Child Centered Play Therapy Certification

CCPT Overview

Child Centered Play Therapy (CCPT; Landreth, 1991; 2002; 2012) is a developmentally responsive, play-based mental health intervention for young children ages 3 to 10 who are experiencing social, emotional, behavioral and relational disorders. CCPT utilizes play, the natural language of children, and therapeutic relationship to provide a safe, consistent therapeutic environment in which a child can experience full acceptance, empathy, and understanding from the counselor and process inner experiences and feelings through play and symbols. In CCPT, a child’s experience within the counseling relationship is the factor that is most healing and meaningful in creating lasting, positive change. The goal of CCPT is to unleash the child’s potential to move toward integration and self-enhancing ways of being. Child outcomes following CCPT include decreased symptomatic behaviors and improvement in overall functioning.

The CCPT model is designed to be administered by mental health professionals who have received extensive training and supervision in the CCPT protocol (Ray, 2011). Although CCPT is typically delivered in 16-20 weekly, 45 minute individual play sessions, the CCPT model has been successfully implemented in the school setting following a 16 session format delivered twice weekly for 30 minutes over 8 weeks. The CCPT treatment model can be provided in the context of longer treatment requirements and may be used in a small group format.  The CCPT treatment manual (Ray, 2011) contains the CCPT protocol and CCPT skills checklist for use by CCPT-trained therapists and supervisors.

CCPT Effectiveness

Child Centered Play Therapy (Landreth, 1991; 20002; 2012) grew out of non-directive play therapy originally developed in the 1950s by Virginia Axline.  In the 1980s and 1990s, Garry Landreth was instrumental in developing skills and training methods, including textbook and CCPT skill checklist to ensure treatment fidelity that helped to operationalize the intervention; thus promoting the advent of research examining the effect of this model. Ray (2011) formalized the CCPT protocol and checklist in a published treatment manual and Advanced Play Therapy textbook. Since the late 1990s, there have been 17 controlled outcome studies following procedures of Landreth (1991; 2002; 2012) and/or Ray (2011) published in the English language and in peer-reviewed journals. Of those 17 studies, 13 were RCT, while the remaining four quasi-experimental studies were unable to randomize participants due to conducting research in real-world settings. Regarding fidelity, 10 studies cited the use of the Play Therapy Skills Checklist (PTSC) for monitoring adherence to CCPT treatment.  Three meta-analyses (Bratton, et al., 2005; Lin & Bratton, 2015; Ray et al., 2015) have provided further support of the beneficial effects of CCPT, reporting significant effect sizes for the efficacy of CCPT for a range of presenting issues and diverse populations. 

For more detailed information about CCPT outcome research studies, please visit Evidence Based Child Therapy, an online searchable database for play therapy research.

Levels and Requirements

Level 1 - Certified CCPT Practitioner

1. Educational Requirement - minimum 30 hours

  • One or more formal university 3 credit hour course in Introduction to Child-Centered Play Therapy completed in the last 10 years taught by an approved trainer that addresses all areas covered in CCPT 101 and 102 OR
  • Workshop series: CCPT 101: Basics in Child-Centered Play Therapy (12 hours; 9 Seminal or Historically Significant Theories, 3 Skills & Methods)- 2 day training toward CCPT certification AND CCPT 102: Child-Centered Play Therapy Practice and Application (18 hours; 11 Seminal or Historically Significant Theories, 7 Skills & Methods)- 3 day or weekend intensive training on application of CCPT by an approved trainer.

2. Completion of CCPT Exam

3. Supervised Experience

  • Completion of 30 sessions total of CCPT with a minimum of 3 children 3-10 years old under supervision with an approved CCPT supervisor; must be in continuous weekly supervision with minimum of 15 hours of supervision. Although face to face supervision is preferred, distance supervision will be approved to accommodate those in locations where approved supervisors are not available. CCPT sessions may begin following completion of requirements equivalent to CCPT 101. However, at least 20 session hours must be completed following requirements equivalent to CCPT 102. Supervisor agreement of adherence to protocol and process required for the case.

4. Cumulative Self-Evaluation Paper

5. Licensed mental health professional at time of certification

6. Application Fee of $95

7. Completed Application

In order to maintain certification status, CCPT certification must be renewed every 5 years. Requirements for renewal include 18 continuing education hours specific to CCPT and $95 renewal fee.

Level 2 - Certified Advanced CCPT Practitioner/Supervisor

1. Hold Level 1 CCPT Certification or meet requirements for Level 1

2. Hold mental health professional license as a supervisor in the United States.

3. Educational Requirement - minimum 40 hours

  • Formal university 3 credit hour course in Advanced Child-Centered Play Therapy taught by a Certified CCPT Supervisor (Verification of equivalent coursework will be evaluated on an individual basis through December 2020) OR
  • Workshop series (40 hours) - CCPT 201: Supervision in Play Therapy

4. Supervised Experience

  • Completion of 100 sessions with minimum of 10 children ages 3-10 years old under weekly supervision with approved CCPT supervisor for a minimum of 25 supervision hours
  • Provision of 10 supervisory sessions for a beginning play therapist; weekly supervision from approved CCPT supervisor for a minimum of 5 supervision of supervision hours
  • Supervisor assessment of supervisee's adherence to protocol and process required for CCPT and supervision cases

5. Application and $95 Application Fee

In order to maintain supervision certification status, CCPT-Supervisor certification must be renewed every 5 years. Requirements for renewal include 18 continuing education hours specific to CCPT and $95 renewal fee.

Steps to Certification

Welcome to CCPT Certification!

We are so happy that you have chosen to promote the quality facilitation of mental health intervention for children by becoming recognized as a provider of evidence-based CCPT. On this site, we will take you through the steps to become certified in CCPT. Remember that requirements for CCPT certification can be found here.

Please pursue the following steps:

Step 1: Review the educational requirements for CCPT certification here. Review the Education/Training Review form.

Step 2: Send an email to with the subject title “Initiate CCPT Certification”. In this email, please provide your name and contact information. See the options below for other information that should be included in your email.

  1. If you have not received any training in CCPT, indicate “no CCPT training” in your email.
  2. If you have received CCPT education:
    For mental health professionals that have gained CCPT education and experience over your career, we are pleased that you have decided to pursue CCPT certification. We ask that you take the time to carefully review the Education/Training Review Form to check the curriculum requirements for CCPT 101 and CCPT 102. If you believe that you have received training in these component areas, please provide evidence through submitting transcripts, syllabi, continuing education verification, or other materials to support your education. Additionally, please add a justification statement to your initial email to explain how you believe you meet educational requirements. Note: It is possible that you may have received the educational equivalent of CCPT 101 and be required to complete CCPT 102.
  3. If you are a graduate of University of North Texas Counseling Program:
    If you are a graduate of the University of North Texas Counseling Program, we are very pleased that you have decided to pursue CCPT certification. For UNT students, your Introduction to Play Therapy course counts toward the curriculum requirements for CCPT 101. If you completed the Advanced Skills in Play Therapy (Master’s) or Advanced Play Therapy (doctoral) courses, you have met the curriculum requirements for CCPT 102. If you completed a practicum level course or doctoral clinical course in which you facilitated CCPT, these hours count toward your supervised hours of experience under the Supervision requirement for CCPT certification. For graduates who did not complete these requirements and believe that you have gained additional education or experience that meets these requirements, please provide a rationale and/or evidence to demonstrate your qualifications in your email to initiate the Education/Training Review Form. Remember that you would have needed to gain education or experience in all curriculum components of CCPT 101 and 102 to be certified. Note: It is possible that you may have received the educational equivalent of CCPT 101 and be required to complete CCPT 102. Please attach your UNT transcript to your email.

Step 3: The Center for Play Therapy will provide a completed Education/Training Review Form to you within 3 weeks. This form will stipulate what level of education is still needed, if any, to complete the educational requirements for CCPT certification.

Step 4: Complete all education required for certification as stipulated on the Education/Training Review Form.

Step 5: Upon completion of educational requirements, complete the CCPT Certification Exam, purchasable here ($25.00). First click the link to purchase and once the payment processes, return to this step and select the link for the exam to complete the test. Also available in Simplified Chinese here, purchasable here ($25.00 USD).

Step 6: Secure a CCPT certified supervisor. A list of supervisors is available here.

Step 7: Following CCPT Level 101 training, engage in CCPT sessions. Please refer to Supervision Experience Requirements for details related to supervision of direct hours.

Step 8: Upon completion of all education and supervised requirements, pay $95 application fee.

Step 9: Submit completed CCPT application and Self-Evaluation Paper to

Self-Evaluation Paper

The purpose of the self-evaluation is to provide a comprehensive review of experience related to being a CCPT practitioner. As the paper is meant to be an integration of personal and professional experience, we do not require a specific page length but we anticipate the paper to be a minimum of 5 pages. We ask for the following areas to be explored: A) What have you learned about children during this certification process? B) What have you learned about yourself during this process? and C) What have you learned about the process of CCPT? We anticipate that you will support your statements with specific experiences and literature.

Step 10: The Center for Play Therapy will review all materials and submit a decision regarding certification within 4 weeks.

Step 11: Receive confirmation of CCPT Certification and become a CCPT-Certified Practitioner!

International CCPT Certifications

CCPT certification is designed specifically for licensed mental health professionals within the US. CPT offers an international CCPT certification for mental health professionals working in other countries. The Center for Play Therapy ensures that internationally certified CCPT therapists are knowledgeable and experienced in CCPT; however, we do not ensure that international therapists are licensed in their field of study. The designation for international certification in play therapy is Certified I-CCPT.