Meet Our Director

Welcome to the Center for Play Therapy! We are dedicated to enriching the lives of   children through providing quality training to play therapists, conducting rigorous research on the process and effectiveness of play therapy, disseminating play therapy literature from across the world, and facilitating play therapy services for children, parents, and systemic partners. I am honored to serve as director of the Center for Play Therapy and believe wholeheartedly in our mission to advocate for the needs of children through play therapy. 

In 1996, I walked into my first play therapy session feeling well-trained but unsure about my ability to facilitate healing or build a therapeutic relationship with a child without the culturally-sanctioned tools of structured teaching activities and ready-to-give directions. In that first play therapy relationship, I learned to trust the child, trust myself, and trust the relationship in our journey toward healing and functioning. And that has been my experience ever since. Through my clinical experiences, I grew in my desire to provide evidence of play therapy outcomes and process which led to a career focus on research and the dissemination of literature that supports the work of play therapists. Quality education for play therapists is of particular importance to me and I am committed to provision of educational opportunities to improve the work of play therapists from all areas of the world. Serving as director of the Center for Play Therapy at the University of North Texas is a privilege and responsibility for which I am immensely appreciative. I am allowed to serve children and those who serve children every day and I cannot think of a better way to live my life than doing what I love best. 

So, welcome again to the Center for Play Therapy and please use our resources to enhance your work with children. 

Play well,



Dee Ray, Ph.D., LPC-S, NCC, RPT-S, Certified CCPT-S, Certified CPRT-S is Distinguished Teaching Professor in the Counseling Program and Director of the Center for Play Therapy at the University of North Texas.  Dr. Ray has published over 100 articles, chapters, and books in the field of play therapy, specializing in research specifically examining the process and effects of Child Centered Play Therapy.  Dr. Ray is author of A Therapist’s Guide to Development: The Extraordinarily Normal Years, Advanced Play Therapy: Essential Conditions, Knowledge, and Skills for Child Practice, Child Centered Play Therapy Treatment Manual, and co-author of Group Play Therapy and Child Centered Play Therapy Research. She is a founding board member and past president of the Association for Child and Adolescent Counseling. She is current editor of the Journal of Child and Adolescent Counseling and recipient of the American Counseling Association Don Dinkmeyer Social Interest Award, Association for Humanistic Counseling Educator Award, Association for Play Therapy Outstanding Research Award, Top 25 Women Professors in Texas Award, and many others. Dr. Ray supervises counseling services to community clients at her university clinic and leads a school outreach program providing play therapy to hundreds of children each year.