red stream

Red Stream: Advanced Theory and Techniques

Play Therapist: Certification/Registration Route

The Red Stream Advanced Theory and Techniques program provides 75 hours of approved/certified training. The Red Stream program is designed for licensed mental health practitioners, or graduate students enrolled in a graduate mental health degree program or in a pre-licensure supervised placement.

The program consists of 9 days of face-to-face training (63 contact hours or approved play therapy training), plus a pre-course on-line component (with a Mastery Test), and a post-course case conceptualization assignment (totalling 12 non-contact hours). Students will have three months to complete the required written assignment.

As an advanced program, participants must have taken the Green Stream Foundations of Play Therapy program (or equivalent).

Red Stream +plus For those planning to become certified with the Canadian Association for Play Therapy there will be an additional 3 hour on-line program: Integrative Play Therapy – Creating a pathway for working as an integrative play therapist.

Note: In North America there are two routes to choose from. The APT route is shorter in terms of training, supervision and practice hours, and gains access to a large internationally recognized professional organization.


APT Route: To become a Registered Play Therapist (RPT) with the Association of Play Therapy (APT) one of the requirements is to complete 150 hours of approved training in play therapy. The Green Stream, combined with the Red Stream, provides 150 play therapy training hours.

CAPTCAPT Route: To become a Certified Play Therapist (CPT) with the Canadian Association for Play Therapy (CAPT), Canadian standards require 180 hours of play therapy training from a CAPT Approved Provider, or from an institute of higher learning. Participants who intend to become Certified Play Therapists should take the Green Stream, Red Stream +plus , and 1 core (3-day) Yellow Stream Certificate Program. It is recommended that participants take the Yellow Stream Certificate in Sandplay with Special Populations to fulfill the 180-hour requirement.

RMPTI is not a registering body for play therapists. Rather, RMPTI provides approved training. For details for being registered with the 2 main bodies, see links below.

Uniquely designed

The Red Stream Program is a fully integrated training program, versus a series of workshops or courses.It is ideal for those currently in graduate programs, or graduate level mental health practitioners who wish to build on their current professional designations.

Emphasis is placed on specialized topics (e.g., family play therapy; group play therapy) and specific referral issues, such as trauma, autism spectrum, depression, and anxiety. Participants have an opportunity to practice skills in fully equipped play therapy rooms.

PTDM book


Based on the Play Therapy Dimensions Model, participants learn how to conceptualize the play therapy process from an integrative perspective. To further consolidate these skills each participant presents a case for group discussion (1/2 hour presentation), based on an integrative conceptualization approach.


Program Goals

The goals of this program are to:

  • Expand assessment and treatment-planning skills as applied to a range of special populations (abuse/trauma; children of divorce; anxiety; depression; ASD, etc.)
  • Increase competence in the use of various play therapy modalities
  • Gain practical skills as a practitioner in play therapy.

Note: Students are to submit a detailed case study to facilitate integration of course material. Students will have three months to complete the required written assignment.


$2250.00 plus GST (550.00 deposit). For full details please refer to the application form. To access program dates see the training calendar.

Cancellation policy

Who Should Attend?

The Red Stream Advanced Theory and Techniques in Play Therapy program will be of interest to licensed mental health practitioners who are currently working with children in a treatment-oriented setting. Those currently enrolled in graduate mental health programs may also use this program as a way to build on their current professional designations.

As an advanced training course this program will enhance you ability to market a specialization as well as prepare you for certification/registration as a Play Therapist.

Entrance Requirements:

  • Attending or completed graduate mental health degree program
  • Completion of the Foundations of Play Therapy Program (or equivalent).
  • It is recommended that participants have a background in child development and are actively working with children in a treatment-oriented setting.

Assigned Text Books:

  1. Play therapy dimensions model: A decision-making guide for integrative play therapists (Yasenik & Gardner, 2012 – 2nd edition; Jessica Kingsley Publishers, London).
  2. International Handbook of Play Therapy: Advances in Assessment, Theory, Research and Practice. Edited by C. Schaefer (2005) J. Aronson, Publisher. *(Main text for online component)

Location of Training: Customized training is held at your agency site or at the Rocky Mountain Play Therapy Institute in Calgary, Alberta Canada.



On Line Component (12 non-contact hours)

  • Use of the PTDM in clinical work & supervision
  • Use of the Client Moderating Factors Form in your practice
  • Use of the Immersion/Therapist Self-Evaluation Scale
  • Use of the PTDM Tracking and Observation Form
  • Practical exercises using case examples
  • Special topics- ASD; trauma; Erika method; EPR

There is a mastery test to complete at the end of the on-line section to demonstrate understanding or core concepts. Participants will also answer specific questions based on the assigned textbooks.

Day 1: Advanced Treatment Planning using the Play Therapy Dimensions Model 

  • Course introduction
  • Understanding the Dimensions of Directiveness & Consciousness
  • Consciousness: from Depth Psychology to Post-Modern thought
  • Group activity: The 2 Dimensions
  • Case Conceptualization using the PTDM
  • Experiential learning activity: Case conceptualization of a referral case/family (divorce/step family); introducing the therapy process, parent consultation a feedback.
  • Personal process journal
  • Homework readings: Filial Therapy & Theraplay

Day 2: Attachment: Play-based interventions & approaches

  • Review of readings
  • Attachment theory
  • Attachment behavior & classification systems
  • Shore’s theory of co-regulation and the psychobiology of attachment
  • Experiential learning activities: Co-regulation of affect & meaning
  • Attachment in Middle Childhood
  • The Filial Therapy Approach: CPRT model

Day 3: Attachment: Play-based interventions & approaches – Part II: Spontaneous Creative Interventions in Play Therapy

  • Theraplay Approach
  • Considering adult attachment organization when working with children and caregivers
  • Brightening the Relationship: An intervention model for vitalizing attunement
  • Case illustration: case conceptualization & intervention strategies
  • An introduction to expressive & creative art interventions
  • Video & case examples
  • Working intermodally – moving art into play and play into art
  • Experiential expressive/art activities
  • A framework for interpretations
  • Structuring the process: Turning structured games and activities into unstructured, non-directive/expressive activities
  • Working with “anger”: Using children’s creativity in play sessions
  • Therapeutic Games: Case conceptualization skills: Role play experience; making a therapeutic game
  • Homework reading: Family Play Therapy

Day 4: Family Play Therapy

  • Defining Family Play Therapy
  • Experiential activity: Family Play Genogram
  • Rationales & goals of FPT
  • Phases of FPT
  • Guidelines for observation & assessment
  • Important elements and phases of brief Family Play Therapy
  • Preparing the family members for play sessions
  • Family Play Assessment
  • Providing feedback to parents
  • Video examples
  • Role play activity – working with the “Smith’s”; use of observation skills to modify specific interventions (puppets; sandplay; art making; games)
  • Homework reading: Group Play Therapy

Day 5: Group Play Therapy

  • Review of homework reading
  • Rationales for Group Play Therapy
  • Directive and Non-directive play therapy groups
  • Group design and process
  • Power of group dynamics
  • Role play activities- building cohesiveness
  • Caregiver roles
  • Leadership styles & roles
  • Monitoring progress
  • Case example
  • Ethical considerations

Day 6: Facilitative Play Approaches with Autism Spectrum Disorders

  • Examining PDD and ASD from a play-based perspective
  • DIR & the Floortime Approach- video examples
  • Functional emotional milestones – case conceptualization & video examples
  • Experiential learning activities: Facilitative play strategies
  • Including parents as agents of change
  • Goal setting and tracking progress

Day 7: Advanced Sandplay

  • Understanding sandplay theories and the therapy process \
  • Use of sandplay therapy with children; what to expect at different developmental stages
  • Experiential exercises: static and dynamic sandtrays
  • Using sandplay with specific referral issues: trauma, divorce, adjustment issues
  • Special considerations when working with siblings or families
  • Homework reading: Catharsis

Day 8: Working with Highly Aggressive Children

  • Pathways to aggressive and disruptive behaviors
  • Coercive parenting
  • Subtypes of aggression
  • Strategies for self-regulation
  • Experiential learning/discussion activity- Catharsis
  • Working with anger – Video examples (V. Oaklander)
  • How play therapy fits within a multi-modal treatment approach
  • Intervention strategies & techniques
  • Aggressive behaviors in the play room
  • Moving along a continuum of interventions; decision-making factors
  • Experiential activity: “Working with my anger”
  • Homework reading: Anxiety

Day 9: Working with Anxious or Depressed Children; Ethics and Play Therapy

  • Identifying internalizing problems through children’s play
  • Examining risk and protective factors
  • Enhancing resiliency factors (taking an assets approach)
  • Attributional styles
  • Considerations for treatment planning: goals setting in areas such as coping skills and self-esteem
  • Understanding fears & phobias: case illustrations
  • Childhood depression
  • Specific play-based techniques for the depressed child (e.g., therapeutic storytelling, psychodrama, music & movement)
  • Understanding the therapeutic contract: Who is the client?
  • The Play Therapist as Expert Witness (video example)
  • Examining best-practices and competency issues
  • Tips for safeguarding your practice
  • Therapist safe-care and self-evaluation
  • Ethical supervision
  • Advance group discussion: ethical dilemmas

Learning Objectives

To provide participants with an opportunity to consolidate skills an integrative play therapy practitioner, utilizing a range theory and techniques as applied to specific referral issues and populations. Upon successful completion each participant will have gained:

  • An understanding of how to utilize family play therapy strategies
  • An ability to identify the sandplay process and applications of sandplay therapy to working with children at different developmental stages
  • An awareness of play-based behaviors exhibited in children with internalizing difficulties and an understanding of specific intervention strategies
  • An advanced understanding of ethical and legal issues for play therapy practitioners
  • An ability to engage and work with children with disruptive and aggressive behaviors
  • An understanding of play-based approaches for enhancing attachment
  • An understanding of the play therapy process and the role of the play therapist
  • An ability to set up play therapy groups and tailor interventions for specific referral issues
  • An ability to make use of the intuitive self
  • An awareness of the competencies required for setting up an effective play therapy practice

Instructional Methods

  • Experiential activities
  • Video presentations
  • Case examples
  • Role plays
  • Session seminars
  • Reading assignments
  • Case presentation & written conceptualization exercise
  • Small group activities

Certificate Award

Participants will receive a Certificate in Advanced Theory and Techniques in Play Therapy from RMPTI. The certificate confirms the completion of 75 hours of specialized play therapy training approved by APT and CAPT. Training hours can be used toward registration/certification as Play Therapist. APT and CAPT alone hold the right to accept or deny any continuing education training at their discretion.

The Certificate is awarded on the basis of:

  • Satisfactory completion of a the Mastery Test and written case study
  • Continuous evaluation by instructor of course work contributions and core competencies using a structured feedback form
  • Satisfactory attendance (no whole module may be missed unless there are extenuating circumstances. A makeup assignment may be requested depending on time missed)

How can I apply these skills?

  • Participants will be able to work with a range of presenting issues utilizing multiple play therapy techniques in an integrated manner.
  • Participants will have the ability to work with children individually, in groups, and in a family setting.
  • Upon completion of the program participants will be able to develop detailed case plans and tailor interventions to specific populations.