the Play Therapy Certificate program will choose to either earn 150 Continuing Education and Outreach (CE) hours approved by the Association for Play Therapy (APT Approved Provider #13-358) or 10 graduate credits by successfully completing all four courses. Students will designate whether they are credit- or CE-seeking on the program application.

What is the cost of the Play Therapy Certificate Program?

Please view the Course Fees page for information about the cost of the program for both the graduate credit track and the continuing education track.

Is there a national credential for being a play therapist? Must I have this credential to state that I practice play therapy?

The Association for Play Therapy does offer a Registered Play Therapist credential for licensed mental health professionals and outlines the requirements for obtaining this distinction on their website. The Play Therapy Certificate Program courses satisfy the 150 hours of Continuing Education and Outreach that is required. Once trained, practitioners may ethically practice play therapy without having the Registered Play Therapist credential.

If I am already licensed, will the courses in this program also qualify for CEUs toward keeping my current license active?

Stetson University is approved to offer continuing education for Social Workers, Marriage and Family Therapists, Mental Health Counselors, and Psychologists.

Who can I contact for more information regarding the Play Therapy Certificate Program?

If you would like more information about the program, please contact Page Thanasiu at or 386-822-8892.

For application information, please contact Midge McDaniel at or 321-939-7619.