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New Play Therapy Certificate

Bethel launches a new Play Therapy Certificate program in fall 2020, providing the specialized training required to become a Registered Play Therapist.

By Michelle Westlund '83, senior content specialist

February 11, 2020 | Noon

Play Therapy Launch

Play therapy can help therapists meet the needs of their youngest clients.

Children are impacted by life events in a variety of ways, and the options for helping them process these events should be compassionate, creative—and age-appropriate. Play Therapy is one such option, allowing therapists to engage with the youngest of clients, using children’s natural affinity for play to help them do the hard work of healing.

Bethel’s new Play Therapy Certificate program, launching in fall 2020, offers specialized training that provides students with the opportunity to complete the educational requirements to become a Registered Play Therapist—a specificity of training that most master’s programs do not include for children and adolescents. The program is suitable for current graduate students and mental health professionals who are looking to add a certification in Play Therapy to their suite of therapeutic skills.

The program is highly experiential, offering unique courses taught face-to-face by expert instructors who are passionate about serving children well. Program faculty are all Registered Play Therapist-Supervisors (RPT-S) who are well-known in the play therapy community and bring their experience and expertise to classroom learning.  

Students will learn to:

  • apply play therapy theories and approaches to their clinical practice
  • demonstrate proficiency in play therapy assessment and techniques
  • apply ethical principles and decision making to play therapy
  • develop sensitivity to cultural and spiritual diversity throughout the play therapy process

“Play Therapy is a specialized treatment that requires knowledge and skills training to be able to competently provide services to children and adolescents,” says Jennifer Nelson, associate professor, program director, and clinical director of Bethel’s M.A. in Counseling program. “This certificate seeks to train students in the specific needs of children and adolescents to best serve them, their families, and our communities through play therapy.”

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