1. What are the benefits of becoming certified in play therapy?
There are many benefits of the play therapy! First and foremost, play therapy meets children where they are at developmentally and therefore is beneficial for children, adolescents, and families with a myriad of diagnostic challenges and presentations. It is very comprehensive, and this modality is becoming a prominent therapy throughout the nation. However, if students are not interested in working with this population, becoming a RPT might not be applicable.
2. What are the requirements to become a Registered Play Therapist (RPT) (APT website, 2015)?
#1 License – Current and active individual state license to independently provide clinical mental health services.
#2 Educational Degrees – Master’s or higher mental health degree with demonstrated coursework in child development, theories of personality, principles of psychotherapy, and child & adolescent psychopathology, and ethics.
#3 Clinical Experience – General clinical experience required by state licensure roughly equivalent to 2 years and 2,000 hours of general mental health clinical experience.
#4 Play Therapy Training – 150 hours of play therapy specific instruction from institutions of higher education or APT- approved providers (limit 50 non-contact hours).
*CE events that are APT-approved can count here! These events must have an accompanying APT Provider # (e.g., 12-345), and can be seminars, workshops, or other CE events throughout the country. As the RPT Designation is approved nationally, your play therapy training can be from any approved workshop in the United States, or university that is an APT approved site (see below).
#5 Supervised Play Therapy Experience & Supervision – 500 hours of supervised play therapy specific experience plus 50 hours of concurrent play therapy specific supervision.
*Please be advised that your supervision hours can be through a licensed supervisor that is not a RPT-S, although you will need 50 hours with a RPT-S (total 550 hours of supervision for play therapy experience).
#6 Supervisor Training – None (unless becoming a RPT-S)
#7 Renewal Criteria – Annual: Current and active individual license to independently provide clinical mental health services. CE Cycle: 18 hours of play therapy specific instruction from institutions of higher education or APT-approved providers every 36 months.
3. What about supervision toward my RPT hours? When does this occur?
In WA state, students can only get supervision upon graduation, when they are gaining their associate hours toward licensure. RPT specific supervision is provided through registered-play therapist supervisors (RPT-S).
4. Can I call myself a play-therapist once I start taking CE courses?
No! Only once you have been certified by the National Association for Play Therapy (a4pt.org) and you gain your RPT Provider # can you be called a "play therapist."
See requirements above for information on "play therapy training" requirements.
Throughout the country, there are several APT-Approved Provider sites (including institutions of higher education), such as Antioch University’s Play Therapy Certificate Program (http://www.antiochseattle.edu/academics/ma-counseling-family-therapy/play-therapy/). After taking this APT Approved certificate program, you will have almost all your Continuing Education requirements to be designated as an RPT. Once you have gained all your contact hours (e.g., LMHC hours and RPT hours concurrently), and are applying for licensure, you can also apply to become a registered play therapist (therefore, you will have this designation along with your licensed mental health counselor or MFT license). Finally, as this program is APT-Approved and conducted in a University setting, students (graduate or post-graduate) can earn their CE hours faster than attending conferences/workshops to gain this play therapy specific education.
à What if I already graduated with my Masters’ degree, or are attending a different Masters program in the area?
This program (Antioch University-Seattle) is open to all graduate students and post-graduates! For those of you who are interested in the concentration but may be working full-time, we have done our best to accomodate everyone by allocating classes to full day weekend schedules (weeks 2, 6, 10). Additionally, the experiential component integrates well into clinical settings.