green Stream

Green Stream: Foundations of Play Therapy

Play Therapist: Registration/Certification Route

The Green Stream-Foundations of Play Therapy consists of 9 days of face-to-face training (63 contract hours of 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 written assignment.

The Green Stream Foundations of Play Therapy Program is a fully integrated training program, versus a series of workshops or courses. It is intended for Masters level graduate/mental health practitioners who wish to build on their current professional designations. A Master’s degree in a mental health field (or enrolment in a mental health Masters degree program) is required for admission to the Foundations of Play Therapy Program. This is the first level of play therapy training (75 hours). After successful completion of the Foundations of Play Therapy Program (Green Stream program) students will be eligible to enrol in the second level (Red Stream Advanced Theories and Techniques of Play Therapy – 75 hours).

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.

APTAPT Route:  To become a Registered Play Therapist (RPT) with the Association for 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. APT reserves the right to review any/all training hours submitted for registration as a play therapist.

CAPTCAPT Route: To become a Certified Play Therapist (CPT) with the Canadian Association of 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 one of the core (3-Day) Yellow Stream Certificate programs. It is recommended that participants take the Yellow Stream Certificate in Sandplay with Special Populations to fulfill the 180 hour requirement. CAPT reserves the right to review any/all training hours submitted for registration as a play therapist.

Note: RMPTI is not a registering body for play therapists. Rather, RMPTI provides approved training. For details regarding registration with the two main bodies, see the links below. APT and CAPT alone hold the right to accept or deny any continuing education training at their discretion.

Uniquely designed

PTDM book

Based on the Play Therapy Dimensions Model, which is an integrative decision-making model for play therapists, participants learn not only a range of play therapy theories, approaches, and techniques, but also how to conceptualize the play therapy process from an integrative perspective. Emphasis is placed on developing skills in tracking client progress and therapist use of self. Participant learning is enhanced through role-plays and use of fully equipped play therapy rooms.


Program Goals

The primary goal of this program is to develop practical skills and theoretical knowledge base necessary to use play-based interventions from an integrative perspective. Additionally, participants learn about:

  • The history of play therapy
  • The role of the play therapist
  • Core play therapy theories/approaches (e.g., Adlerian, Child-Centered & Gestalt Play Therapy)
  • Play therapy techniques
  • Play therapy modalities (e.g., sandplay, art making; music & movement)
  • The play therapy process
  • Ethics
  • Play-based observation and treatment planning strategies

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

Cancellation policy

Who Should Attend?

The Green Stream, Foundations of Play Therapy program will be of interest to those individuals who are currently working with children and who have a Master degree in a mental health field (or who are enrolled in a Masters degree in a mental health field). Those enrolled in graduate programs in the mental health field (psychology, social work, counselling and psychotherapy) f may use this program to build on their current professional designations.

Entrance Requirements:  Attending or completed a Masters degree in aa mental health field. APT credit will not be awarded to a non-mental health professional.

Reqired Readings:

Yasenik. L., and Gardner, K (2012). Play therapy dimensions model: A decision-making guide for integrative play therapists.  London: Jessica Kingsley Publishers.

Landreth, G. (2012) (3rd edn). Play therapy: The art of the relationship New York: Routledge.

Recommended Readings:

Blanco, P. J., Holliman, R. P., Muro, J. H., Toland, S., & Farnam, J. L. (2017). "Long term child-centered play therapy effects on academic achievement with normal functioning children." Journal of Child and Family Studies, 26(7), 1915-1922.

Bratton, S., Ray, D., Rhine, T., & Jones, L. (2005)."The efficacy of play therapy with children: A meta-analytic review of treatment outcomes." Professional Psychology: Research and Practice, 36(4), 367-390. doi:10.1037/0735-7028.36.4.376

Blom, R. (2006). The handbook of Gestalt Play Therapy: Practical guidelines for child therapists. London: Jessica Kingsley Publishers.

Crenshaw, D.A., & Stewart, A.L. (eds). (2016). Play Therapy: A comprehensive guide to theory and practice. New York: The Guilford Press.

Davies, D. (2010) (3rd ed). Child development: A practitioner’s guide. New York: The Guilford Press.

Dougherty, J., & Ray, D. (2007). "Differential impact of play therapy on developmental levels of children." International Journal of Play Therapy, 16(1), 2-19.

Drewes, A.A. (ed). (2009). Blending play therapy with cognitive behavioral therapy: Evidence-based and other effective treatments and techniques. Hoboken, NJ. John Wiley and Sons Inc.

Gil, E. (2006). Helping abused and traumatized children: Integrating directive and nondirective approaches. New York: Guilford Press.

Green, E. (2009). "Jungian analytic play therapy." In K. O’Connor and L.D. Braverman (eds) Play therapy theory and practice: Comparative theories and techniques (2nd edn) (pp. 83-125). New York: John Wiley and Sons, Inc.

Mills, J. (2001). "Eriksonian play therapy: The spirit of healing with children and adolescents." In B.B. Geary and J. Zeig (eds) The Handbook of Eriksonian Psychotherapy (pp. 506-21). Pheonix, AZ: The Milton H. Erikson Foundation Press.

Mills. J. (2015). "StoryPlay: A narrative play therapy approach." In D. A. Crenshaw and Stewart (eds) Play Therapy: A comprehensive guide to theory and practice (pp 171-85). New York: Guilford.

Moustakas, C. (1997). Relationship play therapy. Northvale: Aronson.

Kottman, T. (2003). Partners in play therapy: An Adlerian approach to play therapy. Alexandria, VA: American Counseling Association.

Kottman, T., Meany-Walen. K.K. (eds) (2018). Doing play therapy: From building the relationship to facilitating change. New York: The Guilford Press.

LeBlanc, M., & Ritchie, M. (2001). "A meta-analysis of play therapy outcomes." Counseling Psychology Quarterly, 14, 149-163. doi:10.1080/09515070110059142

Lin, Y., & Bratton, S. C. (2015). "A meta-analytic review of child- centered play therapy approaches." Journal of Counseling and Development, 93(1), 45-58. doi: 10.1002/j.1556- 6676.2015.00180.x

O’Connor, K.J., Schaefer, C.E., & Braverman, L.D. (eds) (2016). Handbook of play therapy – Second Edition. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley and Sons Inc.

Oaklander, V. (2003). "Gestalt play therapy." In C.E. Schaefer (ed.) Foundations of play therapy (pp. 1453-55) Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley and Sons Inc.

Ryan, V., and Wilson, K. (2000). Case studies in non-directive play therapy (2nd edition). London: Jessica Kingsley Publishers

Schaefer, C.E., & Drewes, A.A. (eds) (2014). The therapeutic powers of play: 20 core agents of change.  Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley and Sons Inc.

Schaefer, C.E., & Cangelosi, D. (eds) (2016). Essential play therapy techniques: Time-tested Approaches. New York:The Guilford Press.

Schumann, B. (2010). "Effectiveness of child-centered play therapy for children referred for aggression." In J. Baggerly, D. Ray, & S. Bratton (Eds.), Child-centered play therapy research: The evidence base for effective practice (pp.193-208). Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.

Taylor de Faoite, A. (ed). (2011). Narrative play therapy: Theory and practice. London: Jessica Kingsley Publishers.

VanFleet, R. Sywulak, A.E., and Caparosa Snisack, C. (eds.) (2010). Child-centered play therapy. New York: The Guilford Press.

Wilson, K., Kendrick, P., and Ryan, V. (1992). Play therapy: a non-directive approach for children and adolescents. London: Bellerie Tindall.

How can I apply these skills?

Participants will be able to follow a basic case conceptualization process and identify ways to work with children with mild to moderate adjustment difficulties. They may use specific play techniques in their own settings and identify children who are in need of play therapy and make appropriate referrals to a Certified Play Therapist.



On-Line Component (7 non-contact hours): An Introduction to Play Therapy

Two months prior to the course date, registered participants will be provided with a passcode for the RMPTI training website (, where they take a 3-hour on-line program. The on-line program provides an introduction to the following topics and activities:

  • Introduction to program
  • Defining Play Therapy and the play therapy continuum
  • Therapeutic powers of play
  • Play modalities
  • History of play therapy
  • Self-assessment and experiential exercises

Participants should simultaneously begin reading the two assigned textbooks, Play Therapy Dimensions Model: A Decision-Making Guide for Integrative play Therapists (Yasenik & Gardner, 2nd edition, 2012) and Play Therapy: The art of the relationship (Gary Landreth, 3rd edition, 2012).

At the end of the on-line section participants are to complete a mastery test (true/false) to demonstrate understanding or core concepts covered on-line and in the textbooks. The Mastery Test is to be handed in on or before the first day of class.

Day 1: Understanding the play therapy process & essential play therapy skills

  • Program Introduction & opening activity
  • Experiential/self-reflection activity
  • Understanding neurobiology of play
  • Experiential activity – “Your Play Style”
  • Therapeutic powers of play
  • The therapeutic play continuum
  • Defining Play Therapy
  • Understanding the play therapy process: from intake to discharge
  • Play Therapy Dimensions Model (an integrative model for conceptualizing directive and non-directive work)
  • Models of play therapy (video examples); Non-Directive & Child-Centered
  • Experiential exercise – tracking & reflection skills
  • Play modality: clay

Day 2: Exploring Models of Play Therapy

  • Categories of play activity- video examples & learning activities
  • A detailed examination of the PTDM – understanding the 4 quadrants
  • Models of play therapy – a historical & current perspectives
  • Comparative analyses of models – the “grid” worksheet
  • Model - Relationship Play Therapy (C. Moustakas): video example
  • Model - Gestalt Play Therapy (V. Oaklander): video example
  • Experiential learning activity: projective drawings
  • Play modality: expressive art
  • Self-assessment (homework activity)

Day 3: Symbols & Metaphors:

  • Review of Self-Assessment
  • Understanding symbols & metaphors
  • Experiential learning activity - from symbols to metaphors
  • Developing a relationship with the play room (experiential exercise in play therapy rooms)
  • Stages of symbolic play
  • Model of Play Therapy - Ecosystemic (K. O’Connor)
  • Model of Play Therapy - Adlerian (T. Kottman): video example
  • Play modality: expressive art activities

Day 4: Understanding the Directiveness Dimension

  • The play therapy process & case conceptualization along the Directiveness dimension
  • Practice exercises; Acknowledging non-verbal behavior; reflection of content & feeling
  • Experiential activity: Moving from Quadrant III to Quadrant IV
  • Play & development: A neurobiological perspective
  • Understanding play themes
  • Therapeutic Limit Setting: The A-C-T approach (G. Landreth)
  • Model of Play Therapy - Ericksonian (J. Mills): Video example
  • Model of Play Therapy – Narrative
  • Play Modality: Integrating dance & movement
  • Building a playroom (homework assignment)

Day 5: Play Therapy Process - Part 1

  • Review of homework - building a playroom
  • Common themes in children’s play examining child moderating factors
  • Therapist Immersion
  • Experiential activity- movement from Quadrant III to Quadrant IV
  • Therapeutic stages in play therapy
  • Play Modality: sandplay

Day 6: Play Therapy Conceptualization Tools

  • Working with caregivers: the review meeting; giving parents feedback
  • Child moderating factors
  • Case conceptualization
  • Play Modality: therapeutic storytelling (an “inside-out” perspective based on cognitive neuroscience & interpersonal neurobiology)

Day 7: Children & Trauma

  • Understanding children’s play
  • Defining trauma
  • Traumagenic states
  • Typical vs. maladjusted play: traumatic play
  • Video examples
  • Identifying traumatized children
  • The psychology of trauma
  • Case examples 

Day 8: Play Therapy Process - Part II

  • Transference & countertransference
  • Experiential activity: creative beginnings, middles and endings in play therapy
  • Specialized play therapy case notes
  • Case conceptualization using the PTDM: case illustration
  • Play modality: puppets

Day 9: Play-Based Assessments, Ethics and Professional Guidelines for Play Therapists

  • Assessment domains
  • Assessment approaches: structured vs. unstructured observations
  • 5-session screening assessment plan
  • Summarizing and communicating assessment results
  • Report writing guidelines
  • Managing issues of confidentiality when working with child clients
  • “Who is the client?”
  • Applicable codes of ethics
  • Experiential learning activity: case examples for decision-making
  • Group exercise: ethical dilemmas
  • Closing activity

Learning Objectives

To provide participants with an introduction to play therapy history, theory, techniques, and skills in play therapy. Upon successful completion of the course each participant will be able to:

  • List the therapeutic powers of play and the principles of underlying play therapy
  • Describe at least six different models of play therapy
  • Explain integrative approaches and decision making: awareness of the continuum of directive non-directiveness in play therapy
  • Discuss the importance of child development and play development in play therapy
  • Describe the play therapy process and the role of the play therapist
  • Design a play-based assessment to guide treatment planning
  • Explain the importance of ethical issues of play therapists
  • Analyze of use of self in play therapy
  • Explain traumatic versus non-traumatic play
  • Describe the importance of relationship development in the therapy process

Instructional Methods

  • Experiential activities
  • Video presentations
  • Case examples
  • Power point slide presentation
  • Experiential learning through role plays
  • Session seminars
  • Reading assignments
  • Written homework exercises
  • Small group learning activities

Certificate Award

Participants will receive a Certificate in Foundations of Play Therapy from RMPTI, indicating completion of both the academic and experiential learning components of the Green Stream. The certificate confirms the completion of 75 hours of specialized play therapy training following the guidelines set by APT and CAPT. 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 written assignment
  • Satisfactory attendance (no whole module may be missed unless there are extenuating circumstances. A makeup assignment may be requested depending on time missed)