In Person & Online

Child Centered Play Therapy Certificate with Neurorelational Emphasis

100+ RPT Hours
Theory, Skills & Practice Applications
access_time Academic Year
100+ CEs

date_range Twice Per Month

Child-Centered Play Therapy Certification - Now offered In Person and Online!

  • Complete 100+ RPT Education Hours
  • Accepting applications on a rolling basis, register now to start the program in September 2018
  • Enroll now and complete RPT hours in person or online!

Apply to the CCPT Certificate Program now. Admissions decisions are rolling, which means you can apply and begin the course anytime. Start your application today.

Are you a Master’s or Doctoral mental health professional, clinical intern or currently enrolled graduate student in a mental health discipline who wants to specialize in working with children? Do you want more in-depth study of the Child-Centered philosophy, therapy approach, and specific skills to treating children in mental health respectfully and holistically? Are you interested in learning more about how healthy play interactions in therapy shape the child’s developing mind, brain and relationships?

Georgie Wisen-Vincent, LMFT RPT-S
Managing Director The Play Strong Institute
Meet Our Managing Director

Georgie Wisen-Vincent, LMFT RPT-S is the Managing Director and Head of Faculty for The Play Strong Institute, a continuing education and training organization for professionals and parents. She is a Teaching Professor in the Play Therapy Program at Loma Linda University and a Clinical Supervisor of Play Therapy Practicum at the Loma Linda Behavioral Health Institute.

Georgie has the distinction of earning a postgraduate Master’s Degree in Child Centered Play Therapy at the University of Roehampton, London, United Kingdom. She maintains a private practice working with children and families at The Center for Connection in Pasadena, CA, headed by Tina Payne Bryson, PhD, co-author with Daniel Siegel, MD, of The Whole Brain Child, No Drama Discipline, and The Yes Brain.

Georgie is a frequent speaker to parents and professional audiences on the topics of Play Therapy, Collaborative Parent-Child Play, and the Neuroscience of Play. She is also a Member of the British Association of Play Therapists and the American Association for Play Therapy.

Apply now for this dynamic opportunity to take a deep dive into the skills of the Play Therapist

The Child-Centered Play Therapy Certification Program is designed for graduate students and mental health professionals at all skill levels and can be used toward completion of up to 150 hours of Play Therapy education required to become a Registered Play Therapist (RPT). See Association for Play Therapy (refer to a4pt.org for full list of RPT/S requirements).

You may apply for the CCPT Certification if you meet at least one of the following requirements:

  1. You are a licensed mental health professional (LMFT, LCSW, LPCC, LEP, PhD, PsyD) at the time of application
  2. You are a registered clinical intern in a mental health discipline
  3. You are a currently enrolled in a graduate program in counseling, psychology, or other mental health discipline, and you have completed or are actively completing coursework in five (5) required core areas: Child Development; Theories of Personality; Principles of Psychotherapy; Child and Adolescent Psychopathology; Legal, Ethical and Professional Issues.

You must be willing to commit to full course participation and attendance, including:

  • Required core course instruction is presented one Saturday per month, 8 hours/CEs
  • Optional elective courses** are offered one Saturday per month, 4 hours/CEs
  • Total of up to 12 hours/CEs offered monthly

** Some participants may not need to attend all elective units based on transfer CEs or viewing recorded lectures (noncontact hours)

Foundational Certificate in Child Centered Play Therapy – Level 1 (CCPT-L1)**

** L1 Certificate may satisfy up to 150 educational hours toward Registered Play Therapist (RPT) status, and partial requirements to become a Registered Play Therapist Supervisor (RPT-S) outlined by the Association for Play Therapy (refer to a4pt.org for full list of RPT/S requirements).

Course Overview

This certificate course is offered in person with online option and will use a primarily Child-Centered Play Therapy model with Neurorelational Emphasis to guide assessment and intervention for social, emotional and behavioral difficulties in development in children, adolescents and families.

The Association for Play Therapy (APT) defines play therapy as “the systematic use of a theoretical model to establish an interpersonal process wherein trained play therapists use the therapeutic powers of play to help clients prevent or resolve psychosocial difficulties and achieve optimal growth and development.”

Child-Centered Play Therapy is an evidence-based, developmentally responsive, play-based mental health intervention for children and adolescents who are experiencing forms of relational and behavioral stress (CCPT; Landreth, 1991; 2002; 2012).

This new systematic curriculum is presented each year and provides the theoretical knowledge and applied clinical and educational foundations for integrated assessment and intervention at an introductory to intermediate level. The intensive foundational certificate program, led by our Faculty instructors, offers a combination of required in-person or online webinar classes, elective classes offering further specialization in at least 3 other Play Therapy models, interactive class participation, video case presentations, instruction in reflective practice, and if desired, supervision of play therapy practice.

Participants may receive feedback and be guided through case consultation as an adjunct while working towards their Level 1 Foundational Certificate in Child-Centered Play Therapy.

Professionals who may Apply

Social Workers, Marriage and Family Therapists, Psychologists, Educational Psychologists, Professional Counselors, School Counselors, Students and Interns


This is an introductory level course.

Goals and Objectives

Foundational Certificate in Child-Centered Play Therapy (Level 1) program participants will be able to:

  • Develop knowledge base of Child and Play Therapy including history, theory, legal and ethical considerations, child social-emotional development
  • Plan and prepare for a Play Therapy assessment at the outset of treatment, introduce Play Therapy to child and caregivers, conduct interactive play observation, treatment planning and documentation.
  • Working knowledge of Play Therapy skills and techniques, beginning with theoretical and practice issues including the Play Therapy space and relationship, and reflective responses.
  • Understand working with the child’s support system and within a multi-disciplinary team approach.
  • Develop knowledge base of Play Therapy clinical applications, such as recognizing content and process elements of the child’s therapy narrative, cultural competence and diverse clients, and working with special populations in Play Therapy.
  • Evaluate therapeutic progress, plan for termination, and create an effective therapeutic ending for children in Play Therapy.


The goal of this Foundational Certificate in Child-Centered Play Therapy (Level 1) program is to provide participants with initial expertise in working with children who have relational, emotional and behavioral challenges using a relationship-based approach. Participants will also gain an understanding of engaging the child’s support system through parent coaching and working within professional teams in the Foundational Certificate. Participants who complete this course and meet the course criteria will receive the Center for Connection Play Strong Institute Foundational Certificate in Child-Centered Play Therapy (Level 1) in their discipline.

Course Outline

This course is organized into twelve (12) core units. Each core unit consists of 8 hours/CEs of in-person or online webinar lectures and discussions. Optional Elective units consist of 4 hours/CEs of in-person or online webinar lectures and discussions. Participants may attend up to two (2) live workshops each month (total of up to 12 CEs monthly). Pre-recorded lectures and case presentations are available to view on demand and can be incorporated into the course requirements. An additional 6 hours/CEs will be required of each participant to attend intensive cumulative workshops on self-evaluation and reflection in Play Therapy, available in person or online. Total of 100 hours of instruction must be completed to earn the foundational certificate.

Georgie Wisen-Vincent, LMFT RPT-S is approved by the Association for Play Therapy to offer continuing education specific to play therapy (APT Approved Provider 16-456), as well as the California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists to sponsor continuing education for LMFTs, LCSWs, LPCCs, and/or LEPs (Provider #137262) as required by the California Board of Behavioral Sciences, and the American Psychological Association to sponsor continuing education for psychologists. Georgie Wisen-Vincent, LMFT RPT-S maintains responsibility for this program/course and its content. No credit can be offered for partial attendance of any workshop. Attendees will receive a Certificate of Attendance onsite or online at the completion of the workshop.

CCPT-L1 Certificate Program at a Glance:

  • 96 hours of foundational course instruction (contact hours)
  • 48 hours of optional electives, consultation group CEs, or other approved CE learning activities (contact or non-contact hours)
  • 6 hours of intensive cumulative workshops on self-evaluation and reflection in Play Therapy (contact hours)
  • Total 100 hours of required play-therapy specific instruction (96 core education hours + 6 intensive workshop hours) + 48 optional elective education hours

**May satisfy educational requirements toward Registered Play Therapist (RPT) status outlined by the Association for Play Therapy (refer to a4pt.org for full list of RPT/S requirements).

Course Schedule

Foundational Certificate in Child-Centered Play Therapy - Level 1 (CCPT-L1) includes 12 core course units, each course unit lecture presented on a Saturday once per month, each lecture 8 hours in length equal to 8 CEs/education credits.

2018-2019 Training Schedule

Unit 1: Introduction to the Child Centered Play Therapy Model

  • Introduction to the Child Centered Play Therapy Model
  • The Basic Principles and Theory of the CCPT Model
  • Introduction to the Neurobiology of Play
  • Evaluating Play Therapy Models for the Child’s Individual Profile
  • Legal and Ethical Considerations for Child and Play Therapists

Unit 2: Play Therapy Assessment

  • Using Child Centered Principles to Design The Play Therapy Space
  • Introducing a Play Therapy Intervention to the Child
  • Incorporating Parents and Support System into CCPT Assessment
  • Interactive Play Observation as Primary Assessment Tool
  • Play Therapy Assessment, Treatment Planning and Documentation

Unit 3: Play Therapy Skills and Techniques 1

  • Connecting Theory to Practice within the CCPT Model
  • Constructing the Play Therapy Space and Therapeutic Relationship
  • CCPT Reflective Response 1: Content
  • CCPT Reflective Response 2: Feelings
  • CCPT Reflective Response 3: Themes

Unit 4: Play Therapy Skills and Techniques 2

  • CCPT Reflective Response 4: Creativity
  • CCPT Reflective Response 5: Self-Esteem
  • CCPT Reflective Response 6: Responsibility
  • CCPT Reflective Response 7: Relationship
  • CCPT Reflective Response 8: Limit Setting

Unit 5: Play Therapy Clinical Applications 1

  • Recognizing Major Themes of the Child’s Play Narrative
  • Deconstructing the Play Narrative and Reflecting Themes
  • Theme Analysis and CCPT Case Conceptualization
  • Tracking and Sharing Therapeutic Progress with Support System
  • Working with Diverse Clients: Cultural Competence in Play Therapy

Unit 6: Play Therapy Clinical Applications 2

  • Anger and Aggression in the Play Therapy Room
  • Attachment Distress in the Play Therapy Room
  • Sensory Issues and Learning Difficulty in the Play Therapy Room
  • Trauma and Anxiety in the Play Therapy Room
  • Sadness, Loss and Grief in the Play Therapy Room

Unit 7: Play Therapy Termination

  • Termination Planning in Play Therapy
  • Directive Play Activities for Termination
  • Managing Relationship Transference in Play Therapy Termination
  • Relapse Prevention in Play Therapy Termination
  • Therapeutic Endings with Play Therapy Clients

Unit 8: Play Therapy, Neurobiology and Trauma

  • Structure and Function of the Child’s Developing Brain
  • Negative Effects of Trauma and Attachment Distress
  • Neuroception of Safety and Stress Responses
  • Zones of Emotional Regulation and Trauma Recovery
  • Whole Brain Approach to Working with Families

Unit 9: Play Therapy, Infant and Early Child Development

  • Fetal Development and Growth
  • Early Attachment and Forming Infant-Caregiver Relationships
  • Infant – Young Child Observation
  • Developmental Stages and Major Milestones
  • Difficulties Arising in the Early Years and Treatment Implications

Unit 10: Play Therapy, Relationships and Attachment

  • Attachment Theory and Styles of Parent-Child Attachment
  • Issues in Formation of the Child- Play Therapist Relationship
  • Diagnostic Considerations in the Play Therapy Room
  • Adoption and Attachment Repair in Working with Parents and Families
  • Self-Evaluation and Reflection in Relationships

Unit 11: Working with Challenging Behavior in Play Therapy

  • Anger, Aggression, Impulsivity and Other Externalizing Behaviors
  • Anxiety, Depression, and Related Internalizing Behaviors
  • Working with Parents and Caregivers Around Challenging Behaviors
  • Emotional Regulation
  • Neurobiologically Informed Behavioral Interventions

Unit 12: Working with Learning and Developmental Differences in Play Therapy

  • Learning Differences and Treatment Considerations
  • ADHD Symptoms and Play-Based Interventions
  • Speech, Motor, Sensory Processing and Other Developmental Delays
  • Understanding the Autism Spectrum
  • Working Sensitively with Parents and Families with ASD/LD

Elective Courses

Up to 48 CE hours of optional electives will be offered over the enrollment year (may be contact or non-contact). Each elective course workshop presented on a Saturday once per month, each lecture 4 hours in length equal to 4 CEs/education credits.

Participants may attend up to 12 elective courses offering further specialization in at least three (3) other Play Therapy models.

Past Topics have included the following (each year elective workshops vary based on course demands):

  • Neurobiologically Informed Play Therapy
  • Child Parent Relationship Therapy
  • Play Therapy for Autism and Specific Developmental Delays
  • Trauma-Informed Play Therapy
  • Play Therapy and Interventions for Mindfulness Practice
  • Transference and Countertransference in Psychodynamic Play Therapy
  • Sand Play Therapy for Children and Adolescents
  • Group Play Therapy for Children: Emotional Regulation
  • Group Play Therapy for Children: Social Skills
  • Play Therapy for Children with Self Harm and High Risk Behaviors
  • Culturally Competent Play Therapy
  • Play Therapy with Adolescents
  • Play Therapy for Children with Chronic Medical Issues
  • CCPT Emotional Regulation Toolkit
  • Working within Multi-Disciplinary Teams for Play Therapists

What Our Graduates Say

"Play therapy has made me a better therapist. It allows me to connect with my patients in a way that creates a more genuine relationship. Georgie's passion for child-centered play therapy is as evident as her passion for teaching. Her classes were thoughtful and interactive. She taught us how to play like a child again."
Amanda Suplee, PhD
"I just completed interviews and the match process for doctoral practicum, and interviewers were really interested in the Play Therapy Certificate! It definitely felt like I was bringing something unique to the table, a clinical specialty that set me apart from other candidates. And what's more, I was offered my first choice internships, so clearly it was beneficial to specialize in Play Therapy!"
Maleia Mathis, PhD
"My parents always said I couldn't play for a living...I showed them! Play therapy has allowed me to be my most authentic, playful self when assisting others with healing and self-discovery."
Jennifer Tran, MSW

Required Fees

Cost is $3,600.00 annual tuition + $150.00 one time only registration deposit = $3,750.00 per enrollment year tuition fee. Includes 100 CE hours Play Therapy Certificate + optional 50 CE hours elective workshops.

Initial payment can be made by credit or debit card using our secure online payment system. New students will be charged a total of $450.00 nonrefundable deposit at time of application, includes $150.00 one time only registration deposit + $300.00 first monthly tuition payment. Additional monthly payments at $300.00/month will typically be charged at each 8.0 CE workshop presentation date while students are enrolled in the program.

How to Register

Registrations are accepted on a rolling basis, which means you can apply and begin the course anytime. Start your application today.