Yellow Stream:
Certificate in Treatment of Trauma using Play Therapy Skills and Techniques

yellow stream

Special Interest & Advanced Practitioner

This certificate program can be taken as a stand-alone specialized training for Masters degree level mental health practitioners (or those in a Masters degree program) wishing to explore this play intervention/modality. Due to the focus on trauma and play-based techniques, previous training in play therapy is recommended.

The Certificate in Treatment of Trauma using Play Therapy Skills and Techniques provides 26.5 hours (21 direct contact hours PLUS a pre-course on-line component with a Mastery Test) of specialized play therapy training that may be submitted to APT and/or CAPT for continuing education hours. Students will have three months to complete the required written case assignment.

This training may only be used for continuing education purposes and cannot be used for certification purposes towards CPT or RPT credentials. APT and CAPT alone hold the right to accept or deny any continuing education training at their discretion.

Program Goals

The primary goal of this program is to deepen participants’ understanding of a play-based approach to the assessment and treatment of trauma. Participants will have the opportunity to engage in experiential play and expressive activities useful in the processing of situational, sexual, physical and emotional trauma. Participants will be exposed to various theories and conceptualization tools related to the treatment of trauma. Directive and non-directive approaches will be explored.


For full details please refer to the application form. To access program dates see the training calendar.

Cancellation policy

Who Should Attend?

This program is designed for those practitioners who wish to add to their play therapy training resume. All hours accumulated in the yellow stream may be submitted to Apt and/or CAPT for continuing education hours.

Entrance Requirements

Completed or attending a Masters degree in Counseling, Psychology or Clinical Social Work . Completion of the Foundations of Play Therapy: Green Stream program is recommended.

Required Readings

Johnson, K. (1989). Trauma in the lives of children. Alameda, CA: Hunter House Inc.


Cohen, J.A. (2012). Trauma-focused CBT for Children and Adolescents: Treatment Applications. New York NY: The Guilford Press.

Gil, E. (2017). Posttraumatic Play in Children: What Clinicians Need to Know. New York NY: The Guilford Press.

Gil, E., & Shaw, J. (2013). Working with Children with Sexual Behavior Problems. New York NY: The Guilford Press.

Gil, E. (2006). Helping Abused and Traumatized Children: Integrating Directive and Non-directive Approaches. New York NY: The Guilford Press.

Goodyear-Brown, P. (2019). Trauma and Play Therapy: Helping Children Heal. New York NY: Routledge.

Goodyear-Brown, P. (2010). Play Therapy with Traumatized Children: A Prescriptive Approach. New York NY: Wiley & Sons.

Mahmoudi-Gharaei, J., Bina, M., Yasami, M.T., Emami, A., & Naderi, F. (2006). Group play therapy effect on Bam earthquake related emotional and behavioral symptoms in preschool children: A before-after trial. Iran Journal of Pediatrics, 16(2), 137-142.

Malchiodi, C.A. (2015). Creative Interventions with Traumatized Children, 2nd Ed. New York NY: The Guilford Press.

Phifer, L., Crowder, A., Elsenraat, T. & Hull, R. (2017). CBT Toolbox for Children and Adolescents: Over 220 Worksheets and Exercises for Trauma, ADHD, Autism, Anxiety, Depression and Conduct Disorders. WI: PESI Publications and Media.

Reyes, C. J., & Asbrand, J. P. (2005). A longitudinal study assessing trauma symptoms in sexually abused children engaged in play therapy. International Journal of Play Therapy, 14(2), 25-47.

Schottelkorb, A. A., Doumas, D. M., & Garcia, R. (2012). Treatment for childhood refugee trauma: A randomized, controlled trial. International Journal of Play Therapy, 21(2), 53- 73.

Steele, W. & Malchiodi, C.A. (2012). Trauma Informed Practices with Children. New York NY: Routledge.

Van der Kolk, B. A. (2005). Developmental trauma disorder: Toward a rational diagnosis for children with complex trauma histories. Psychiatric Annals, 35, 401-408. 

Program Outline

On-Line Program:

  • Introduction to the trauma spectrum
  • The response to crisis pathways
  • Children’s reactions to trauma
  • Theoretical underpinnings – attachment theory
  • The directiveness continuum
  • Personal exercises
  • Experiential exercises with case studies
  • Treatment goals

Day 1:

  • Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
  • Acute Stress & Post Traumatic Stress Disorder reactions among children and adolescents: the Stress Response Profile
  • Child development, trauma and memory
  • Traumagenic states
  • Case Conceptualization tool
  • Identifying re-enactments and trauma fragments
  • Dissociation
  • Assessment & treatment goals
  • Experiential exercises
  • Video examples and slides

Day 2:

  • Working with sexually abused children & adolescent: developmental considerations
  • Personal exercise
  • Trauma-focused play therapy
  • Case example
  • Practical/case conceptualization activity using play modalities of sandplay, dollhouse, puppets& expressive art
  • Decision-making and tracking significant issues
  • Recording observations, themes and process

Day 3:

  • Working with physically and/or emotionally abused children and adolescent
  • Issues for consideration
  • Experiential exercises using play and expressive techniques: storytelling, bibliotherapy, art, mask-making, movement
  • Case examples

Learning Objectives

To provide an overview of special issues related to the treatment of trauma.

Upon successful completion of the course each participant will be able to:

  • Describe an introduction to trauma and efficacy of treatment in play therapy
  • Demonstrate an ability to work a number of play-based approaches as related to the treatment of trauma in play therapy
  • Describe how to intervene with traumatized children and adolescents in play therapy
  • List the special considerations when working with the spectrum of trauma in the play therapy setting
  • Demonstrate ways to provide feedback to parents and third parties in play therapy
  • Demonstrate an understanding of when to be directive or non-directive when working with trauma cases in the play therapy setting


  • Experiential activities
  • Videos & case examples
  • Reading assignments
  • Written case conceptualization assignment


Awards Participants will receive a Certificate in Play-Based Treatment of Trauma from Rocky Mountain Play Therapy Institute. This certificate confirms the completion of he completion of 21 hours of specialized play therapy training approved by APT and CAPT. All training hours count toward certification or registration as a play therapist.

The certificate will be awarded on the basis of:

  • Satisfactory attendance (no whole module may be missed unless there are extenuating circumstances. A makeup assignment may be requested depending on time missed).
  • Satisfactory completion of a written case conceptualization.