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‘From messy play to monsters’ A playful dance through NDP and EPR

A playful dance through Neuro-Dramatic Play, Embodiment-Projection-Role, and the Theatre of Resilience

A 1 day experiential workshop with Dr Sue Jennings       

Date: 4th September 2019     Fee: €110      

A one day practical workshop on the three strands of ‘DNA’ that constitute the play experience from conception to 7 years.  Throughout dramatic play is the dominant theme, whether verbal or non-verbal.  Dramatic play needs to be understood as a powerful drive in child development through which the infant develops empathy, increases their flexibility and becomes resilient to the ups and down of life.  We shall follow the continuum from ‘mess to form’ and from ‘chaos to order’ as we create havoc and then calm.  Be prepared to make a mess and challenge your basic play formalities!

Dramatic play needs to be understood as a powerful drive in child development from conception to 7 years of age through which the infant develops empathy, increases their flexibility and becomes resilient at coping with the ups and downs of life. Theatre of Resilience (ToR), Neuro-Dramatic-Play (NDP) and Embodiment-Projection-Role (EPR) are like the ‘DNA’ of dramatic playing which is the core of the attachment process and affects the development of the brain, making an impact on the neural pathways.

Before birth, mothers have a dramatised relationship with their unborn child, talking in a special language and then answering ‘as if’ they are the infant.  This dramatisation continues until after the baby is born, who in turn takes on the role-reversal through imitation, mimicry and echo play.

This experiential workshop includes practical experience of ‘actions and reactions’ in the stages of drama and role development.  It includes the ‘slime-sticky-slippery’ creation play, role-reversal, sensory re-enactment and story.  Participants will have notes of new techniques and role observation tools for application in their practice. Download Booking Form.

The Trainer

Dr Sue Jennings is Professor of Play (European Dramatherapy Federation), Visiting Professor University of Derby, President Romanian Association of Play Therapy and Dramatherapy.  Pioneer of Neuro-Dramatic-Play, a unique paradigm in play development.  Sue is a prolific author having published over 40 titles, including her doctoral research on child-rearing with the Temiar tribe of Malaysia. Sue is in the moving to retirement stage of her career (having planned to retire fully in 2017 she has slowed down this process) so few opportunities to train with her are now available.

Introduction to Humanistic Play Therapy

An introductory day long training!

Limerick 13th April 2019            Fee €110 

This experiential day will introduce participants to non-directive play therapy skills and practice. It is not designed to qualify participants to engage in this work with clients – it is an introduction and skill building session that will introduce the theory and practice of play therapy. However, participants will develop skills which can be used to enhance relationships with children with whom they have contact in their personal and/or professional life. Participants will also experience the power of play in a very personal way. It is an ideal introduction to the field and will aid decision making in regard to possible subsequent training in the field.

Non Directive Play Skills – Demonstrations, practice and feedback

  • Selecting and equipping play spaces for non-directive play
  • Appropriate play materials
  • Developing a relationship of trust with the player
  • Providing structure
  • Attending and responding to play
  • Tracking and reflecting skills
  • Reflecting content and feelings
  • Non-verbal messages
    • Child’s level
    • Facial expression and body language
  • Verbal messages
    • Tone
    • Pitch
    • Developmental considerations
  • Esteem building responses
  • Recognising efforts and achievements

Learning Outcome: Participants will have developed:

  • An awareness of the principles of non directive play therapy
  • Non-directive therapeutic skills
  • An increased ability to assist children in developing their capacity for self regulation and decision making within the context of a safe, ethical relationship

Therapeutic Play Skills Certificate

This Level 6 (NFQ) blended learning course runs in Donegal (February 2017), Kerry and Limerick (March 17), Mountmellick (April 2017), Galway, Dunlaoighre and Claremorris (Dates not yet set).  Now booking.

Therapeutic Play Skills is a Level 6 Minor Award (6N4705) offered on a part-time, blended learning basis. It is an experientially based learning programme which will equip participants to plan, deliver and evaluate both group and individual play based interventions. Participants will engage in creative activities that will enhance personal development, develop insight and awareness, and contribute to understanding, and meeting, the needs of all children including those living in adverse circumstances. Directive and non-directive therapeutic approaches will be addressed. This course will be available at various locations around the country.

On completion of the programme and the attainment of 15 credits the learner will be awarded a Level 6 component certificate in Therapeutic Play Skills. This can be used as a component of the Level 6 Major Award in Early Childhood Care and Education (6M2007) or other Major Awards.

This programme runs at a variety of locations around Ireland and can be run specifically for interested groups or agencies.

Online Component:            Each learner will also have access to the online component of this course for a three month period.

Currently enrolling  for a variety of locations  – email childrenstherapycentre@gmail.com for dates


Applications are accepted by letter giving details of the applicants name, address, email and phone numbers, educational background, current employment, and reasons for wishing to complete the course. An up to date C.V. should be included.

Post / Email Application Letter and CV to: Children’s Therapy Centre, Slievenagorta, Ballymore, Mullingar, Co Westmeath, or email to childrenstherapycentre@gmail.com

Learner Profile: this programme is aimed at learners who:

• Have a particular interest in the therapeutic powers of play and wish to acquire skills to facilitate children and young people to overcome negative influences and circumstances in their lives.

• Wish to attain a recognized qualification and embark on, or enhance, a professional career in working with children in a range of settings.

• Wish to further their own knowledge and understanding of play and its developmental, educational and therapeutic applications.

• Would like to upskill to enhance employment prospects and/or job satisfaction and promotion opportunities

This award will also be of interest to holders of the Certificate in Early Childhood Care and Education and to others including teachers, therapists, social workers etc whose professional life brings them into regular contact with at-risk children and children in crisis. It is also suitable for a broad range of childcare staff in community based or residential settings.

To access this programme learners should have reached the standards of knowledge, skills and competence associated with level 5 on the National Framework of Qualifications. This may have been achieved through a formal qualification or through relevant life and work experiences.

It is the aim of this programme to:

1. Equip participants with skills to plan and deliver, individual and group, developmentally appropriate play intervention with children and young people;
2. Enable learners to focus on meeting children’s specific needs and facilitation therapeutic interventions in the context of holistic development using play;
3. Enable participants to use play as a therapeutic and developmental medium in a wide range of settings including educational/learning, residential and day care, recreational and hospital;
4. Equip the learner with the knowledge, skill and competence to use play and its developmental, educational and therapeutic applications.

Unit 1 – Play, Child Development, and Service Provision

Unit 2 – Plan for and Support Self-directed Play

Unit 3 – Planning and Implementing Play Interventions: Non Directive Play Skills

Unit 4 – Planning and Implementing Play Interventions: Therapeutic Storytelling

Unit 5 – Planning and implementing Play Interventions: Creative Visualization

Unit 6 – Planning and Implementing Play Interventions: Interactive Play

Unit 7 – Planning and Implementing Play Interventions: Therapeutic Use of Puppets

Unit 8 – Planning and Implementing Play Interventions: Medical Play

Unit 9 – Working with Groups for Personal and Social Development

Unit 10 – Professional Practice

Cost:          €680 (Payment plan options available on request)


Anne Brennan MIAHIP, MIAPTP, MIACP is a humanistic and integrative psychotherapist and play therapist involved in private practice, training and supervision. She is active as a trainer in the field of adult education, training people entering the therapeutic field and the fields of human care, especially childcare and special needs.  She is also a core trainer on play therapy and psychotherapy courses.

Dera Mulholland MIAPTP is a Play and Psychotherapist working in private practice in Donadea, Co. Kildare. She has worked with children for over twenty-five years in settings that have included play school, learning support in primary school, hospital wards and special education for children with autism. She has also worked with children at risk living in socially and economically deprived areas of Dublin.

Edel Lawlor is the founder and Director of Expressive play and has been working with children for over sixteen years and is highly skilled at encouraging children to reach their own unique potential. Edel has a background in Play Therapy, Sand tray Therapy, Art Therapy, Puppetry and Social Care.

Elaine Cunningham H.Dip Applied Social Studies in Social Care, MIAPTP: Elaine is an Accredited Humanistic & Integrative Psychotherapist and Play Therapist, working with children and families for over 15 years in residential, foster care, and community settings. Elaine has also trained in Filial Therapy, Sandplay Therapy and Theraplay. Elaine works closely with parents exploring parenting, psycho-education and parent-child interventions and specialises working with children with developmental delay & ASD, anxieties & phobias, bereavement & separation, attachment issues and children affected by substance abuse, domestic violence and child neglect. Elaine currently works in a family centre and runs a private practice, Solas Psychotherapy Services, within schools and her private practice in Leixlip, Co. Kildare.

Emer Mc Donagh holds an MA in Humanistic & Integrative Psychotherapy and Play Therapy and a BA (HONS) in Applied Social Studies in Social Care. She has extensive experience working with children who have experienced domestic violence and also with non residential parents and their children, maintaining and promoting quality contact. Emer also provides a family support role with families affected by meningitis. Emer has worked with the Brothers of Charity services and been involved in a number of Humanitarian aid projects in both Ethiopia and Peru.  Currently Emer is in private practice at Acorns 2 Oaks Play Therapy and also provides trainings for professionals working with vulnerable children.

Monique McEvoy, MIAPTP, Play and Creative Arts Therapist (dance & movement), who has worked for over 25 years supporting children and families in community and residential settings. Monique has extensive experience working with children experiencing social and emotional difficulties, intellectual disabilities, developmental delays, communication disorders, and children with Autism Spectrum Disorders. Currently, Monique facilitates children with special needs inclusion in mainstream pre-schools, offers staff support in early years school settings and works as a play therapist in community service and private practise at the Listening Tree Play Therapy Centre in Mountmellick.

Nicola Kee, MIAPTP is a Psychotherapist with a Specialisation in Play Therapy. She has a BA (Hons) in Childhood Studies with Behavioural Studies and a BA (Hons) in Social Studies in Social Care. She also holds a Certificate in Autism Studies. For over 20 years Nicola has been working with parents and their children who experience psychological distress such as trauma, bereavement, parental separation and separation anxiety. She also works with issues concerning adoption, attachment and behavioural difficulties. Nicola also has a background in working with children with disability using therapeutic play to aid their learning and development.

Laura Coleman MIAHIP is a humanistic and integrative psychotherapist and play therapist working from an adolescent and child centred perspective. She is also involved in the training and supervision of youth workers, play therapists, and psychotherapists. She maintains a private psychotherapy and supervision practice and specializes in palliative care therapy services, play therapy, group work with adolescents, and with groups dealing with bereavement issues.

Majella Ryan M.I.A.C.P is a very experienced child, adolescent and adult psychotherapist and utilises play therapy in her work with children. She has a strong interest in supporting healthy attachments. She specialises in working creatively with traumatised children and adolescents and their families. She has worked in a variety of settings including private practice, a family therapy service and in CARI for 20 years. Majella is a supervisor for play therapists, creative arts therapists, and child, adolescent, and adult psychotherapists.

Siobhán Prendiville, BEd, PG Ed., MEd., Diploma Play Therapy and Psychotherapy, MIAPTP, is a teacher and play therapist who specializes in the use of play in education and in therapy. She teaches widely in a number of institutions in Ireland and has been involved in training teachers in pilot programmes to influence the teaching methodologies utilized. Siobhan maintains a private play therapy practice. She has book chapters in ‘The Therapeutic Powers of Play: 20 Core Agents of Change’ and in “Play Therapy Today: Contemporary Practice with Individuals, Groups and Carers.

Overview of Assignments:

1. Project (Practical) 40%: Plan, facilitate and record 1 groupwork and 2 individual play sessions

2. Written Assignment 30%:  Write a well presented paper (1500 words) in relation to the planning and execution of the 3 creative play sessions presented in portfolio above

3. Skills Demonstration 30%: Complete 3 tasks during modules (demonstrate play facilitation skills, lead a group game, make a puppet)

For information / booking for all venues: Email childrenstherapycentre@gmail.com     Phone:087 6488149

Therapeutic Play Skills Certificate

This Level 6 blended learning course will run in Donegal (February 2017), Kerry and Limerick (March 17), Mountmellick (April 2017), Galway, Dunlaoighre and Claremorris (Dates not yet set). Now booking, limited availability. Click on FETAC Level 6 link for details.

Legal Issues for Psychotherapists, Play Therapists, and Counsellors

Legal Issues for Psychotherapists, Play Therapists, and Counsellors

All you need to know when working with children, adolescents and vulnerable adults 

Date: 21st April 2018        Dublin                                                            Cost: €130

Content will focus on legal issues involved in therapy work with clients of all ages from childhood up, and will including issues related to:

  • Explicit Consent;
  • Confidentiality;
  • Contracting for therapy;
  • Relevant legislation:
  • Legal system in Ireland:
  • Subpoenas and orders for discovery;
  • Court reports and disclosure of notes, including distinguishing between assessment and therapy reports;
  • Access to notes by client and/or family of child clients:
  • Files and record keeping, including duration of storage;
  • Issues in relation to work setting of therapist – e.g. private practice rather than employee in agency;
  • Responsibilities of practitioners, supervisors and agencies

Essential training for all those engaged in therapy work with children, adolescents, vulnerable adults and for those involved in supervising or managing practitioners, or developing policies for such work.  Anybody engaged in working with vulnerable clients in a variety of settings, will also benefit from this specialized training.

Legal Conference Booking Form

Principles in Art Therapy Certificate

Starts 13th Jan 2017 in Dublin

The aim of the course is to offer an introduction to the basic principles of Art Therapy. For many this introduction may be a step towards training as a qualified Art Therapist, for others it may introduce them to a more sympathetic understanding of the role of art and creativity in therapy, rehabilitation and development work. Each weekend students will participate in experiential workshops with qualified arts therapists. A variety of approaches to the process of Art Therapy will be introduced through workshops, lectures and seminars. The award is a 10 credit, Level 8 Certificate. The next course runs over 8 weekends (Friday night and full day Saturday) over a six month period.

Crawford College of Art & Design Award delivered by CTC

The Principles of Art Therapy Certificate (formerly Art Therapy Foundation Course) is a HETAC Level 8 (10 credits) certificate comprising of two 5 credit assessed modules. This course provides an opportunity to explore Art Therapy within a group setting. Each weekend students will participate in experiential workshops with qualified arts therapists. A variety of approaches to the process of Art Therapy will be introduced through workshops, lectures and seminars.

For many this certificate course may be a step towards training as a qualified Art Therapist or Play Therapist; for others it may contribute to continuing professional development and serve as an introduction to a more sympathetic understanding of the role of the arts in rehabilitation and development work.

• During the course each weekend is themed around a key principle of the art therapy process. Lectures will be delivered exploring how the process can work in a range of contexts, and with clients of various ages, from Psychiatry, Probation, Pallative Care, Education, to Learning Disabilities. Topics vary from year to year.
• Experiential workshops, facilitated by qualified, registered arts therapists, will provide participants with experience of a range of different approaches to facilitating a group; directive, theme-based, non-directive, etc.
• Seminars offer opportunities to ask questions and discuss ideas with visiting and course tutors.
• Participants are required to complete a couple of written assignments and keep a personal journal throughout the course.
• A HETAC level 8 Principles of Art Therapy Certificate is awarded on completion of the course.

The experiential nature of this course can be emotionally and psychologically challenging. The candidate’s previous life experiences will be explored at interview with this in mind. Applicants should be aware of this. Any concerns can be addressed at interview.

The course runs over 8 weekends between January and June 2017, Friday night from 7.30 – 9pm, and Saturday from 9.30 – 5.30. Training dates are 13/14th Jan, 3/4th Feb, 3/4th Mar, 24/25th Mar, 7/8th Apr, 5/6th May, 19/20th May, 10th June

Friday 7.30pm – 9pm: Lecture
Saturday 9.30 – 12.00: Experiential Workshop 1
12.00 – 1pm: Lunch
1pm – 3.30pm: Experiential Workshop 2
3.30 – 4pm: Tidy up and Tea/Coffee Break
4pm – 5.30pm: Seminar, Feedback, Reflections

The cost is €1450 including application, registration and exam fees.

Training Venue

MACRO Community Resource Centre, 1 Green St, Dublin 7 (http://www.macrobuilding.ie/index.php)

Car Parking available in Dublin City Council’s Car Park in Mary’s Lane or Parnell Street Car Park or on-street parking on North King Street. Luas from Jervis St or Four Courts (5 mins). Buses to Manor St and Bolton St.

Entry Criteria

It is recommended that applicants have a level 7 award, or prior experience in community education, art, health or social sector work (including counselling and/or psychotherapy). Those with no formal qualifications or art experience will also be considered
E-Mail: childrenstherapycentre@gmail.com or Claire.c.donnelly@gmail.com
Phone 087 6488149 or 087 2055616

Principles of Art Therapy Leaflet & Application Form

Short Courses: Introductory Level

An Introduction to Humanistic Play Therapy – Limerick (24th February 2017) €110

This experiential day introduces participants to non-directive play therapy skills and practice. It introduces the theory and practice of play therapy and developmentally appropriate psychotherapeutic work with young children. Participants will develop skills to enhance relationships with children in their personal and/or professional life. It is an ideal introduction to the field and will aid decision-making in regard to possible subsequent training in this area.

From Messy Play to Monsters: A playful dance through Neuro-Dramatic Play and E-P-R   €110

This training (Dublin 26th June 17) with Dr Sue Jennings (UK and Romania) will take us on a journey through Neuro-Dramatic Play and Embodiment-Projection-Role – Sue’s amazing paradigms that shape our understanding of children’s play, attachment formation and healing. This is your final chance to attend training with Dr Sue Jennings as she retires fully in 2017 after her full career and amazing contributions to the field.

Play Therapy Techniques – Limerick (12th May 2017) €110

An introduction to play, its therapeutic powers, and a variety of techniques used by play therapists and therapeutic play workers. Lots of play built into the day – take home skills galore!



Courses for Therapists

These post-qualifying courses are designed for those who already hold a qualification in counseling, psychotherapy, play therapy or psychology. They are designed for therapists who wish to engage in training that will enable them to extend their practice to a new age range of clients, introduce a creative dimension, or offer a new service as part of their practice.

Responding Therapeutically to Child Sexual Abuse (13th – 17th Mar 17) €500

In this course the process of disclosure, appropriate responses, and practical and therapeutic interventions will be explored. We will address issues involved in working with clients of all ages who have experienced child sexual abuse themselves or are attempting to support a loved one (adult or child) who has been affected.

Adlerian Play Therapy and Family Play Therapy, 10th – 13th April 2017,   €550

We are delighted to welcome Terry Kottman, who “invented” Adlerian Play Therapy, to Ireland. This comprehensive four-day training covers the 4 phases of Adlerian play therapy, the theoretical constructions, practice issues, and lots of experiential learning. Terry’s renowned family play therapy method is the focus of the third and fourth day. Working with families, using play therapy, is such an important skill so this training will book out fast – don’t delay to claim a place!

The BASIC Ph Integrative Model of Resiliency and Coping, 20th & 21stApril 2017, Dublin €240

A two day workshop, introducing work with and through stories for children and adults exposed to trauma, abuse, neglect or other psychological stress. BASIC Ph is a multi-model approach that identifies coping mechanisms and resilience factors. This experiential training addresses the theory behind, and provides practice in utilizing the advanced model as an assessment tool, to provide a framework for effective short-term crisis intervention therapy to restore effective coping, and to identify psychotherapeutic needs, for clients who have been overwhelmed by stress, trauma, or crisis situations. This is a unique opportunity to be trained first hand in the advanced use of the BASIC Ph model by its founder the internationally renowned Professor Mooli Lahad (Israel)

Legal Issues for Psychotherapists, Play Therapists, and Counsellors, Dublin 22nd April 2017, €130

An essential guide to all you need to know when working with children, adolescents and vulnerable adults. Content will focus on legal issues to consider when involved in therapy work with clients of all ages from childhood up, including consent, confidentiality, contracts, legislations, legal procedures, record keeping, and report writing.

Creative Therapy with Adolescents and Adults (2nd – 6th Oct 17) €500

This training is suitable for qualified and student psychotherapists, psychologists, psychiatrists, play therapists and counsellors. It covers a range of creative interventions and approaches to facilitate therapy with young clients and with adults with whom talking therapy is not enough.


CTC now Ireland’s first APT Approved Provider

The Children’s Therapy Centre is the only APT Approved Provider (#11-294) in Europe!

The Association for Play Therapy accepts play therapy credit to satisfy its Registered Play Therapist (RPT) and Supervisor (RPT-S) credentialing criteria for trainings offered by Approved Providers.

APT promotes the value of play, play therapy, and credentialed play therapists by advancing the psychosocial development and mental health of all people and sponsoring and supporting those programs, services, and related activities that promote the:

  • Public understanding and appreciation of play and play therapy
  • Effective practice of play therapy through research, education and training, and support
  • Recognition, incorporation, and preservation of diversity in play and play therapy
  • Development and maintenance of a strong professional organization that satisfies this mission