The Academy of Play and Child Psychotherapy

Play Therapy Training Summer School

- the UK's largest and most experienced dedicated training organisation

- the best support services for all levels of practitioners

Open Courses

Summer School in the South of France 2017

In-house Courses

This course is intended to meet the needs of those who cannot find time during the year to undertake a long term course but would like to obtain a recognised and accredited qualification in the field of play therapy. Applications must be received by 10th May.

This play therapy programme has been clinically accredited by PTUK and PTI. The programme was updated in 2013 to meet the standards required to be a Registrant on the Register for Play and Creative Arts Therapists accredited by the Professional Standards Authority for Health and Social Care (PSA). It is important that participants have an understanding of these before starting the experiential training.

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Certificate Course


Designed for












The programme is designed for anyone interested in using play therapy, therapeutic play or developing their skills in working with children in settings such as:


Schools of all types - CAMHS teams - Social Services - Counselling Services - Adoption & Foster Agencies - Children's care homes - Children's charities - Hospitals - Primary Care - Mental Health etc


It is also designed for professionals who wish to obtain a formal qualification in therapeutic play skills to enable them to alleviate children’s slight to moderate emotional, behaviour and mental health problems including:

Care Workers - Counsellors - Nurses - Psychologists - Psychotherapists - Teachers - SENCOs - Social Workers etc








The first part of the course introduces mainly non-directive play techniques based upon the humanistic model and the work of Virginia Axline and Violet Oaklander. We will be outlining different therapeutic play techniques. Participants will experience non-directive play therapy for themselves through sandworlds and a dip into the main tools (art, music, movement and storytelling ). We will also cover employment opportunities and further training requirements for becoming a fully certified Play Therapist.


The second part of the course  builds upon the topics covered in the first part by covering: creative visualisation; music therapy skills; attachment theory; therapeutic storytelling, mask & puppet work; comparison of theoretical models of psychotherapy for working with children; sand play skills and related theory; child development theory; art therapy skills; dance and movement skills student presentations; endings.

This course is also primarily experiential and practical with many individual and group exercises.

Because of the intensive nature of the course applicants should be aware that considerable processing of personal issues may be expected to take place.

Learning Objectives






Upon successful completion of the course participants will:

  • Be able to apply the principles of non-directive therapy to their work with children.

  • Understand the therapeutic play continuum as a basis for deciding the way forward for individual children.

  • Decide upon future personal and career development

  • Be able to work safely and effectively with children using non-directive and directive therapeutic play within their own profession

  •  Be qualified to undertake further training to become a PTUK Certified Play Therapist

  • Be able to set up a safe and effective therapeutic play service

  • Understand the ethical standards to be applied

  • Be able to carry out professional assessments, clinical outcome measures and the required administrative tasks


15 days


No Days

Course Fees



Full 15 day course 'Post Graduate Certificate in Therapeutic Play Skills'




Attractive accommodation at a range of prices is available in bed and breakfast, gites, hotels and camping sites. (Many English speaking).  But you will need to book early because the Tarn is a popular area.

Course Venue Start Date
La Mouline, St Genest, France 22/07/2017 to 05/08/2017
Awards At the conclusion of the course a provisional Certificate in Therapeutic Play Skills will be awarded.  A 'PTUK/PTI Post Graduate Certificate in Therapeutic Play Skills' will be awarded after satisfactory completion of the required written and clinical course work.

Monika Jephcott - Programme Director - Certificate and Diploma courses

Course Director: Evelyn Saunders - Certificate and Diploma courses

Specialist Tutors - Diploma Course
























La Mouline, St Genest de Contest (near Realmont) Tarn, France

La Mouline was built as a small water mill in about 1850. It was burnt down 38 years ago and stood as a ruin for 35 years. APAC have completed a sympathetic restoration that combines many of the original features with the extensive use of glass to take advantage of the magnificent views.

It stands in 26 acres bordered by a mill stream. The grounds contain a small lake with an island and rowing boat. There is a heated salt water swimming pool for your use. We grow all our own vegetables and you will be able to pick fruit that is in season from a selection of over 70 fruit trees.

Although the nearest neighbour is a kilometre away La Mouline is only 10 minutes from the charming small town of Realmont which has an excellent supermarket, 5 bakers, 4 butchers, 2 pharmacies a doctor with fluent English and 6 ladies hairdressers(!),

Toulouse airport with budget airline services from many UK airports (typically £60 return) is less than an hour away.

View of Black Mountains from

near La Mouline


La Mouline - main building


See also: Further details of this superb therapeutic training environment

Heated salt water swimming pool

 for your enjoyment!

Diploma Course

Designed to

The course has been designed to:

  • Enhance your career/professional skills

  • Increase your satisfaction in working with children

  • Give you the skills to help children develop their emotional literacy

  • Give you the skills to alleviate behaviour and mental health problems

  • Assist your own personal development

  • Provide you with the  Profession Structure Model competencies defined by PTUK to work with individuals and groups of children who have moderate to severe problems

The Diploma course is the second part of a programme leading to an MA in Practised Based Play Therapy.  It is at stage 3 of the PTUK four stage training model


It may be undertaken as a 'stand alone' course by suitably qualified applicants.

Synopsis The course is experiential in nature and will be specifically rooted in non- directive play therapy.

AN INTEGRATIVE APPROACH TO PLAY THERAPY  - Children and their environment

As in the Certificate course material for the Diploma builds upon the theory and practice of humanistic psychology, particularly that of Virginia Axline ("Dibs In Search of Self") and Carl Rogers and gestalt play therapy developed by Violet Oaklander. It recognises contributions made by others in the early 1900s, such as John Bowlby, Margaret Lowenfeld, Donald Winnicott, Rachel Pinney etc It extends to a deeper understanding of the unconscious processes in relation to the child’s development based upon Freud, Jung, Graff, Fairburn Hillman, Moore and Jacobson. It also places importance on the spiritual aspect of human development. Opportunities for many forms of creativity will enrich the contents of the course.

You will be exploring ways of integrating the child as the centre of a social system, which includes schools, families, and team of support.

The main items in the 'Play Therapy Tool-Kit' are re-visited at a greater level of competence, put into practice with more difficult problems and used as assessment methods.

Learning Objectives The overall purpose is to enable participants to practice safely and effectively as a Play Therapist.

Upon successful completion of the course each participant will have gained:

• the competencies to work with all children (individual and group) of with all problems where Play therapy is suitable and with children and young people with mild to severe problems

• to make assessments incorporating the PDM

• A sound understanding of the principles underlying play therapy and the appropriate use of techniques

• The competencies required for running play therapy sessions with groups of children as well as individuals

• An ability to assess children's needs and set up a play therapy services unit

• An ability to make decisions taking into account the ethical issues concerning all parties involved

• Increased confidence in using play therapy with children and adolescents and communications with referrers, parents and guardians

• The counselling, therapeutic and practical skills to carry out effective play therapy

• Awareness of your own process and development

• A comprehensive theoretical knowledge of child development and child psychology

• An ability to use the taught play therapy skills as assessment tools

• The ability to use a full play therapy tool-kit

• A basic understanding of play therapy research issues and methods

Course Content

(The sequence and content may vary slightly from course to course)

Introduction to Working with Groups; Developing Metaphors for Group Working; Introduction to Research Methods;. Developing Expressive Arts Skills - 1 - Dance and Movement for Groups; Assessment; Special cases: Autism, Mental/Physical disability

Developing Expressive Arts Skills - Music Working With Parents/Teachers, Assessments through observation using video case studies

Developing Theatre Form Skills -Therapeutic Story Telling;. EPR; Assessment methods; Special cases: Loss/Bereavement, Separation

Developing Symbolic Play Skills; Sand Play - Advanced Skills; Working with Metaphors; Endings, Special cases: Physically and sexually abused - children who have experienced trauma

Developing Expressive Arts Skills - Art in child development; Court Work; Student presentation

Learning Methods

Participants will learn through working with other members of the course about the roles and responsibilities of the therapeutic relationship. There will be tutorials on theory but formal teaching and lecturing will be kept to an essential minimum.

Learning will be experiential and collaborative using pair, group work, role-play and case presentations. Homework reading and other assignments will provide new information and consolidation of material from the experiential work encountered within the weekends. Assignments will be subject of group discussions the following weekend.

It is essential that participants are working with children.  100 supervised hours need to be completed before the Diploma can be awarded.  The situations and problems that you encounter in real life outside the classroom together with their solutions are an essential part of the learning process.

Award The Post Graduate Diploma in Play Therapy will be awarded, with 60 'M' points (if University registered), on the basis of:
  • Two written case studies, covering the work with a child for at least 1 year and showing a clear integration of theory and practice.
  • Completion of an individual practical therapeutic project, designed and documented by the participant.
  • Continuous evaluation of course work contributions and ability to work with group dynamics
  • Post training presentation
  • Evidence of a further 100 hrs supervised hours of working with children using play therapy
  • Completion an an essay of about 3000 words
  • Evidence of regular play therapy supervision
  • Satisfactory attendance on the course


No Days

Course Fees



Full 15 day course 'Post Graduate Diploma in Play Therapy'




Attractive accommodation at a range of prices is available in bed and breakfast, gites, hotels and camping sites. (Many English speaking).  But you will need to book early because the Tarn is a popular area.

Course Title Start Date

Diploma in Play Therapy - (15 days)

22/07/2017 - 05/08/2017

Comments & Results from Previous Schools











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A selection of  comments from the participants is given below.  The original documents from which these comments are taken may be inspected at Fern Hill by arrangement.

'My life has been changed and enriched by my introduction to non-directive play therapy.'

'I would most definitely recommend the course. It has been a fantastic learning experience in a fantastic location.'

'I have already recommended this course. My belief is that experiential learning has the capacity for the learner to be able to ground the learning. '

'The course has been an incredible journey. I believe that those working with children should undertake this course to understand the inner world of the child and the child as a whole being.'

'This has been an incredible journey for me and I will be leaving La Mouline a much different person than when I arrived. A huge burden has been lifted from my shoulders and for the first time in my life I am FREE!'

'You bet I would (recommend the course). A journey I would not have missed for the world. It has shone a light on what I really want to do.'

'I think more Art Therapists who work with children should extend their skills and begin to work with Play Therapists. The environment at La Mouline seems to help balance out the levels of anxiety which can be experienced whilst involved in this training process.'

'I would recommend the course as it is so practical and is organised in a way that you can continue with your own job simultaneously.'

'I have found the intensive 12 days in France to be an excellent way to learn in a beautiful setting – plus the group process facilitated my individual process. '

'Yes I would certainly recommend the course – it is essential for people working with children to know and understand how children communicate through the power of play. It has been a challenging course which has been both joyful and painful at times. The intensity of the course has helped me to become aware of my personal awareness like no other course.'

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


2005 Student Evaluations of Play Therapy Training


25 participants completed evaluations of the full play therapy programme using a scale: 1 = Poor to 5 = Excellent .  The overall score of 4.19 suggests a high level of satisfaction.


This chart shows a very high level of satisfaction with all topics.

This chart shows a very high level of satisfaction with all learning methods.  The emphasis on experiential work and case histories validates APAC's approach to play therapy training.