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. Apply to 01825 761143 or email to request an application form.

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 – 5 form the Certificate in Therapeutic Skills  course)

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

Module 6

  • 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

Module 7

  • Developing Expressive Arts Skills 2 – Music Working With Parents/Teachers
  • Assessments through observation using video case studies
  • Special cases: adopted, fostered

Module 8

  • Developing Theatre Form Skills – Therapeutic Story Telling
  • EPR
  • Assessment methods
  • Special cases: Loss/Bereavement, Separation

Module 9

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

Module 10

  • Developing Expressive Arts Skills – 3 Art in child development
  • Special cases working with terminally ill and or abuse
  • Court Work; Student presentation

Learning Methods

The course is divided into 5 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 5 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 = £3250, plus University Registration fee = £370
  • Irish Courses = €3950, including University Registration fee

You can pay online at Play Therapy Shop

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 additional University registration fees if you subsequently  proceed to the Diploma and MA stages.

Bed and breakfast accommodation is available, at extra cost, on site at Buckden Towers, Marino Conference Centre, Wentworth Castle and Salomons.  Rooms are limited in number so please book early direct with the location.

Course Dates

Course Venue1st Block2nd Block3rd Block4th Block5th Block
Northern College02-07-2124-09-2126-11-21N/AN/A
The Cambridge Belfry08-10-2103-12-2104-03-2206-05-2208-07-22
Bel Rosen30-05-21N/AN/AN/AN/A
Brook Mollington Banastre01-10-2103-12-2111-02-2201-04-2224-06-22
The Clayton Hotel Silver Springs01-10-2112-11-2125-02-2220-05-2217-06-22
La Mouline24-07-21N/AN/AN/AN/A
NUI Galway06-07-21N/AN/AN/AN/A
Golden Jubilee Hotel17-09-21N/AN/AN/AN/A
College of Allied Educators14-10-2102-12-2117-02-2231-03-2216-06-22
etc. Venues Victoria10-09-2129-10-2114-01-22N/AN/A
Salomons Estate24-09-21N/AN/AN/AN/A