This is the first accredited programme of its kind here in Ireland to offer a comprehensive, experiential training in Play Therapy as part of a fully professionally recognised MA qualification as a Psychotherapist with a major emphasis on the practice of Play Therapy. While many courses address working with adult clients, our focus on younger clients is unique in a humanistic and integrative psychotherapy training, as is our intense focus on the use of play and creative therapies. Graduates will be ideally placed to work as therapists with children and young people presenting with emotional difficulties that may be mild or severe in nature and to practice as humanistic counsellors/psychotherapists. This course incorporates both professional and academic training. The MA is awarded by Quality and Qualifications Ireland (QQI). The QQI course code is PG21811 (9M18873). It is an IAHIP recognised course – the only child and adolescent training to achieve this status. IAHIP (Irish Association of Humanistic and Integrative Psychotherapy) is a section of the Irish Council for Psychotherapy so members are eligible to receive the European Certificate in Psychotherapy.
The Children’s Therapy Centre (CTC) is the longest established and foremost provider of professional play therapy training and CPD courses in Ireland and has been delivering specialised training since the 90’s. We have approved quality assurance standards with both FETAC and HETAC and are a recognised QQI training provider. We are a registered third level educational institute. We are also an APT approved provider of play therapy training – the only one delivering training in Ireland.
QQI replaced the National Qualification Authority of Ireland (NQAI), The Further Education and Training Awards Council of Ireland (FETAC), and the Higher Education and Training Awards Council (HETAC) in November 2012. It also took over functions of the Irish Universities Quality Board.
Introduction to the course
This is a four-year part-time experiential and eclectic training with theoretical, practical and skills development components. It is made up of two distinct stages: the first two years comprise the play therapy programme and forms the basis for the final two year component which leads to the psychotherapy award. We utilise role-play, small and large group work, lectures, presentations, discussions, creative activities, etc. This course is designed for mature students who wish to engage in training in the use of creative interventions and approaches, therapeutic play, play therapy, child psychotherapy, counselling and psychotherapy. Great emphasis is put on personal development and experiential learning, skills development, supervised clinical practice, utilising action methods, active imagination, and on working in accordance with a clear theoretical framework. Core play therapy, counselling and psychotherapy trainers, and clinical supervisors, all meet the required standards for professional and academic training.
Play therapy is a developmentally sensitive therapeutic modality in which a trained play therapist uses the therapeutic powers of play to help children prevent or resolve psychosocial difficulties and achieve optimal growth and development. Play therapy is relationship based – the power of the therapy comes from the strength of the relationship between the Play Therapist and the child. “Children must be approached and understood from a developmental perspective. They must not be viewed as miniature adults. Their world is one of concrete realities and their experiences are often communicated through play. Unlike adults whose natural medium of communication is verbalization, the natural medium of communication for children is play activity. (Landreth, 1991) Play Therapists use approaches, interventions, media, and activities that are appropriate to the age and developmental stage of the client. Play permits the child to communicate with adults nonverbally, symbolically, and in an action-oriented manner.
Counselling in Action ©
This course focuses extensively on the play therapy process and the therapeutic relationship as part of the healing intervention for children, adolescents, and adults, who have experienced difficult life events or who are compromised in reaching their full potential. In addition, it takes a systemic approach, looking at the needs of young clients within their family and the broader needs of the family also. Therefore, in addition to client-centred play therapy, psychotherapy, and creative arts approaches, we include training on the counselling skills that are essential if one is to work successfully with the child within their family.
We utilise humanistic and integrative models that incorporate the use of non-directive and focused approaches as indicated, to respond to the changing needs of the specific client as they present to us in therapy. Students will also become proficient in the use of therapeutic activities and interventions utilising play and the creative arts to enrich their therapy practice.
Unique Features of this training programme
Our training programme is very unusual in that it can qualify graduates to work therapeutically with clients of all ages: children, adolescents, and adults. While many courses address working with adult clients, our focus on younger clients is unique in a humanistic and integrative psychotherapy training, as is our intense focus on the use of play and creative therapies. Many of our trainees are attracted to our course specifically because of these two factors. Our experience has been that there is a lot of interest in training in the field of play therapy as part of a psychotherapy training and that many graduates from the social sciences are interested in pursuing a career as a therapist to work with children and adolescents in addition to adults.
Postgraduate Diploma in Arts in Play Therapy (60 level 9 credits)
This is probably the most in depth programme in play therapy that currently exists anywhere in the world. The professional body (Irish Association for Play Therapy and Psychotherapy) that recognises this course has the most stringent standards for this work, greatly exceeding the training hours requirements of other play therapy professional bodies around the world. We have an extensive focus on the therapy process itself, intensive supervision by core trainers and we consider a broad range of human development theories, models of play therapy and psychotherapy, developmentally appropriate counselling skills (for children and adults), clinical and professional practice issues etc. We have ensured that our learning outcomes encompass all the benchmark criteria that have been agreed as being necessary in educating competent play therapists. While play therapists most commonly work with children under 14 years of age, they may also work with older adolescents and adults using creative approaches rooted in play. Play therapy is a developmental counselling approach in which the therapist takes the client’s age and stage of development into account in all aspects of their work. The play process is central to the therapy which relies on its’ specific therapeutic powers as the agents of change in facilitating the client to prevent or resolve psychosocial difficulties and achieve optimal growth and development.
Graduates of the programme are eligible for professional accreditation as a play therapist, and the programme is already a recognised course of the Irish Association for Play Therapy and Psychotherapy (IAPTP). Many graduates have already achieved full accreditation.
Master of Arts in Creative Psychotherapy (Humanistic and Integrative Modality) – additional 60 Level 9 credits.
The whole ethos of the programme, and its content, aims, methodologies, learning outcomes, philosophy etc. is humanistic and integrative in nature. Our focus is on utilising creative, action methods that bring interpersonal neurobiological concepts into the heart of developmentally appropriate clinical practice with children, adolescents, and also adults where appropriate (i.e. for learners who complete additional, separate, adult training and attend specialist supervision in relation to this component). The core model of psychotherapy that we teach is Client Centred, and we compare and contrast this with other models (e.g. Psychoanalytic, Cognitive Behavioural, Gestalt, Jungian) throughout the programme. In addition we integrate the use of the expressive arts therapies and play therapy to equip learners to provide a creative psychotherapy practice. Supervised practice, and theoretical content, relate to working on a deep psychotherapeutic level with clients of diverse ages, and with complex needs, while making extensive use of creative psychotherapeutic approaches. Each learner is facilitated in developing their own individual practice style based on the integration of theories that allows them to be most authentic in their work.
Course content pays particular attention to the humanistic and integrative approach, the psychotherapy process with adolescents, neurobiology, and to trauma issues, in the 3rd year of the programme. In addition to ongoing clinical training, a research project with relevance to the field of psychotherapy is completed in the final year.
The four-year programme has been designed to meet the criteria of the European Certificate of Psychotherapy (ECP) for core psychotherapy training courses. Graduates of the four-year programme are eligible for professional accreditation as a psychotherapist and the course is already a recognised course of the Irish Association of Humanistic & Integrative Psychotherapy, the Irish Association for Psychotherapy in Primary Care (IAP PC) and the IAPTP.
The core programme is built around three subject strands that build up over the course. These 3 strands are:
- Reflective Practice
- Developing Clinical Skills
- Theoretical Studies
Subjects in the Play Therapy Postgraduate Diploma (years 1 and 2) are:
- Psychotherapeutic Experience: The Internal Working Model,
- Play & Expressive Arts: Theory and Practice
- Human Development including Play
- Psychotherapeutic Experience: Exploring Patterns and Relationships
- Integrative Psychotherapy and the Play Therapy Process
- Play Therapy and Counselling: Supervised Practicum
- A Comparative Analysis of Psychotherapy and Play Therapy Models
- Considering Systems and Environments in Child & Adolescent Therapy
Subjects in the MA Psychotherapy (years 3 and 4) are:
- Neurobiologically Informed Therapeutic Use of Self
- Humanistic and Integrative Psychotherapy Practice
- Trauma Informed Psychotherapy
- Creative Psychotherapy
- Research Methods and Dissertation
This focuses on developing non-directive, client-centred, play and counselling skills, a working knowledge of child development, play, relevant psychological theories and safe working practices; developing a therapeutic relationship; using therapeutic play to facilitate children in developing psychological resilience and reaching their potential (developing self confidence, self-esteem, and a strong sense of personal identity); and to intervene with clients with a range of particular needs. It has a specific focus on the personal development of the course participants to ensure development of self-awareness, growing maturity, and the development of basic counselling and listening skills. Trainees engage in a practicum to develop observational skills, and practice facilitating creative play sessions. The focus on child observation builds a foundation for developing research skills, and the myriad of approaches to therapeutic play based interventions builds skills in assessment and programme planning. In this year there are usually four modules of three days duration and two modules of four days duration.
This focuses on training participants to work as play therapists with a range of clients with mild and moderate emotional problems. The initial focus is on training as a Client Centred Play Therapist, then on integrating non directive approaches with more focused interventions to assist clients to develop healthy coping skills. We introduce a variety of models of psychotherapy and play therapy, their origins, their underlying personality theories and philosophies, and practice issues. This year also covers counselling skills in more depth, developing a systemic and professional framework, working with parents and carers as ‘secondary clients’, and involves many personal development workshops utilising creative and play media and approaches. Participants are introduced to the use of Sandtray therapy with clients of all ages; working with clients who present with specific emotional and/or behavioural difficulties (e.g. bereavement, parental separation) and/or disorders. Participants engage in Clinical Practice with children and their families, a proportion of which is clinically supervised by core trainers (included in course fee). There is a focus on developing skills in linking theory and practice including understanding themes in play, conceptualizing the therapy process with young clients, reading play as the language of the child and facilitating developmentally appropriate creative therapy sessions. In this year there are a mixture of 1, 2 and 3 day modules based around weekends as far as possible.
This focuses on developing an understanding of the counselling and psychotherapy process, coupled with developing skills and a knowledge base to work with clients, including adolescents, with more challenging issues and complex life histories. Emphasis is given to counselling and psychotherapy through the mediums of play and creative media, supported by talk therapy, for clients who present with attachment disorders and/or have experienced child abuse and/or neglect. Continuing personal development (using the creative therapies) facilitates participants to process personal issues. Input is also given regarding Jungian Sandplay Therapy and Gestalt Therapy approaches in clinical practise, as well as an insight into other relevant approaches to psychotherapy, theories of change and human development.
Supervised clinical practice continues with clients of diverse ages.
In this year there are a mixture of 1, 2 and 3 day modules. Open House days continue.
A significant focus in the professional training element of fourth year is on developing the skills, knowledge and competencies to practice safely and ethically as a psychotherapist with a diversity of clients with complex and multifaceted needs. Trainees will engage in clinical practice throughout the year and will attend regular supervision sessions with assigned trainers/supervisors. These sessions will incorporate a significant training element and will challenge and support trainees in making links between theory and practice
Supervised practice, and theoretical content, relate to working on a deep psychotherapeutic level with clients of diverse ages, and with complex needs, while making extensive use of creative approaches. Those taking the optional module in relation to adult clients will also receive a CTC Diploma in Humanistic & Integrative Psychotherapy.
In the MA research methods blended learning component students are introduced systematically to the range of research methods used in psychotherapy and will complete a research dissertation. Particular emphasis is given to formulating appropriate questions, objectivity, reliability, techniques used in research projects that are most relevant to practitioner researchers, ethical considerations, analysing data and presenting findings.
Each trainee must participate in Individual Therapy Sessions, a minimum of 30 per year, with an accredited psychotherapist (generally IAHIP), of their own choosing, scheduled at own convenience, over the duration of the course. The experience of being a client is vital to developing an understanding of the therapy process in an experiential way and facilitates the self-exploration and development of increased self-awareness that is central to the practice of therapy. The cost of these sessions is not included in the course fee and will be negotiated between the trainee and the therapist of their choosing. Group psychotherapy sessions take place during course time. There is no additional cost for these sessions.
Over the 4 years therapeutic/personal development sessions including both group and individual therapy sessions span 180 hours. Further personal reflective activities bring these hours up to 250. There are opportunities for personal development in the course itself and through workshops, experiential activities and relationships within the group.
Clinical Practice and Supervision
CTC take a careful and sequential approach to clinical practice: for safety reasons there are many carefully monitored stages before the work with clients will reach the level of psychotherapy. Trainees will begin by engaging in child observation sessions, then therapeutic play sessions, then play therapy sessions with children and adolescents, support session with parents, and counselling sessions with adults, as they progress through the training and are assessed as being ready to engage in increasingly complex clinical work and psychotherapy practice. Some clinical supervision is included in course fee; additional privately funded supervision is also required both during the course itself and the pre-accreditation period.
Professional Training Assessment Components:
- Self, peer, trainer and supervisor assessment.
- Self-awareness, maturity, and ability to work with group dynamics.
- Satisfactory participation, development and demonstration of appropriate skills and competencies in relation to each module as set and assessed by module tutors.
- Completion of course requirements and assignments to acceptable standard
- Satisfactory attendance and timekeeping.
Our Play Therapy and Psychotherapy Awards
The QQI award for those completing the 4 years is an MA in Creative Psychotherapy (Humanistic and Integrative Modality). A QQI exit award, Postgraduate Diploma in Arts in Play Therapy, is available to those who exit after 2nd year but who do not complete 4th year. As the QQI award is set at level 9 on the National Framework of Qualifications entry is restricted to applicants who have already completed a suitable undergraduate degree. Entry to year 3 is restricted to holders of a suitable Play Therapy qualification.
Registering for the QQI award: Direct Entry
For admission to the M.A. in Creative Psychotherapy (Humanistic and Integrative Modality), entrants will normally:
- Have a 2.2 or higher in a relevant undergraduate (generally a level 8) degree (for example, though not exhaustively, social science, social care, psychology, nursing, community development, education, counseling, psychotherapy etc.) or equivalent
- Have at least one to two years relevant professional (paid or voluntary) experience (for example, social care, counsellor, helpline worker, childcare, social work, education or nursing)
- Be able to demonstrate personal readiness and suitability for psychotherapy training including commitment to personal & professional development and a willingness to engage in a self-reflective process that includes personal therapy
- Successfully undertake a selection interview
- Commit to full attendance at the course
Registering for the QQI award: Indirect Entry
A small number of applicants, with extensive relevant professional experience, who do not have a suitable degree may be eligible for entry to the academic programme via Recognition of Prior Learning (e.g. completion of training that was at a lower academic level than is generally required). Such applicants must demonstrate, and provide evidence to attest to their acquisition of suitable learning outcomes in a relevant area.
Applications are accepted throughout the year. We begin processing applications approximately six months prior to the start of the course. The first stage in this process is a review of the application form and documents. A short list of applicants are selected for interview. Interviews usually take place in April and May so applications for the year in question should be received by the end of March.
The venue for almost all of the on-site training days is in Ballymore, (near Moate) Co. Westmeath, where we have a purpose built and fully equipped and resourced training centre. Library facilities are available and a range of books, puppets, and therapy resources are sometimes stocked in the centre.
Trainees complete their clinical practice in their own area. Fortnightly supervision sessions take place at a variety of locations around the country.
The course fee is €3990 per annum (including some books, library access etc). Trainees are facilitated in making a payment plan, to suit their individual circumstances where necessary rather than being required to pay for the year in advance although the full fee is due for each person starting on the course. The additional fee for academic registration and certification with QQI is currently set by QQI at €200 for each Level 9 award (Postgraduate Diploma (2nd yr) and MA (4th yr).
The course is eligible for tax relief under section 473A, Taxes Consolidation Act, 1997. Details available from Revenue (Revenue Leaflet IT 1 ‘Tax Credits, Rates and Reliefs’ and IT 31 ‘Tax Relief for Tuition Fees in respect of Third Level education) or from www.revenue.ie.
Course Dates for 2017-2018
A first year group begins each August. The course runs for the full day on each date. The following dates are provisional and subject to change.
Year 1: 2017 – 2018 course modules are scheduled for 24th – 27th August 17, 14th – 16th October, 1st – 3rd Dec, 15th – 18th Feb, 13th – 15th Apr, and 2nd – 4th June.
Year 2 (1): 8th– 10th Sept, 20th – 21st Oct, 10th – 12th Nov, 8th – 9th Dec, 6th – 7th Jan, 10th – 11th Feb, 10th – 11th Mar, 6th – 8th Apr, 21st April, and 11th – 13th May.
Year 2 (2): 22nd– 24th Sept, 22nd – 23rd (or 27th – 28th) Oct, 24th – 26th Nov, 10th – 11th Dec, 20th – 21st Jan, 24th – 25th Feb, 24th – 25th Mar, 27th – 29th Apr, 21st April, and 18th – 20th May.
Year 3: 15th – 17th Sept, 6th – 8th Oct, 17th – 19th Nov, 16th – 17th Dec, 13th – 14th Jan, 3rd – 4th Feb, 17th – 19th March, 20th – 22nd Apr. Case Presentations 20th, 26th, 27th May.
Year 4: 29th May, 1st – 3rd Sept, 29th Sept – 1st Oct, 29th – 30th Oct, 18th – 19th Nov, 19th – 21st Jan, 3rd – 4th Mar/11th -12th March, 21st Apr. Also child protection training and online course.
Peer group meetings, personal therapy, clinical practice, and clinical supervision sessions take place between the modules listed above. There is also an online learning site for each group plus online courses. An online site for Academic Writing support is also provided.
See www.childrenstherapycentre.ie for details of upcoming course dates as they are set
It will be necessary for participants be vetted by An Garda Siochana and to be covered by professional insurance cover prior to undertaking direct work with children. To be eligible for professional insurance cover (details available), each participant must be a member of the Irish Association for Play Therapy and Psychotherapy and act in accordance with their Code of Ethics (www.iaptp.ie). Trainees can secure Garda vetting through the IAPTP.
Programme Aims and Objectives
We are committed to training leading practitioners who are professionally competent in the expanding field of psychotherapy and who will have a specialisation in the use of play and creative approaches. As the longest established and foremost provider of this training in Ireland we have a responsibility to respond to the needs of the sector and to the increasing demand for training of prospective students and the continuing professional development of graduates and allied professionals.
This 4 year course is based on three constructs of learning – theoretical, experiential and clinical, which form a central core of learning defined as ‘professional practice’ worked from a belief in the creative and therapeutic potential of relationships and play mediums. These three areas embody key features of knowledge, skills and competence in the professional practice of play therapy and psychotherapy. We see learning as involving three complimentary, interlinked and interweaving strands of skills, theory and personal development that cannot totally be separated into component parts – for us, the whole is definitely more that the sum of the parts! In putting this into practice we place a high emphasis on experiential learning while ensuring that the emphasis on academic learning is simultaneously maintained.
Programme Aims of the Postgraduate Diploma in Arts in Play Therapy
- To develop the learners’ understanding of the principles underlying play therapy and psychotherapy and develop skills in utilizing play and creative mediums in their work with appropriate clients throughout the lifespan.
- Provide learners with knowledge, skills and competence to initiate and manage the professional delivery of play therapy and associated counselling services and practice in compliance with a relevant professional code of ethics.
- Equip learners to demonstrate the expertise to work therapeutically with a wide range of individuals and groups within a variety of clinical, community and/or educational settings.
Programme Aims of the MA Creative Psychotherapy (Humanistic and Integrative Modality)
Includes the aims of the interim award (Postgraduate Diploma in Play Therapy) plus the following:
- Build on prior clinical training and supervised practice to equip the learner to extend their client base, which may already include children, adolescents and adults, to include practice with more complex referral issues including trauma.
- Provide learners with the knowledge, skills and competence to initiate and manage the professional delivery of creative psychotherapy services and implement new models of practice through an advanced ability to compare and critique a range of models and integrate relevant theory and clinical practice.
- Critically evaluate and reflect on the effectiveness of their practice, including the relevance of their own personal process within the therapeutic relationship.
- Provide learners with opportunities for personal development that will facilitate increased self-awareness, and an understanding of the process of healing through the medium of person-centred and humanistic and integrative psychotherapies utilising creative mediums.
- To enable learners to carry out, analyse and present research with relevance to the field of psychotherapy.
- To develop the trainees’ person-centred counselling skills, enhance the ability to develop therapeutic relationships, and become skilled in responding therapeutically to the client’s play, words, and non-verbal communications.
- To introduce the trainees to a range of models of psychotherapy and play therapy, and the use of expressive arts in the therapeutic and developmental process.
- To develop the trainees’ understanding of the principles underlying play therapy and psychotherapy and develop skills in utilising play and creative mediums including music, movement, storytelling, symbolism, metaphor, art, drama, and sand play in their work.
- To facilitate the personal and professional development of the trainees both through the group process and by providing other opportunities for increased self-awareness and growth in maturity.
- To develop the trainees’ ability to assess the client’s therapeutic needs and provide appropriate services and/or refer onwards as appropriate.
- To equip trainees with clinical skills to engage confidently in child and adolescent psychotherapy sessions, utilising play therapy and the creative arts, and in support sessions with their adult carers.
- To equip trainees with clinical skills to engage confidently in counselling and, later, psychotherapy sessions with adults if they choose relevant optional subjects.
- To equip trainees with clinical skills to engage competently and professionally in psychotherapy sessions with adult clients if they choose relevant optional subjects.
- To facilitate trainees in understanding and critically reflecting on lifespan development, psychotherapy, and associated relevant theoretical frameworks, including newly emerging knowledge, to enable the use of theory to inform professional practice.
- To enable each trainee to discover the integration of theoretical frameworks and practice models that works best for them as a therapist in enabling them to be authentic in their relationships with clients.
- To raise the trainees’ awareness of the relevant current legal and ethical frameworks.
- To facilitate trainees in developing an understanding of the relevant research issues and methods.
We aim to provide trainees with opportunities for personal development that will facilitate increased self-awareness, and an understanding of the process of healing through the medium of person-centred and humanistic and integrative psychotherapies utilising creative mediums. This will assist each trainee in the integration of any unresolved issues, facilitating emotional development and the attainment of greater maturity, thus preparing them to provide safety and containment in therapeutic relationships with children, adolescents, and adults. In combination with our focus on safe working practices, ethical considerations and skills development, this will contribute to providing a secure foundation for therapeutic work with clients of all ages.
We pay particular attention to working in respectful, non-intrusive ways that respect the clients’ potential to direct their own healing, at their own pace, within a therapeutic environment and within the context of a therapeutic relationship with a congruent, accepting, non-judgemental, therapist. The utilisation of play and creative approaches is seen as central in activating true creativity and spontaneity – the freedom to be oneself.
APT Approved Provider 11-294
Further Details and information on other courses from: Eileen Prendiville at 087 6488149, or firstname.lastname@example.org