Emphasis on experiential and practical work
Our training provides you with both international and national qualifications based on the highest play therapy standards in whichever of our venues you train and qualification for the Register of Play and Creative Arts Therapists accredited by the UK Professional Standards Authority (PSA).
We train you in the play therapy skills that will enable you to obtain worthwhile posts. Don't waste your time and money on courses that are not accredited by a university and also not accepted on a register accredited by the PSA.
In countries outside the UK the PSA, PTUK and PTI standards are accepted as de facto standards until they develop their own national policies and standards.
Internationally and nationally accredited courses
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.
Integrated learning processes
The learning processes used by APAC are far more than providing just course lectures and presentations. They are based upon:
- Acquiring knowledge - from presentations, on-line access to over 500 papers and articles related to play therapy
- Understanding the impact yourself of the techniques that have been demonstrated through the experiential exercises – identifying any person issues that you will need to manage during practice with the children
- Turning the knowledge into practical experience by working with children in a placement during the course period, receiving feedback 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 confidential process diary enables the Course Director to mentor your learning and personal development processes.
- Integrating research with practice. Research methods are progressively introduced throughout the programme. Using the data that you obtain from working with your clients enables you to analyse and reflect upon your own work as well as generating practice based evidence.
Our training centres are chosen for their peaceful, non-institutional environments wherever possible. Many are delightful, restored, country houses usually with large peaceful grounds. (In the centre of big cities this may not be possible - but we never use traditional classrooms.)
Flexible programme to meet your needs
All of our UK and Irish 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 the UK.
Our annual Summer School delivers the same content over 15 intensive days. This is popular with those who cannot take time off in five three day blocks spread over nine months. It is also attractive for overseas participants from countries where we don’t have a venue. Over 80 trainees attended our 2019 courses at own La Mouline venue in the South of France
Our clinical 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 and activities 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.
How the programme has been developed
In 1998 Monika Jephcott, a former school teacher, counsellor, psychotherapist and play therapist together with Jeff Thomas a marketing, 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-Kit
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 but subsequently changed in the light of experience to practice based evidence.
4. The importance of measuring the clinical outcomes of trainees work during and after the play therapy training courses. APAC still 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 by IBECPT (1999 – 2013), the British Council for Therapeutic Interventions for Children (BCTIWC – 2013 onwards), 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 (1986). 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.
Over the years we have continually updated the content of the courses including the addition of clay, water and messy play to the Play Therapy Tool Kit, advanced digital methods of record keeping and reporting and model data protection policies to meet the GDPR requirements.
We have also added courses for Clinical Supervisors, Filial Play Coaching and for working with Young People combining play and creative arts therapies with talking therapies.
APAC's Guiding Principles
The main principles that we have adopted are:
1. The emphasis is upon experiential and practical 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.
2. 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".
3. The use of experienced practitioners with a minimum of 500 hours clinical practice to deliver course content. Play and creative arts therapies are relatively recent developments – it is important for the trainees to the application of the latest specialised thinking to practice.
4. Measurement of the application of the taught material and innovation under safe conditions by the trainees. ie through the use of quality assurance/clinical governance as mandated by PTUK.
5. 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.
6. 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
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.