The Australian Play Therapists Association (APTA) is Australia’s peak professional play therapy association and is a registered not for profit association. APTA is unique in Australia in that registered clinical members are already qualified mental health professionals, who have completed specialised training in play therapy. Clinical supervision, professional development and adherence to APTA’s Best Practice Guidelines are essential to the practise of play therapy by APTA’s Clinical Members.
The Australian Play Therapists Association (APTA) aims to advance and promote the interests and standards of Play Therapy and Play Therapists in Australia through promoting the value and benefits of Play Therapy for children and others. APTA will achieve these aims by providing a professional registration process for Play Therapists in Australia, by providing a dynamic forum for members and exciting opportunities for professional development and by ensuring that Play Therapy training accepted by the Association is of a high standard. The APTA Best Practice Guidelines support sound ethical practice and conduct by members and APTA will work both to foster a professional play therapy community in Australia and liaise for mutual benefit with similar Play Therapy associations in other countries.
Who we are
The APTA committee comprises of a number of representatives and general committee members throughout Australia.
Current APTA Executive Committee Members are as follows:
• President: Donna Berry
• Vice President: Rebecca Campbell
• Treasurer: Rose Stout
• Secretary: Shawn Rutland
APTA are fortunate to be supported by Advisory Board members:
• Dr William Nordling
• Naomi Button
We would like to express our appreciation to the Association for Play Therapy, USA who have provided a great deal of help and support in the development of the Australian Play Therapists Association. The Association for Play Therapy, USA (APT) is the leading international Play Therapy association and we have been extremely fortunate to have APT as such a wonderful resource.
We would also like to express our thanks to Dr William Nordling for his generous support in the development of the Australian Play Therapists Association.
Why is Play Therapy so helpful for children?
Children use play as a natural form of communication in everyday life and opportunities to play are important for every child’s development. However play therapy is a different experience than everyday play for the child, as the specialised skills of the trained play therapist enables the child to enter into a therapeutic relationship wherein the child can safely express, explore and make sense of their difficult and sometimes painful life experiences. Play Therapy builds on the child’s inner resources and strengths, which are supported by the therapeutic relationship to bring about growth, development and healing in the child.
Can I become a Registered Play Therapist in Australia?
The Australian Play Therapists Association offers Clinical Membership and Registration as a Play Therapist for mental health professionals who meet the requirements of the Australian Play Therapists Association.
If I become a Clinical Member of APTA does this mean that I can use the title APTA Registered Play Therapist?
Yes, this does mean that you are both a clinical member of the Australian Play Therapists Association and an APTA Registered Play Therapist.
Do APTA Registered Play Therapists need to follow any ethical guidelines? Registered Play Therapist?
APTA Registered Play Therapists need to follow the ethical requirements of their mental health association, body or board for clinical practice and agree to follow the APTA Best Practice Guidelines.
Why do I need to have a mental health qualification to become a Registered Play Therapist with APTA?
APTA believes it is essential for Registered Play Therapists to have a mental health qualification, as this lays the foundations for a sound knowledge of mental health difficulties and for an understanding of the ethical principles of counselling/psychotherapy.
I have a mental health qualification at the level required by APTA and am training in Play Therapy. Can I join APTA?
You are most welcome to join APTA as an Associate Member or Provisional Clinical Member. When you complete your Play Therapy training please consider applying to join as either an APTA Provisional Clinical Member or a Clinical Member once you have completed all the necessary requirements.
I am a teacher/child care worker/have trained in social sciences/have completed a BA with a major in Psychology and would like to become a registered Play Therapist. What do I need to do?
To become a Registered Play Therapist with the Australian Play Therapists Association, you need to gain a qualification in a mental health field such as counselling, social work, psychology occupational therapy, at the level required by APTA (click here for more information). You can then do specialist post graduate level training in Play Therapy and work towards the requirements of APTA for clinical membership and Registration as a Play Therapist.
I am a teacher/nurse/child care worker/children’s support worker/parent/interested in play therapy. Can I become a member of APTA?
You are most welcome to join APTA as an Affiliate Member.
Can I apply as an international member to the Australian Play Therapists Association?
APTA will accept Affiliate and Associate International applicants. We do not accept international applications for Clinical or Provisional Clinical Membership given our requirement that these membership categories must be currently registered with their Australian mental health association, body or board for clinical practice.
Can I discuss with someone at APTA, the situation with my child, to see if Play Therapy would be recommended?
APTA is not able to enter into discussions around the needs of individual children. We recommend you go to the APTA Registered Play Therapists Webpage to see if there is someone in your area who is a clinical member of APTA and a Registered Play Therapist.
What ages of children can Play Therapists work with?
Non directive and Child Centered Play Therapists who have had extensive specialist Play Therapy training, can potentially work with children from 2 years old to 11yrs old. Those working in more directive Play Therapy approaches often work with children from around 6 -11 years old.
How long do children need to see a Play Therapist for ?
This depends on the individual child and family and on the child’s history and current situation. Play Therapy may be used for short term trauma debriefing if assessed as appropriate, may be medium term or could be long term, with children with backgrounds of complex trauma. This will be dependent on the Play Therapist’s assessment and recommendations and the Play Therapy modality being used.
Can I get professional indemnity insurance and public liability cover through APTA for my private practice?
APTA does not offer professional indemnity and public liability insurance cover with any insurance companies as this is done in conjunction with the Play Therapist’s mental health registering body, board or association.
Does APTA have a complaints process?
Should a complaint come through to APTA in relation to a clinical member and APTA Registered Play Therapist, the complainant will be directed to the Play Therapist’s mental health association, body or board.
Can APTA give me information to help me with assignments on Play Therapy as part of my work/play therapy training?
APTA is not able to offer any individual support to students and those undertaking research. It is recommended to access information through the internet and leading Play Therapy journals and books. You may wish to visit the Association for Play Therapy, USA, the leading international Play Therapy association www.a4pt.org for further information about Play Therapy.
Can APTA help me find a placement to do my Play Therapy practice as part of my Play Therapy training?
APTA is not involved in organising placements or in recommending potential placements.
Is there an evidence base for Play Therapy?
There has been a significant amount of research done into the efficacy of Play Therapy with children. For more information on the history and effectiveness of play therapy please follow this link to the American Association of Play Therapy website:[http://www.a4pt.org]
You may also like to visit the website for the Center for Play Therapy, University of North Texas [www.centerforplaytherapy.com]
And the Evidence Based Child Therapy Website [http://evidencebasedchildtherapy.com]
The following materials also have information about research and Play Therapy with children.
Baggerly, J.N., Ray, D.C., & Bratton, S. (2010) Child-Centered Play Therapy Research: The Evidence Base for Effective Practice
Bratton, S., Ray, D., & Rhine, T (2005) ‘The Efficacy of Play Therapy with Children: A Meta- Analytic Review of Treatment Outcomes’ in Professional Psychology, Research & Practice Vol 36. NO.4 376-390.
Landreth, G., et al (2005), World of Play Therapy Literature, 4th Ed. Center for Play Therapy, University of North Texas
Evidence Based Child Therapy – http://evidencebasedchildtherapy.com