In order to be trained as a safe and effective Play Therapist or Practitioner of Therapeutic Play Skills it is essential that the play therapy courses that you undertake are fully accredited by two different types of organisations:
- A Play Therapy professional organisation recognised by the UK Government. In this case PTUK who manage the 'Register of Play and Creative Arts Therapists', accredited by the Professional Standards Authority under the Accredited Register programme.
- A Government recognised University - in the case of our courses delivered in the UK, Leeds Beckett (formerly Leeds Metropolitan) University
The professional organisation is needed to issue a Certificate of Practice and to ensure that the quality of clinical work is acceptable. The University is required to manage the quality of the academic work and to make the post graduate awards.
All of the Academy of Play and Child Psychotherapy (APAC)'s courses are accredited for clinical content by PTUK - the UK Society for Play and Creative Arts Therapies. PTUK was set up as a not for profit organisation in 1999 to promote the use of play therapy and therapeutic play, to provide an infrastructure for safe practice, provide support for play therapy practitioners and to modernise the profession in the UK.
In other countries these roles are undertaken by PTI - Play Therapy International which has members in over 30 countries. PTI administers the educational accreditation and certification standards.
The post graduate Certificate in Therapeutic Play Skills, the Diploma in Play Therapy and MA in Practice Based Play Therapy awards were originally validated for academic standards by the University College of Chichester. APAC now works in a collaborative partnership with Leeds Beckett (formerly Leeds Metropolitan) University who are responsible for the management of academic quality and the post graduate awards for courses delivered in the UK.
The National University of Ireland, Galway, are responsible for the management of academic quality and the post graduate awards for courses delivered in the Republic of Ireland. In addition the National Qualifications Authority of Ireland (the NQAI) have approved the alignment of the following three awards with the National Framework of Qualifications (the NFQ):
- Postgraduate Certificate in Therapeutic Play Skills
- Postgraduate Diploma in Practice Based Play Therapy
- MA in Practice Based Play Therapy
This means that participants successfully completing the courses will have awards fully equivalent to those made by an Irish university and are at level 9. This is an important consideration for employers.
Do not waste time or money on courses that are not accredited both by a recognised play therapy professional organisation AND a University. They will not give you awards that are recognised by employers. Beware that some training providers claim that their courses are at 'post graduate level'. These will not provide post graduate awards, which in the UK can only be awarded by a recognised university.
Also be aware that in some countries universities are set up without the recognition of the Government and therefore their awards are not valid.
Finally be aware that distance learning courses cannot, on their own, provide the essential experiential training that is required to become a safe and effective practitioner.