Purple Stream: Certificate in Therapeutic Play Skills


Certificate in Therapeutic Play Skills: Level I

This certificate program can be taken as a stand-alone specialized training for those wishing to explore therapeutic play-based interventions and modalities. The program focuses on play-based strategies and techniques, as applied to special population/referral issues, as well as being based on a developmental approach. Previous workshops or training in working with children in educational and counselling settings is recommended. Admission requirements include course-work at a college-level and relevant work experience.

The Certificate in Therapeutic Play Skills Level I, consists of 28 contact hours of therapeutic play training. The practical skills attained during this course may apply to a wide range of educational, counselling and outreach settings. Not all settings have a designated play space in which to work with children and youth, therefore the portable play therapy kit is introduced, and participants will receive training on the use of play-based strategies from a wide range of modalities including: Expressive Art, Puppets, Miniatures, Therapeutic Games, Therapeutic Stories and Play Dough/Clay.

The program addresses specific topics related to schools, counseling centres and outreach counselling. Participants will have the opportunity to engage in experiential activities that are easy to implement in a variety of settings.


On-Site Participant Fee: $1400.00 plus GST (4-day course including materials)
Click here to apply.

Program Goals

The primary goals of this program are to introduce play-based and expressive activities as a way to work with children in a variety of educational and counselling settings including schools and outreach/community settings, and to enhance awareness of clinical judgment in selecting, tailoring and implementing play-based activities. Case vignettes focus on common referral issues in school and community-based settings and are related to working with minor to moderate adjustment issues. During the program two theories of play therapy practice will be reviewed: Child-Centred Play Therapy and Adlerian Play Therapy.

Program Outline

Day 1

  • Introductions & Course Objectives
  • Group Exercise
  • What are Therapeutic Play Skills?
  • Play Therapy Definition and the Continuum of Play
  • Presenting Issues for Therapeutic Play Practitioners
  • When to make Referrals?
  • Four Areas of Adjustment
  • Working with Case Examples
  • Working with the Difficult /Easy Child
  • Developing Inquiry Skills
  • Exploring your Play Style
  • Following the Child’s Lead – Non-Directive Practice Exercise

Day 2

  • Warm-up Activity
  • Table Group Discussion – Child-Centred Play Therapy
  • Play Development
  • Categories of Play
  • Symbols and Metaphors
  • Experiential Learning Exercise
  • Play Objects Exercise
  • Portable Play Therapy Kit Introduction
  • Therapeutic Powers of Play
  • Art Making – Case Example
  • Reading: Adlerian Play Therapy

Day 3

  • Experiential Exercise
  • Table Groups: Review of Adlerian Play Therapy
  • Creating Safety in the Play Space
  • Common Themes in Children’s Play
  • Setting Therapeutic Limits
  • The Play Therapy Dimensions Model (Introduction to Model)
  • Introduction to the Use of Puppets
  • Puppets – Case Example

Day 4

  • Experiential Exercise
  • Special Issues Arising in Your Setting: Play and Expressive-Based Interventions
  • Therapeutic Stories: Developing stories for special issues
  • Therapeutic Games
  • Child Moderating Factors Checklist
  • Ethics: Scope of Practice

Learning Objectives

To provide practitioners working in a variety of settings tools for working with children and youth with mild to moderate adjustment problems. Certificate in Therapeutic Play Skills Level I is intended to provide practitioners with basic play and expressive knowledge and skills. Practitioners who complete this course meet the entry requirements to Therapeutic Play Skills: Practice and Applications Level II.

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

  • Describe up to 6 play-based activities suitable for use in a variety of educational, counselling and outreach settings
  • List play objects in the portable play therapy bag
  • Describe basic principles of Child-Centred and Adlerian Play Therapy Theories
  • Demonstrate basic inquiry skills
  • Demonstrate an ability to follow the child’s lead in a play session
  • Discuss five play modalities
  • Describe Ethical issues in therapeutic play practice
  • Demonstrate scope and limitations in practice when using therapeutic play
  • Demonstrate engagement skills with children and youth
  • List play categories
  • Describe symbols and metaphors through case examples
  • List six core therapeutic powers of play
  • Use developmental frameworks when engaging in therapeutic play
  • List common themes in children’s play
  • Describe the core dimensions of the Play Therapy Dimensions
  • Describe how to ensure safety in the therapeutic play setting
  • Demonstrate the use of limit-setting in the therapeutic play setting


  • Experiential activities
  • Readings
  • Video clips
  • Case examples


Participants will receive a Certificate in Therapeutic Play Skills confirming the completion of 28 hours of specialized training in play-based interventions. This training may only be used for designated continuing education purposes and cannot be used for certification purposes towards CPT or RPT credentials or for CE’s for CPT or RPT.

A certificate is 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).