Graduate Courses

The graduate courses provided through the Center for Play Therapy are an integral part of the master's and doctoral degree program offerings of the Department of Counseling and Higher Education. Regularly scheduled play therapy courses that offer three semester hours of graduate credit for master's and doctoral students include: Introduction to Play Therapy, Advanced Skills in Play Therapy, Advanced Play Therapy, Group Play Therapy, Filial Therapy, as well as practicum, internship, and special problems courses focused on advanced training and supervision in Play Therapy.

Introduction to Play Therapy is the introductory level course to the counseling relationship with children by utilizing play media to facilitate expression, self-understanding, and personal growth and development. Observation of and supervised experience in play therapy with children are an integral part of the course.

Advanced Skills in Play Therapy is a competency-based course with experiential emphasis. Students are required to demonstrate proficiency in play therapy principles and practices. Students engage in the advanced study and application of play therapy, including theories of play therapy, application of advanced play therapy skills, parent consultation, and other special topics.

Advanced Play Therapy is a course that utilizes a seminar approach to an analysis of the rationale for play therapy in counseling. In-depth study of basic theories of play therapy and the variables that affect the helping relationship. Focus also is upon the counselor’s own unique contribution to the relationship and the emotional needs of children.

Group Play Therapy places an emphasis on the philosophy and rationale for group work with children and preadolescents. Focus is on the goals of group play/activity therapy, the role of the play therapist, screening and selection of group members, the use of expressive arts, play, activities at various developmental stages, and planning and structuring sessions.

Filial Therapy is a course about training parents to be therapeutic agents in their children’s lives through the utilization of play therapy skills in regularly scheduled parent-child structured play sessions in their own homes. How to train parents in the overall principles and methodology of child-centered play therapy is addressed.

Undergraduate Course

Therapeutic Play is a unique course that trains undergraduate students to become therapeutic agents in the lives of children through structured therapeutic play sessions. Students are taught basic child-centered play therapy principles and skills, including reflective listening, recognizing and responding to children's feelings, therapeutic limit setting, building children's self-esteem, and structuring therapeutic play sessions with children using a special kit of selected toys.