Practice Based Play Therapy (P Cert/Dip)

College of Science / College of Arts
Adult & Continuing Education

Course overview

The Postgraduate Diploma/Certificate in Practice Based Play Therapy has been developed to meet the identified needs of practitioners in the play therapy sector who wish to pursue accredited programmes of study in a flexible manner, complimenting and supporting continued employment.  This part-time blended learning programme of study builds on practical experience, enhancing the learner’s skills through exposure to theory, policy, research and work-based learning opportunities. If there is sufficient interest from participants approval may be sought from the University for the delivery of a follow-on programme leading to the award of an MA in Practice Based Play Therapy

The course content has been developed in conjunction with The Academy of Play and Child Psychotherapy (APAC). APAC has a sound history with much experience in offering high quality, practice based, play therapy education and training.  They are national leaders in developing and providing training to become a certified play therapist, and continual professional development for those interested in play therapy including Filial Play, Coaching/Mentoring, Supervision for Play and Creative Arts Therapists. They have also established an international reputation working strategically with governments and UNICEF in (e.g.)Malaysia, Middle East, Europe,South KoreaandAfricato develop child protection policies and initiate Play Therapy Training. This programme aims to meet the demands for flexible routes of acquiring qualifications in the field of practice based play therapy.

Key facts

Entry requirements

Applicants must be aged 21 years or over by 1st January of the calendar year of entry, with up to 2 years experience working with children in the sector.  Applicants should normally possess:

A First or second class degree in one of a range of relevant subject areas which could include psychology, education, childhood studies, social work, or have a recognised academic professional qualification in a health, social services or  education related field such as Nursing, Psychology, Social Work, Occupational Therapy, Physiotherapy, Counselling, Teaching. In exceptional circumstances candidates without a degree but with significant experience of working in this field who produce a satisfactory portfolio of evidence demonstrating their ability to study at this level, may be accepted.

All candidates will:

  • Have personal maturity commensurate with training as a therapist

  • Be currently working with children or have arranged to do so before the start of the course. This will enable them to apply theory to practice from the beginning.

  • Have a working knowledge of the basic psychological theories, including at least one child development theoretical model

  • Have spent at least 2 years working with children aged between 3 and 14.

  • Be registered/accredited members of PT(IRl) in order that their work is governed by a relevant code of ethics.

Duration: 1 year Certificate, 2 year Diploma

Next start date: July 2013

ECTS weighting: Certificate (30) Diploma (60)

Average intake: 20

Closing date: Friday May 24th 2013

NFQ level: 9

Mode of study: Block Learning

Course outline


Year 1

     Orientation to Setting Up and Development of Practice Based Play Therapy within an Integrated Holistic Model

    Using Symbolic Play Therapy Tools and Metaphor Safely.

    Using Expressive Arts Therapies as a means of Processing and Reaching the Unconscious


Year 2

    Working therapeutically with groups of Children and Young People - developing  skills at an advanced level.

    Working therapeutically at an advanced level and representing Children and Young People who have severe problems.

    Establishing a play therapy service

Dowload 2013 Play THerapy Brochure


Applications and selections

Apply online here.

- Supporting documents include form of ID (birth cert/passport/drivers licence) and transcript of degree results obtained)

Fiona Dwyer
Adult & Continuing Education
NUI Galway

Tel: 091 495442

Requirements and assessment

The taught part of the programme each year is delivered on the campus of NUI, Galway. Certificate and Diploma dates are Tuesday, 9th July to Tuesday, 23rd July 2013 inclusive (9.30 am to 5.00 pm).  In order to complete each year of the programme 100 hours of clinical work with the children per year must be achieved in addition to set written assignment work. 


The specific nature of the assessment will differ from module to module depending on the learning outcomes. All students will be obliged to pass practice placement, have a satisfactory report from their clinical/practice supervisor and complete the stipulated number of practice hours.

Postgraduate students are expected to demonstrate explicitly their knowledge, skills and competencies to practice as a Play Therapist in three distinct ways:

  • via written work
  • via clinical supervision
  • via clinical practice.

Find out more

Fiona Dwyer
Adult & Continuing Education
NUI Galway

Tel: 091 495442

Fees for this course

EU (Total): €3,600 per year

Practice Based Play Therapy (P Cert/Dip)