Stage 3 – Diploma Courses in Play Therapy

Diploma Courses delivered in the UK are validated for academic standards by Leeds Beckett (formerly Leeds Metropolitan) University, as part of the MA in Practice Based Play Therapy programme run in a collaborative partnership with APAC. The academic award is made by Leeds Beckett (formerly Leeds Metropolitan) University.

Several intakes per year. To submit and application, please click here

The National University of Ireland, Galway, are responsible for the management of academic quality and the post graduate awards for these diploma courses delivered in the Republic of Ireland.

The professional award which enables successful students to practice clinically is made by PTUK, or for overseas students by PTI. Successful participants will be placed as ‘Certified Practitioners in Therapeutic Play Skills’ on the Register – Play Therapy UK’s Register of Play and Creative Arts Therapists which is accredited by the Professional Standards Authority.

We are proud to announce APAC’s Post Graduate Certificate running in collaborative partnership with NUI Galway. Summer School for 15 days starts July 2018 Click For More Details.

Designed To

The Diploma course is designed for anyone who has successfully completed the APAC Certificate in Therapeutic Play and has at least 50 hours experience of working with children or adolescents using Play Therapy. Participants may come from any background such as:

  • Counsellors Psychotherapists
  • Clinical Psychologists
  • Primary School Teachers/Assistants
  • Nurses
  • Nursery School Teachers/Assistants
  • Social Workers
  • Play School Teachers/Assistants
  • Care Home Staff
  • Adoption/Foster Agency Workers

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

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.


An integrative approach to Play Therapy – Children and their environment

The course is experiential in nature and will be specifically rooted in non- directive Play Therapy.

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’ covered in the ‘Certificate in Therapeutic Play Skills’ are re-visited at a greater level of competence and converted into skills to be used with therapeutic groups. You will also learn how to deal with more difficult problems and using the PDM as an assessment tool.

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 Structure

Module Descriptions (Modules 1 – 3 form the Certificate in Therapeutic Skills  course)

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

Module 4 - Working Therapeutically with Groups of Children - developing metaphorical play skills at an advanced level

The aim of this module is for students to utilise advanced play therapy interventions with children who have more severe problems and introduce working therapeutically with groups of children.

  • Revisit the play therapy tools taught in the PG Certificate to enable the students to work with more severe problems
  • Therapeutic group work.
  • New theoretical concepts are introduced including the Embodiment, Projection and Role (EPR) framework and the Play Therapy Dimensions Model (PTDM).
  • Particular attention is given throughout the module to the students’ abilities to work harmoniously and productively within a group as well as to run and be responsible for play therapy groups.

Module 5 - Therapeutic decision taking, based on deepening skills for working with more severe problems

The aim of this module is for students

  • To be able to use and critically analyse sand play and art therapy techniques at a deeper level required for children with severe problems.
  • To prepare students to act within a legal and ethical framework as advocates of children who are part of the legal process and who have disclosed abuse.  This includes responding to requests from and writing reports for the Court.

Module 6 - Integrating the therapeutic tool-kit with practice and research

The aim of this module is for students

  • To enable mastery of clay and masks for application within a broad range of conditions will be further enhanced.
  • To enable the use of the tool-kit with a wide range of conditions.
  • Extend knowledge of neurobiology and research methods.
  • This includes contributing to the play therapy practice based evidence base and the consideration of new topics for research.
  • Working therapeutically with groups is put into practice.
  • Knowledge of neurobiology and links with psychotherapy are extended.
  • Solutions are found to problems that have been encountered in setting up a play therapy service.

Learning Methods

The course is divided into 3 modules some of which will gain a CPD certificate in its own right for the skills learnt as above. P

articipants 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 whilst the course is in progress.  100 supervised hours need to be completed before the Diploma can be awarded.  (These hours are additional to those required for the certificate course). Group clinical supervision of this work is a primary learning method.  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.


15 days consisting of 3 x 3 day modules (Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays) spread over 7 – 9 months. Alternatively as a 15 day intensive course at the Summer School in La Mouline, South of France and in Hong Kong , Sydney, Australia, Hamilton , New Zealand and Ireland


The Post Graduate Diploma in Play Therapy will be awarded, with 60 ‘M’ points, 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


Leeds Beckett (formerly Leeds Metropolitan) University are marked LBU
Venues in Ireland validated by National University of Ireland (NUI) Galway and marked NUI
Click here for NUI Galway details

East of England

South East England

West Midlands

  • Moor Hall HotelLBU, Moor Hall Hotel, Moor Hall Drive, Four Oaks, Sutton Coldfield, West Midlands B75 6LN

West of England & Wales

North of England


Northern Ireland


For Garda vetting please contact


  • La MoulineLBU, St Genest de Contest, Tarn, France

And other locations upon request.

Faculty / Facilitators

Selected from APAC’s faculty.


  • UK Courses = £3,400 plus University Registration Fee of £370
  • Irish Courses = €3,950 including University Registration Fee

The additional Registration Fee Shown above is to register with the University for this course as a part of the MA in Practise Based Play Therapy programme. There will be an additional University registration fees if you subsequently  proceed to the MA stage.

Course fees are not inclusive of accommodation or travel; onsite bed and breakfast accommodation is available at the majority of our Training Centres, but this must be booked directly with the Venue and will incur an additional charge.

Course Dates

Course Venue1st Block2nd Block3rd Block4th Block5th Block
Moor Hall Hotel,
23rd - 25th September 202211th - 13th November 202220th - 22nd January 2023 21st - 23rd April 2023 7th - 9th July 2023
Engineers House,
11th – 13th November 202220th – 22nd January 2023 24th – 26th March 2023 9th – 11th June 2023 1st – 3rd September 2023
etc venues Chancery Lane,
7th - 9th October 20229th - 11th December 202224th - 26th February 20235th - 7th May 2023 23rd - 25th June 2023
NUI Galway,
5th - 19th July 2022N/AN/AN/AN/A
La Mouline, St-Genest-de-Contest, France23rd July - 6th August 2022 N/AN/AN/AN/A
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia23rd - 29th August 202215th - 22nd October 2022N/AN/AN/A
Poland30th September - 2nd October 20229th - 11th December 202213th - 15th January 202324th - 26th March 202312th - 14th May 2023
Thailand9th - 13th September 2022 23rd - 27th September 2022 7th - 11th October 2022 N/AN/A