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Accredited Courses
Courses listed in this section (below) have all been accredited by PTI. As such they are recognised by Play Therapy Ireland (PTIrl).

APAC has run our MA in Practice Based Play Therapy programme at All Hallows Dublin for eight years, lately in partnership with the National University of Ireland. The announcement that All Hallows will cease recruiting students for their own courses has no impact on our Play Therapy courses which will continue in Dublin and Galway as normal.

These two courses comprise the first two parts of the MA in Practice Based Play Therapy programme which is also validated by the National University of Ireland. It is delivered in Ireland by the Academy of Play and Child Psychotherapy (APAC) at Marino Conference Centre, Dublin. The academic awards will be made by National University of Ireland.

Both the Certificate and Diploma courses provide a qualification to practise. Participants are able to work, under clinical supervision, therapeutically, with children after they have completed the first 3-day module.

You can start on the course but must be successfully vetted before you can start your practice. This process takes around 12 weeks so please apply for this as early as possible. For Garda vetting please contact

This accredited training provides a consistent and coherent programme across the Ireland, the UK and other countries. The content of an APAC course is the same wherever you choose to train. The APAC faculty is used to deliver the courses in all venues. The work is examined by the same professional staff and External Examiner. This is a different and more equitable approach than that used by play therapy courses that are not accredited by the organisations mentioned above.

At present no other training provider in Ireland delivers play therapy courses with this degree of coherency and external accreditation.

These courses are designed to produce safe and effective play therapy practitioners hence the emphasis on experiential and practical work to balance the theory. They are the only ones in Ireland with published measured clinical outcomes. The courses are practice based and will prepare you for the eventuality of the registration of Play Therapists by the Irish government.

Course Title Provider Stage (PTIrl Training Model)
Introduction to Play Therapy APAC 1
Post Graduate Certificate in Therapeutic Play Skills APAC in a collaborative partnership with National University of Ireland. Delivered at Marino Conference Centre, Dublin. and Carnloch Training Centre, Cork.

Post Graduate Diploma in Practice Based Play Therapy 3
MA in Practice Based Play Therapy 4
PTUK Certificate in Therapeutic Play Skills APAC Summer School in the South of France 2
Diploma in Play Therapy 3

It is not necessary to be in personal therapy although the Course Director may require this if issues arise during the course that impede the student's ability to work with children.

Normally Diploma applicants will only be accepted if they have satisfactorily completed the Certificate course or an equivalent. Click on the course title for more details.

APAC also offers in-house & local group training if the venues, dates or times of the open courses listed above are not convenient.

As in virtually all parts of the world play therapy is not a regulated profession at present in Ireland but may become so in the future. The UK government is planning the registration of a number of the mental health professionals such as Counsellors, Psychotherapists and Play Therapists by 2008, which PTUK regards, at present (March 2006), as being an optimistic date. These developments may or may not be a precedent for Ireland.

The training programme offered by APAC to Play Therapy International's (PTI) European standards covers all likely eventualities. We encourage all students to complete the Post Graduate Certificate in Therapeutic Play Skills and the Post Graduate Diploma in Play Therapy courses, including a total of 200 hours clinical work, to become a PTI Certified Play Therapist and then to reach a total of 450 hours to become a PTI Accredited Play Therapist. Evidence of the use of clinical governance is also required.

We suggest that students may wish to complete the MA in Practice Based Play Therapy, by dissertation, if they have a particular interest in play therapy research, to advance their career prospects or for personal satisfaction. At present it is not necessary to have an Masters level degree to become a Play Therapist. To suggest otherwise would be dishonest. There is no evidence, at the moment, to show that play therapy practitioners with an MA produce better clinical outcomes than those who do not have one. It may or may not be a future Irish government requirement.

If however, you wish to 'cover all bases' by all means continue onto APAC's MA part of the programme.

In the UK the potential registration body, the Health Professions' Council (HPC) 's policy is to set 'entry level' standards to safeguard the public. Professional organisations such as PTUK may then set their own higher standards

We believe that PTIrl's current standards originally drafted in 2000 are at a higher level when compared to professional titles already registered by the HPC.

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