The Academy of Play and Child Psychotherapy

Therapeutic Play Skills & Play Therapy

- the largest and most experienced dedicated play therapy training organisation

- the best support services for all levels of practitioners

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Accreditations Experiential & Practical Emphasis Integrated Learning
Therapeutic Environment Flexible Programme Our Record
Our Experience & History Guiding Principles Teaching and Learning Strategies

The APAC accredited play therapy training provides a consistent and coherent programme across the UK in 8 venues in a collaborative partnership with Leeds Beckett (formerly Leeds Metropolitan) University. In addition we deliver courses in Australia, France, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Ireland, Malaysia, Malta, New Zealand and Singapore.  The course content is the same wherever you choose to train.  The APAC faculty is used across all locations to deliver the courses in all venues.  The work is examined by the same professional staff and External Examiner. Our play therapy training courses fully meet the UK and International Standards set by Play Therapy UK  (PTUK) and Play Therapy International (PTI). This is a unique and more equitable approach than that used by other play therapy training providers.

Extensive clinical research shows that participants who successfully complete APAC's playtherapy training courses achieve measurable results with the children that are not available from other training programmes.

For more information - including the 'Complete Guide to Careers in Play Therapy' - a 28 page full colour brochure phone 01825 761143 or email



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Why Train With APAC?    
Enhance your skills - Develop your career - Change your life!

Internationally and nationally accredited courses

The Post Graduate Certificate in Therapeutic Play Skills, the Post Graduate Diploma in Play Therapy and the MA in Practice Based Play Therapy courses and programme are validated by the Leeds Beckett (formerly Leeds Metropolitan) University when delivered in the UK.  You will gain with international and national qualifications based on the highest play therapy standards.  (PTUK, PTI). 

We train you in the play therapy skills  that will enable you to obtain worthwhile postsDon't waste your time and money on courses that are not accredited by a university and also not by professional organisations.


In countries outside the UK, APAC strives to obtain equivalent recognition, where feasible. The situation is constantly evolving, for example:

In Ireland The National Qualifications Authority of Ireland (the NQAI) approved the alignment of the APAC courses stated above. 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. However more recently the National University of Ireland has accredited the MA in Practice Based Play Therapy when delivered in Ireland. This is an important consideration for employers.

In Australia the courses are recognised by the Australian Counselling Association (ACA)

As at May 21st 2013 Leeds Beckett (formerly Leeds Metropolitan) University accredits the APAC play therapy training courses delivered in: Antrim, Barnsley, Bristol, Edinburgh, Huntingdon, London, Manchester and Tunbridge Wells.

Emphasis on experiential and practical work

Skills for working in real life as a therapeutic play practitioner or a play therapist are gained more quickly and successfully on an experiential rather than a theoretical orientated course.  You'll be able to start to work safely and effectively more quickly with children.  We'll give you the confidence to start working with children from the first module of our Post Graduate Certificate in Therapeutic Play course. This will please your employer, if they are funding your play therapy training. How do we know this? From over 10,000 case reports submitted by our existing and former trainees. 


Of course we also provide all the necessary psychological theory and neuroscience evidence to inform your practice

Integrated learning processes









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The learning processes used by APAC are far more than providing just course lectures and presentations. They are based upon:

Acquiring knowledge - from presentations and reading material

Understanding the impact yourself of the techniques that have been demonstrated through the experiential exercises - experiencing the processes that the children will go through during therapy

Turning the knowledge into practical experience by working with children in a placement during the course period, receiving feed back from your Tutors and through undertaking a play therapy service project

Being supported and advised upon your work with children, by our faculty, which will help you to become competent

Guided reflection upon your progress and personal development

The practical therapeutic exercises using play and creative arts enable you to experience the processes that children undergo when taking part in therapeutic play.  Many find that the exercises enable them to work through their own issues thereby enhancing their own personal development.

Group supervision, in which your work with children is discussed with the Supervisor and other participants, accelerates your learning, dealing with real issues and problems that you will encounter.

The use of a process diary enables the Course Director to mentor your learning and personal development processes. 

Book reviews assist the process  that turns reading into learning.

Integrating research with practice.  Research methods are progressively introduced throughout the programme. Using the data that you obtain from the therapeutic play and play therapy with your clients enables you to analyse and reflect upon your own work as well as generating practice based evidence.

Therapeutic Environments

Our training centres are chosen for their peaceful, non-institutional environments.  Many are delightful, restored, country houses usually with large peaceful grounds.  They are never traditional classrooms.

Flexible programme to meet your needs



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Most of our play therapy training courses take place over a Friday and week-end so that you won't have to take too much time off work.  The timing also makes it easier to make arrangements to suit your family.

The location of our centres is within 2 hours drive of 80% of the population of England. For those who do not wish to travel we can arrange local training.

Our record

The latest PTUK research shows that our students achieve excellent clinical results as measured by the respected Goodmans SDQ psychometric instrument.  No other course measures clinical outcomes of their trainees' work to the extent that we do. This enables us to predict the performance, overall, of the trainees who successfully complete the courses.  Between 70% and 84% of the children, receiving therapeutic play or play therapy from practitioners successfully trained by APAC show a positive change.  The more severe the problems, the greater the percentage of children showing a positive change.

See what others say about us:


If you would like talk to any of our past or present course participants please get in touch with us. 

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Participants' comments:

Here are a few things that our course participants have kindly said about APAC and the play therapy training courses, mostly in response to our question 'Would you recommend the course to others and why?':

'At a recent residential weekend play therapy diploma course we had two blissful days of sharing knowledge, skills and experience with Nancy Mellon who helped us see how therapeutic story-telling can help us all.  Little did I know that it would change a rather difficult work relationship.' ES - (Certificate and Diploma Course)s

'Because the course places a huge emphasis on working with children throughout our training'. - PB

'This has opened up a whole new world & way of working with children which complements my own attitudes & beliefs.' - CP

'The experiential workshops as they give someone a good indication of what the work is about and touch their own inner child. And because they are fun.' - DM

'You learn so much about yourself and your interaction within a group setting.' - SA

'It is so inspirational and the fact that it is experiential is so very useful.' - HG

'Experience of the tutors is excellent and the experiential learning methods superb - really gives you the skills to practice.' - JB

'Enjoyable and learned a lot that has direct application for practice.' - FW

'Excellent experiential course, varied topics, highly experienced tutors. ' - AD

'Experiential, innovative, refreshing practical & gives qualification in working with children.' - JW

'Excellent course delivered by well informed, experienced facilitators & tutors, experiential with strong focus on self-awareness.' - MC

'The weekend formats with 7 weeks in between means that even in full-time work you can train & qualify. The experiential bias suited my style & personality. ' - LG

'Lots of hands on practical work. Lovely setting. Good space between modules giving time to absorb.' - JW

'I have found the course very good - not only in training and in giving me more skills but in looking at myself in a different way and in looking at situations in a different way.' - CT

'I would recommend to qualified psychotherapists who wish to develop their skills in working with children therapeutically.' - DM

'Yes it opens up a new world in play therapy and a fantastic way of working with children.' - JK

'Definitely. Experiential learning has been the most effective means of gaining new skills as well as developing self awareness. I cannot see how just an academic course could match this. A fantastic course.' - JB

'Professional and an excellent balance between experiential and academic. Has considerably enhanced my practice.' - RD

'Definitely. Methods of teaching so refreshing. Encourages own research and learning.' - VB

'Lots of experiential aspects so that you learn how the process works. Also it gives lots of potential ideas for working therapeutically.' - AW

'I wasn't sure what to expect regarding the practical/experiential work. This was really enjoyable and to have most of this course on a practical level was fantastic. -

'I would recommend the course as it is so practical and is organised in a way that

you can continue with your job simultaneously.' - SG

I'm really feel lucky that I had the opportunity to be part of the certificate group because my dream is coming true..... THANKS FOR INVENTING THIS COURSE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I'm sure that all the children that I will be helping will want to say this phrase to you..... BA

I had the best two weeks in La Mouline undertaking the Certificate course last week and I just want to express my gratitude to both you and Monika. After four years of University I never felt fully a part of anything but this course has given me a sense of security. EL

Play Therapy Training Experience - APAC's History

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APAC offers both public courses run at a number of centres and in-house programmes designed to meet the specific needs of organisations such as schools, care homes, counselling services, heath centres and social services.

In 1998 Monika Jephcott, a former school teacher, counsellor, psychotherapist and play therapist together with Jeff Thomas an information management and training methods expert reviewed the current state of play therapy training in the UK and the rest of the world.

They concluded that there was a need for innovation in play therapy training content and the ways in which it was delivered:

  1. The use of a full range of creative arts media was required to communicate with children who have social, emotional, behaviour and mental problems, what has now become known as 'The Play Therapy Tool-KitTM'

  2. A change in the balance, from an emphasis on theoretical to experiential and practical content.  From 70:30 as existing courses were at that time to 30:70 with the new APAC courses.

  3. Learning objectives must be based on the competences required for safe and effective practice with children, which in turn are derived from evidence based practice.

  4. The importance of measuring the clinical outcomes of trainees work during and after the playtherapy training courses.  APAC remains today unique in the trouble it takes to evaluate the effectiveness of its training programmes.

These principles were applied to the design of APAC's play therapy training courses. 

In response to local demand the first, experimental, "Introduction to Play Therapy" 3 day course was held in the autumn 1998 at Fern Hill, Fairwarp, East Sussex, UK. This was followed by a number of similar 1, 2 and 3 day events which in turn lead to the development of the 15 day "Certificate in Therapeutic Play Skills" and "Diploma in Play Therapy" courses.

In 2003 the MA in Practice Based Play Therapy programme was originally validated by Chichester University for academic standards.  Due to a rapid growth in the number of trainees, arrangements were made in 2005, to transfer to a larger university.  APAC's MA in Practice Based Play Therapy programme, which includes the Certificate and Diploma courses, is now run in a collaborative partnership with the Leeds Beckett (formerly Leeds Metropolitan) University.

These courses have been clinically accredited since 1999 by IBECPT, PTI (Play Therapy International) and PTUK (Play Therapy United Kingdom)

APAC has received considerable advice upon content from PTI based upon the criteria laid down by the International Board of Examiners of Certified Play Therapists (IBECPT) who were the first body in the world to set play therapy training standards.  Directors Monika Jephcott and Jeff Thomas worked closely with an international panel of Play Therapists in establishing PTUK's competency framework and Professional Structure Model.

In addition modified versions of courses have been provided in-house for a number of organisations, tailored to meet their specific needs for therapeutic work with children.  The demand has meant that APAC has had to run more than one "Post Graduate Certificate" course a year at most of our venues.  In December 2001 we commenced a training course in Play Therapy Supervision because of the national shortage of suitably qualified Supervisors.

APAC has trained over 1100 practitioners and run over 200 play therapy training courses since 2000, making it by far, the largest play therapy training provider in the UK and the rest of the world.

The main principles that we have adopted are:

APAC's Guiding Principles

The emphasis is upon experiential work underpinned by theory. The balance is about 70:30. We consider this to be vital in enabling our trainees to work safely and effectively and to be able to obtain jobs or assignments working with children.


The courses must be held in an environment that is therapeutically safe and conducive to participants being able to deal with their personal psychological issues that arise in learning - to deal with and experience their "inner child".


The use of experienced practitioners as well as leading experts in their field to deliver course content. Play and creative arts therapies are relatively recent developments – it is important for the trainees to have access to the latest specialised thinking.


Measurement of the application of the taught material and innovation under safe conditions by the trainees. ie through the use of clinical governance as mandated by PTUK.


Practical assistance in helping trainees with placements, locating approved Clinical Supervisors, identification of suitable research projects and career development, in conjunction with PTUK and PTI.


APAC's success is ultimately measured by the results that our trainees obtain in working with children.  "It's not just what you know, but what you can DO, that really counts!"

Teaching & Learning Strategies

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The teaching and learning strategies of APAC's programmes reflect the aims and objectives of offering an integrative perspective on play therapy and therapeutic practice at an advanced level. The training that is offered reflects the needs of mature learners who are, or are becoming, experienced practitioners. The Certificate, Diploma and MA programmes are a challenging set of courses which combine the convergence of theory, research and practice, together with the demands of self examination and openness to personal and emotional growth.

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    August 2010

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