In play therapy, toys are the child’s words, and play is the child’s language. Therapists strategically use play to help children express what is troubling them when they do not have the verbal language to express their thoughts and feelings.
Formally, the Association for Play Therapy (APT) defines play therapy as "the systematic use of a theoretical model to establish an interpersonal process wherein trained play therapists use the therapeutic powers of play to help clients prevent or resolve psychosocial difficulties and achieve optimal growth and development."
Play therapy is a structured, theoretically based approach to expressive therapy that builds on the normal communicative and learning processes of children and has been shown to help them
- Become more responsible for behaviors and develop more successful strategies.
- Develop new and creative solutions to problems.
- Develop respect and acceptance of self and others.
- Learn to experience and express emotion.
- Learn new social skills and relational skills with family.
Play therapy can also be used effectively with some teenagers and adults to optimize learning, enhance relationships, improve health, and enhance social well-being.
Mental health professionals can add a set of skills to their repertoire that improves care for children and adults without the ability to verbally express their thoughts and feelings.
UC San Diego Extension meets the “Play Therapy Training” requirement of the Association for Play Therapy’s Registered Play Therapist
(RPT) and Registered Play Therapist-Supervisor
(RPT-S) credentials. See “Industry Certification” below for more detail.
Licensed therapists, therapist interns, and allied health professionals who work with children, adolescents, and their families.
The certificate program satisfies the instructional requirement of the Association for Play Therapy (APT) to become a Registered Play Therapist (RPT), as well as a Registered Play Therapist Supervisor (RPT-S). UC San Diego Extension is approved by the APT to offer continuing education specific to play therapy (APT Approved Provider 98-046
). Details about requirements and applications for the designations may be obtained from the Association for Play Therapy www.a4pt.org
Spring and summer 2021 courses:
The safety and health of our students, instructors, and staff is of the utmost importance to the Healthcare department at UCSD Extension. Due to the concerns and effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, all Play Therapy classes will be offered remotely via Zoom on the regularly scheduled day and time, at least through fall quarter, 2021.
Course sections scheduled will be offered remotely via Zoom
on the regularly scheduled day and time. Some courses require pre- or post-work. All courses require post-tests.
Early enrollment advised - class size limited by APT standards.
PSY-40404 Group Play Therapy Process to Facilitate Play & Social Skills and Self-Regulation (April 10, 9:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.; post-work required) (section 155433) OPEN
PSY-40398 Play Therapy in Schools (DATE CHANGE: April 24, 9:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.; pre-work may be required) (section 155434) OPEN
PSY-40398 Play Therapy in Schools (May 1, 9:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.; pre-work may be required) (section 155436) OPEN
PSY-40405 Involving Caregivers and Families in the Play Therapy Process (May 8, 9:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.; pre-work may be required) (section 155437) OPEN
PSY-40404 Group Play Therapy Process to Facilitate Play & Social Skills and Self-Regulation (May 15, 9:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.; post-work required) (section 155438) OPEN
PSY-40322 Play Therapy for Attachment Disorders (May 22, 9:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.; pre-work may be required) (section 155439) OPEN
PSY-40399 Introduction to Theraplay (May 29, 9:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.; post-work required) (section 153026) FULL
PSY-40322 Play Therapy for Attachment Disorders (June 5, 9:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.; pre-work may be required) (section 155435) OPEN
- # of courses: 22
- Total units: 11
- Estimated cost: $3,850
- Time to Complete: Minimum of eight quarters (24 months)
- Delivery: In-class
Military spouses are eligible to use My CAA $4000 scholarship. Apply at MyCAA.
There will be a $95 fee upon acceptance into the program