Can I do the diploma course or must I complete the certificate course first?

The Certificate in Therapeutic Play Skills is the first main step in qualifying and practicing as a Play Therapist. On its own, this qualification allows you to work with children with less severe difficulties, in your current role; so if you want to enhance your practice as a counsellor or social worker for example, you may just wish to complete this phase of the training. In order to qualify and register as a Play Therapist, however, it is necessary to complete the second phase of the training, namely the Diploma in Play Therapy. This allows you to work with more severely affected children as well as groups of children, and to practice independently. These two steps are completed separately, with time in between to do the necessary practical hours and written assignments.

What does the training consist of?

You will need to attend the 15 days of training in Cape Town, where you will learn the necessary theory about child development and play therapy, as well as have the chance to experience the various tools used in Play Therapy yourself, with other students on your course. This is an extremely valuable part of the learning experience. After this, you will have 9 months to complete a portfolio of written work (which includes case studies and assignments), and 20 months to complete 100 hours of practical hours of Play Therapy with children at a venue of your choice.

Can I this training online/by correspondence/ distance learning?

No. The strength of this training course is that it is experiential in nature. This means that during your training days, you will have the opportunity to use the various elements of the Play Therapy “Toolkit” (sandtray, art, music, clay, etc) yourself. This will give you a much deeper understanding of your own process, which is very important as a therapist, as well as helping you to understand the process of your future clients, once you begin to practise.

Supervision? What does this involve and what is the cost?

Supervision is an essential part of being a safe and effective practitioner or Play Therapist. During your 15-day training course, you will receive 3-hours of group supervision (included in your course fees) which will help you to process your experience of the training course itself. Once you begin your practical training hours, working with children, you will be required to have regular clinical supervision. The requirement is that you receive 1 hour of supervision for every 6 hours of therapeutic work with children or alternatively every second week whichever comes first. You will be able to choose your own supervisor, provided they are trained in supervision and registered with PTI. There are currently only two supervisors located in South Africa, but PTI has an extensive list of registered supervisors around the world, with whom you can arrange skype supervision sessions. We are in the process of training new supervisors in South Africa. So watch the space. During your supervision sessions, you will have the opportunity to talk about any difficult cases or sessions and get ideas and help on how to proceed with clients. You will need to cover the cost of your own supervision, and fees range from ZAR500 per hour to GBP50.

What is the difference between a practitioner of therapeutic play skills and a Play Therapist?

After completion of the Certificate in Therapeutic Play Skills course, you can register with PTI as a Practitioner of Therapeutic Play Skills. This will enable you to use therapeutic play skills in your current capacity or role (such as a teacher or social worker) to enhance your understanding and support of the children with whom you work. You will also only be able to work with children who have mild to moderate mental health difficulties. After completion of the Play Therapy Diploma, you will be able to register and practice as a Play Therapist, working with children who have moderate to severe mental health difficulties, as well as with groups of children.

Will the course be run in any other cities in South Africa?

Not at this stage. Cape Town is the only venue planned for the foreseeable future.

What is 'placement' and how do I go about organising this?

This is an invaluable and exciting part of your training. As part of training to be an effective practitioner of therapeutic play skills, you will be required to complete 100 hours of practical therapeutic work with children at a venue/facility of your choice. This is your “placement”, and suitable venues include schools, shelters, hospitals, clinics etc. This will be explained to you in detail during the training course, where you will receive advice and resources to help you choose a suitable place, approach them with the idea, and get started. It can be helpful to have an idea of places you might consider, but you will be supported through the process of securing a suitable placement by your course director and supervisor once you have completed the training, so don’t worry too much about this at this stage. You will not be able to charge for this work as you will be a trainee, and you will only be able to work with children who have been identified as having mild to moderate needs. This is determined by the use of a standardized assessment tool called the Strengths and Difficulties questionnaire. To ensure safeguarding of children and practitioners, trainees are not allowed to work with any child who is adopted or in foster care.

Is it possible to register with SA/International Organisations once I have completed the course?

When you join the Post Graduate Certificate programme, you will become a member of PTI and will be registered as a trainee member. Once you have achieved your Certificate in Therapeutic Play Skills, you can register with PTI as a Practitioner in Therapeutic Play Skills, and after the next phase of the training, the Diploma in Play Therapy, you will be able to register as a Certified Play Therapist.

After completing the Certificate in Therapeutic Play Skills, you will also be eligible to register with the Association for Supportive Counsellors and Holistic Practitioners (ASCHP) in South Africa (Some exceptions may apply for candidates that entered the PTI course via the RPL route).

There is no formal designation for "Play Therapist" yet, but can register under the designation "Wellness Counselor".  While not compulsory, it is highly recommended that all PTI members register with the ASCHP as their local professional body.  Below is an example:

Ann Green, ASCHP Recognised Specialist Wellness Counsellor

Number: SWC 22/123

Area of specialization: Play Therapy

For more information please follow the link below: https://www.aschp.net/

Play Therapists are unable to register with the Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA).  For a detailed explanation of the legal and regulatory position of play therapy in South Africa, please review this document.

What are the requirements for admission onto the certificate course?

As this is a Post Graduate Course, you will be required to have achieved a undergraduate degree. It is preferable that this be in some relevant area such as education or psychology. You will also be required to have a minimum of 2 years’ work experience with children. This can be in a voluntary or paid capacity and can include things like childcare, counselling or education. If you have a degree in a non-child-related field, you can still be accepted onto the course via a Recognised Prior Learning (RPL) process. This will require that you read 3 books and do 5 written assignments. You will also need 10 years’ work experience with children. Please email us for more information about this if you are unsure. If you hold a NVQ level 6 qualification in a child-related field, you will need at least 10 years’ work experience with children to be able to apply for our RPL process as described above.

Are there any books I can read in the meantime?

Please see PTUK’s website for a list of recommended books. These are not required reading for the courses, but are relevant and beneficial to your learning. http://www.playtherapy.org.uk/ResourcesConferencesEvents/Publications/BooksandAmazon

What is the process for application?

  1. Send in your completed application form and proof of deposit (your application will first be approved by a Director of PTI)

  2. We will contact you to set up an interview, which can be done in person, by phone or on Skype.  If your previous qualifications are not in a field deemed to be relevant to Play Therapy, the director may require you to complete a process of Recognised Prior Learning, which involves reading 3 books and completing 5 assignments to show you have sufficient background knowledge on child development etc to be admitted to the course

  3. After your interview (and if necessary completion of RPL process), you will be sent a letter of acceptance onto the course

Are there any scholarships or discounts available?

Unfortunately we don't offer any scholarships at the moment.  An early bird discount is available to applications who pay in full before the early bird deadline,  which is usually set about 2 months prior to the start of the course.

Are there any other hidden costs to the course?

  • You will need professional indemnity insurance to safeguard you in your therapeutic work. This will depend on where you get your insurance and will be around R1800 - R2500 per year.

  • You will also need an up-to-date police clearance certificate or a criminal records check.  This can be done through your local police station or you can make use of a service that we provide on the course for R200-R250

  • Clinical supervision to be paid to your supervisor. You will need an minimum of 18 hours to complete your Certificate course. Many students do more than 18 hours, but 18 will be the minimum.  Clinical supervision typically costs between R350 - R750 per hour depending on the supervisor.

  • If you don’t live in the Cape Town area, you will have to pay your travel, accommodation for the duration of the course. Lunch will be provided on the course.