Purple Stream: Certificate in Therapeutic Play Skills

Earn the qualification of Therapeutic Play Practitioner(TPP)

This certificate program offers specialized training in therapeutic play skills for those working with children and/or families. The program focuses on play-based strategies and techniques and introduces participants to a variety of play modalities and theories of play interventions based on principles of child development. This course is suited to those who do not intend on becoming a registered or certified play therapist. The program is designed for those who want to increase their knowledge and skills when working with children through acquiring this special designation.

The course is divided into two parts (Level I and Level II) and is comprised of a total of 6 days of training - 42 hours contact, 5 hours online (47 hours total).  The practical skills attained during this course may apply to a wide range of developmental, educational, counselling and outreach settings. Not all settings have a designated play space in which to work with children and youth, therefore participants learn how to create a portable play kit. 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.

Level II comprises the last two days of the Certificate in Therapeutic Play Skills: Practice and Applications training. During this part of the course participants will focus on the use of sandtray, meeting with parents caregivers and teachers, group work using play-based strategies and case conceptualization using the Therapeutic Play Practitioner’s Conceptualization Form. The program addresses specific topics related to schools, counselling centres and outreach counselling. Overall, the program is based in theory and is highly experiential. The practical skills will meet the requirements for the Competencies Checklist for Therapeutic Play Practitioners.

Upon successful completion of Level I and Level II (which includes full daily attendance for all 6 training days) as well as an assignment, participants will receive a Certificate in Therapeutic Play Skills awarded by Rocky Mountain Play Therapy Institute. Upon receiving the final certificate participants will have met the requirement to be a Therapeutic Play Practitioner (TPP) and may add this designation to their current qualifications.

Also view: 9-Hour Certificate: Foundations in Therapeutic Play Skills

Admission Requirements

  • Completion of course work at College-level (minimum)
  • Academic background is focussed in the areas of Humanities, Health, Social Science, Education or Mental Health
  • Relevant work experience with children and/or families

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.

Cost: $1850.00 plus GST ($450.00 deposit).

 Level I 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 levels I and II are intended to provide practitioners with basic play and expressive knowledge and skills.

Upon successful completion of Level I 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

Program Outline Level II Learning Objectives

To provide practitioners in a variety of settings therapeutic play skills to work with children and youth with mild to moderate adjustment problems. Practitioners who are enrolled in this course will have completed the Certificate in Therapeutic Play Skills: Level I.

Upon Successful Completion of Level II, each participant will be able to:

  • Describe the sandtray process
  • List materials and objects for working therapeutically with sandtray
  • Use the sandtray both directively and non-directively
  • Describe the theory behind using sandtray as a form of therapeutic play
  • Describe how to make meaning out of children’s sandtrays
  • Discuss important factors when meeting with parents/caregivers
  • List at least three different parent/caregiver styles
  • Describe how to take a play history with a parent/caregiver
  • Explain therapeutic play to parents, caregivers and teachers
  • Describe the roles of parents, caregivers and teachers in the therapeutic play process
  • Describe the role of the Therapeutic Play Practitioner and the difference between this role and the role of a Play Therapist
  • Demonstrate how to provide feedback to parents
  • Describe key case planning concepts
  • Describe how to interface with teachers
  • List ways of working with teachers and various school settings
  • Demonstrate the use of the case conceptualization form
  • Describe types of goals in therapeutic play
  • List play observation categories
  • List at least 4 therapeutic play group rationales
  • Describe the development of a play group
  • Discuss leadership styles for group leaders
  • Describe the roles of parents and teachers in group work


  • Experiential Activities
  • Readings
  • Group Work
  • Video Clips
  • Case Examples


Upon completion of Level I and II, participants will receive a Certificate in Therapeutic Play Skills / Therapeutic Play Practitioner indicating the completion of 42 hours contact, 5 hours online (47 hours total) of specialized training in therapeutic play skills. Those who have completed the 47 hour training and successfully completed the assignments may add the special designation “Therapeutic Play Practitioner” (TPP) to their current credential(s).

This training cannot be used towards Certified Play Therapist or Registered Play Therapist credentials or for CE’s for CPTs or RPTs with CAPT or APT.

Exception: Those with a Masters Degree in Mental Health may use the course towards continuing education upon the approval of APT or CAPT.

The Certificate in Therapeutic Play Skills is awarded by Rocky Mountain Play Therapy Institute.on the basis of:

  • Satisfactory attendance (no whole module may be missed unless there are extenuating circumstances. A make-up assignment may be required depending on amount of time missed)
  • Submission of the Self-Assessment as related to core competencies of the Therapeutic Play Practitioner and approval from the External Examiner


The Rocky Mountain Play Therapy Institute (RMPTI) serves as the international professional association for the field of Therapeutic Play Skills and the certification of Therapeutic Play Practitioners (TPPs).

In accordance existing guidelines governing the training and certification of professionals in the field of Play Therapy / Therapeutic Play, a membership guideline was developed to ensure compliance with international standards in order to provide consistent, quality training and ongoing support to our TPP membership.

Therapeutic Play Practitioners must maintain status as a member in good standing with RMPTI and comply with the RMPTI Therapeutic Play Practitioner Competencies.

The Canadian Association for Play Therapy (CAPT) Code of Ethics provides valuable information/guidance pertaining to therapeutic play practice and professional standards of conduct. Failure to comply with the competencies and ethics stated herein may result in the cancelation of TPP certification status.

Click here for the details of Criteria for Certification.

Click here to apply.