So you need play therapy training?

When I was training to be a Registered Play Therapist I traveled to attend conferences in 10 different states to be trained in a variety of play therapy modalities.

Today, there are so many MORE options. . . the world of play therapy training is your oyster! Today on the blog I’m going to highlight some great training resources and provide some guidance for those just getting started so your training experience will be rich, varied and will equip you with the skills and knowledge you need.

Your Learning Never Ends

Keep in mind whether you are just starting out in the world of play therapy or you’ve been practicing for many years, in order to stay on top of the ever-evolving world we live in and to serve your clients well, you must realize that training and learning never end. Try to look at play therapy training as an ongoing process as you build onto your tower of learning one block at a time and never stop building!

In-Person Live Training

To become a Registered Play Therapist with the Association for Play Therapy (APT), in addition to meeting the basic academic requirements of a Masters degree in the mental health profession you will need to have at least 100 APT approved contact hours. 

Attending live in-person training where you are physically in the same room with your trainer and other therapists is a very important experience. APT will require beginning in 2020 that all 100 of your required contact hours be live and in-person.

Even though you can still count attending APT approved live webinars as contact hours until 2020, it is still my recommendation that you also attend as much training live in person as you can, especially if it is an experiential training like sand tray therapy or expressive arts therapy. Below are some options for live in-person training.

  • Attend the APT annual conference. This will provide you an opportunity to get up to 35 hours of contact training hours, learn from some of the best trainers in the field of play therapy, gain exposure to a variety of play therapy theoretical models and modalities AND get to meet and mingle with play therapists from all over the world!
  • Attend your local state or a neighboring state APT chapter conference. Search in your own state and look around at your neighboring states. Presently, I live in Georgia and I have easily traveled by car to attend state chapter sponsored trainings in Alabama, North Carolina, Tennessee and North Carolina. Join their newsletter mailing lists and scope out nearby live workshops and conferences.
  • Seek a university based approved center for play therapy graduate courses. You can attend courses locally if you are in or near a university town that has an approved center. You can search using this form on the APT website.
    • Learn Sand Tray with Rita Grayson, LCSW, RPT-S. Retreat for 5 days to beautiful north Georgia and learn a brain-body approach to sand tray therapy. Rita is an outstanding trainer and she provides a deeply experiential learning platform that is will transform the way you do therapy with your clients.
    • Attend the Center for Play Therapy Summer Institute in Texas and learn from some of the greatest play therapy trainers we have. The home of the work of legendary Dr. Garry Landreth, the CPT summer institute provides you a week of time in various workshops, supervision opportunity and rich learning.
    • On the West Coast? Check out the California Association for Play Therapy’s site and try to attend their annual conferences!
    • Get trained in Theraplay! Workshops are in a variety of locations and offer many levels of training.Attend a live workshop, seminar or special conference. Below are a few live training opportunities that are typically offered every year that I can personally recommend. Keep in mind this is NOT a comprehensive list and there are many more available – this is just a short list for starters! You can search for more trainings at this link on the APT website.

Live Webinars – Online Training When Travel is Not Possible

When I first started out as a trainer, I only offered play therapy training live and in-person and then I realized as I built my online play therapy career community on Facebook (Growing A Play Therapy Practice) I was meeting therapists all over the world who didn’t have the ability to travel often enough to get their training. I began offering tele-seminars that eventually evolved into video live webinars which I then recorded for future availability.

Since I began this project I’ve trained thousands of therapists on a variety of play therapy topics. Now there are other online live training opportunities (keep in mind, it still counts toward your required contact hours until 2020!). Here are some of the many options you can now find online for live play therapy training webinars below. Again this is not comprehensive! Only a sampling of some of my personal recommendations.

Learn attachment centered play therapy via live webinars with Clair Mellenthin, LCSW, RPT-S

Non-Contact Training Options

Since you can get up to 50 of your play therapy training hours, let’s look at your non-contact play therapy training options. Non-contact training is a wonderful way to learn because you can go at your own pace. Here are my top picks for non-contact play therapy training.

Consultation & Supervision

Keep in mind, while we do need to acquire formal training for continuing education hours, we also can learn a great deal from working with a really great supervisor or consultant. There are great supervisors and consulting play therapists throughout the United States and beyond and while I can not begin to list all of them or even a fair number I want to mention a few people whom I know personally that provide consultation and/or supervision on various topics.

  • Rose LaPiere Harvey, LCSW, RPT-S – based on the shore of New Jersey her work is grounded in Attachment Theory, Mindfulness, Contextual Family Therapy and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. She provides clinical play therapy supervision and  case consultation.
  • Alyssa Caldbeck, LICSW, RPT provides EMDR, play therapy and trauma related case consultation. She is based out of Iowa but consults with therapists nationwide with a rich understanding of neurobiological basis for trauma treatment using play therapy.
  • Cary Hamilton, LMHC-S, RPT-S based out of Seattle, WA provides training, consultation and supervision for therapists wanting support with trauma related cases, sensory processing, developmental issues and much more.
  • Tammi Van Hollander, LCSW, RPT provides clinical supervision and sand tray supervision as well as professional consultation for therapists facing tough cases.
  • Lynn Louise Wonders, LPC, RPT-S, CPCS – that’s me! I offer consultation and supervision for high conflict divorce and custody cases as well as tough cases with children who are diagnosed with trichotillomania and selective mutism
  • Stacy Jagger, LMFT, RPT offers consultation on how to help families get away from screen time and lean into experiences in nature focusing on relationship. She also has her own unique treatment planning method that she helps therapists learn and implement.

Have further questions about play therapy training? Contact Association for Play Therapy offices as the staff is always very helpful and friendly!