I’ve got so much education and training. Why Learn Play Therapy?
If you are a mental health practitioner working with or interested in working with children, you may be wondering, “Why learn play therapy?” After all, you’ve already worked hard toward a master’s degree. You’ve passed a comprehensive licensure examination. On top of that, you have also embarked on (and perhaps completed YEARS ago) a ~3,000-hour supervised internship toward licensure. Furthermore, if you have moved from state to state, as I have done multiple times as a military spouse, you’ve likely received even more education to meet specific state licensure requirements. And this doesn’t even touch all the continuing education hours we are required to do every couple of years.
So, what is in it for you to start yet another journey toward becoming a Registered Play Therapist™ (RPT™) through the Association for Play Therapy?
First, let’s address, “What is a Registered Play Therapist?” A Registered Play Therapist is a mental health professional, such as a marriage and family therapist, clinical counselor, psychologist, or social worker, who has additional training and supervised experience in helping children heal in a developmentally appropriate way — play! Play therapists are trained to understand how children use play to communicate and process their feelings. They help children and families work cooperatively to meet their wants and needs directly, rather than through indirect and sometimes disruptive and harmful means.
What are the benefits of play therapy?
Play therapy gives children a safe nonjudgmental space to:
- explore and express their feelings.
- try out new behaviors
- experience a powerful therapeutic relationship that offers many brain-boosting benefits
- rock back and forth between regress and progress, inviting growth and development
- discover strengths
- experience a safe space to make mistakes
- showcase their creativity
- experience catharsis
- learn to cope with difficult emotions
- problem-solve in a safe environment
- become more accepting of self and others
- increase emotional regulation skills
- express their feelings directly
- learn to cooperatively express and meet their wants and needs
When is it appropriate to use play therapy?
Play therapy is particularly helpful with children between the ages of 3 and 12. However, it is also used with parents and younger children, even infants. It can be used strategically with teens and also can be helpful with adults. Consider using play therapy with children to address:
- poor self and negative self-talk
- action out behaviors at home and/or school
- aggressive or angry behavior
- family transitions such as conflict, separation, divorce
- life transitions such as moves
- domestic violence
- grief and loss, such as dealing with the death of a close family member
- traumatic events
- natural disasters
- hair pulling
- eating disorders
- attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
- autism spectrum disorder (ASD)
- and so much more!
Benefits of becoming an RPT:
- Learn to identify, understand, and utilize play themes that emerge during play therapy.
- Study a research-backed modality. Research demonstrates that play therapy is an effective modality to treat a variety of child mental health disorders
- Understanding play therapy interventions, especially expressive arts and sand tray, can help you connect with teens and even adult clients
- Play therapy interventions can help side-step repetitive high-conflict family cycles, and invite them to connect and communicate in new ways.
- After 150 hours of play therapy-specific continuing education, 350 direct client contact hours, and 35 hours of supervision, you will gain a world of knowledge, experience, and skills!
- Join a growing community of like-minded individuals who like to have fun and share the value of helping the next generation grow and heal.
In summary, there are a lot of reasons. to further your expertise by receiving training and supervision to become a Registered Play Therapy. If you have any questions, we are here to help. Feel free to reach out to us on our contact page.