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About APAC - Academy of Play and Child Psychotherapy

APAC was established in 1998 to provide training in all aspects of child mental health and emotional well-being with Play Therapy at the heart. Over the years we have become the largest and most experienced dedicated training organisation worldwide. APAC’s current share of the level 7 Play Therapy training market in the UK is now estimated at 83%. We teach the Integrative Holistic model of Play Therapy. It is the only Play Therapy training programme validated through a practice evidence base with over 60,000 outcome measures by referrers and parents.

We provide training for professionals who wish to work with children using therapeutic play and Play Therapy and be registered with the Register of Play and Creative Arts Therapist accredited by the Professional Standards Authority and managed by Play Therapy UK (PTUK). Overseas registrants are also accepted on the register through Play Therapy International (PTI). We also provide the advanced diploma in counselling children using the creative arts which is a conversion course for already trained counsellors and psychotherapists.

Our core training courses are at UK post graduate level 7, academically rigorous and professionally robust. CPD courses cannot be used to train initially as a Play Therapist but we do run a series of post qualifying courses.

The APAC accredited Play Therapy training provides a consistent and coherent programme across the UK in 12 venues in a collaborative partnership with Chichester University in the UK, and University College Cork.  In addition we deliver courses in Australia, France, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Ireland, Malaysia, 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 Examiners. 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

Emphasis on Experiential and Practical Work

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 Chichester University when delivered in the UK, and with University College Cork.  You will gain 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 posts.  Don’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. 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)

Chichester University accredits the APAC Play Therapy training courses delivered in: Antrim, Barnsley, Bournville, Bristol, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Huntingdon, London, Manchester, Truro, Tunbridge Wells, and Windsor.  National University of Ireland accredits APAC Play Therapy training courses delivered in Dublin, Cork and Galway.

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. How do we know this? From over 20,000 case reports submitted by our existing and former trainees.

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 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.
  • 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

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.

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

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?

“Enjoyable and learned a lot that has direct application for practice.” FW

“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

“Definitely. Methods of teaching so refreshing. Encourages own research and learning.” VB

“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

“Yes it opens up a new world in Play Therapy and a fantastic way of working with children.” JK

Play Therapy Training Experience - APAC's History

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 Chichester 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.

Since 2000, APAC has trained over 6,000 practitioners in the UK alone, and run over 500 Play Therapy training courses internationally, making it by far, the largest Play Therapy training provider in the UK and the rest of the world.

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 and 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.