Play Therapist

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Play Therapists use play activities to encourage children to:

  • work through emotional, behavioural and psychosocial difficulties
  • encourage self expression
  • construct an understanding of their world
  • reach age appropriate developmental targets
  • build positive relationships with others
  • develop resilience and the ability to cope with changing environments
  • have fun and to feel motivated.


Play Therapists plan, implement and evaluate play programs for children and young people of varying ages. They work independently and as part of a multi-disciplinary team.


Play therapists are mostly employed in hospital settings and work with young patients and their families to aid coping and recovery processes related to illness. Play therapists may also work in specialist education settings or in private practice.


Play therapists usually require early childhood or teaching qualifications, with significant knowledge in child development. Alternatively, qualifications in psychology and play therapy may be acceptable. Play therapists require an understanding of play and the value of play therapy at various stages of child development. An imaginative and creative approach is necessary for this role, as is flexibility and a strong interest in working with children and their families.