Child playing with painted hands

Play Therapy

Play Therapy is a method of specialised children’s counselling; it uses toys and playing to prevent or resolve psychological or social difficulties.

Play Therapy is the most developmentally relevant form of therapeutic intervention for children because it utilises a child’s natural way of expression – play.

The courses focus on children, infants, adolescences, adults and families, including therapeutic parenting. You will learn how to apply play therapy to different settings such as schools, hospitals, private practice and clinics and also how to work with groups and individuals.

We teach both directive and non-directive theory, knowledge and skills using play, art and other expressive mediums incorporated within a cultural and social, ethical framework, as well as focusing on advanced child development and the elements of working with family systems.

Play is the Child's Language: Play Therapy

Download the video transcript (docx 27KB).

Are the courses for me?

Our courses are suited for graduates who work in a range of fields, such as psychology, counselling, social work, education, teaching, child care, health, mental health, medicine, nursing, occupational health or allied health.

Course duration

The courses consist of two-week intensive teaching blocks per semester.

Course Coordinator

Carmen Cubillo

The Graduate Certificate of Play Therapy is designed for graduates with an already-known skillset of working with families and children in their field but who are looking for complementary skills and knowledge using play and art as a therapeutic method.

The duration of this course is 6 months full-time or 12 months part-time.

Entry requirements

  • Applicants must have a successfully completed a recognised Bachelor degree in one of the following fields: psychology, counselling, social work, education, child care, health, mental health, medicine, nursing, occupational health or allied health.
  • Applicants must be currently registered in their field of study with a professional regulatory board or association. For example, Teacher Registration Board in the relevant state; AHPRA; APTA, APPTA; the Australian Counselling Association; the Australian Association of Social Workers
  • Applicants must provide a current, formal police check and Working with Children Clearance Notice before enrolling

Download the Graduate Certificate of Play Therapy brochure (PDF 2MB) or find out more on the CDU Course Finder.

The Graduate Diploma of Play Therapy comprises the Graduate Certificate of Play Therapy (first six months of training) with additional emphasis on enhancing professional practice when working with children and families specifically from a therapeutic parenting perspective (second six months of training).

The duration of this course is 12 months full-time or two years part-time.

Entry requirements

  • Applicants must have a successfully completed a recognised Bachelor degree in one of the following fields: psychology, counselling, social work, education, child care, health, mental health, medicine, nursing, occupational health or allied health.
  • Applicants must be currently registered in their field of study with a professional regulatory board or association. For example, Teacher Registration Board in the relevant state; AHPRA; APTA, APPTA; the Australian Counselling Association; the Australian Association of Social Workers
  • Applicants must provide a current, formal police check and Working with Children Clearance Notice before enrolling

Download the Graduate Dipoma of Play Therapy brochure (PDF 1.2MB) or find out more on the CDU Course Finder.

The Master of Play Therapy is for graduates who aspire to gain specialist, comprehensive knowledge within the field of Play Therapy.

Comprising of the Certificate of Play Therapy and the Diploma of Play Therapy, the Master course also offers clinical supervision with practical placement experience as well as a Play Therapy research project; ensuring competency in complex issues in assessment, treatment and report writing.

Graduates will be eligible for professional registration as a Play Therapist upon graduation.

The duration of this course is two years full-time and four years part-time.

Entry requirements

  •  Applicants must have a successfully completed a recognised Bachelor degree in one of the following fields: psychology, counselling, social work, education, child care, health, mental health, medicine, nursing, occupational health or allied health
  • Applicants must be currently registered in their field of study with a professional regulatory board or association. For example, Teacher Registration Board in the relevant state; AHPRA; APTA, APPTA; the Australian Counselling Association; the Australian Association of Social Workers
  • Applicants must provide a current, formal Police Check and Working with Children Clearance Notice before enrolling into the courses
  • Master additional requirements: in addition to the above, applicants are required to submit a supporting statement that outlines their reasons for wanting to study Play Therapy. The supporting statement must be no longer than one page and should express why the applicant wishes to study Play Therapy, and why the applicant should be considered for entry into the Master of Play Therapy at CDU
  • Supporting statements should be emailed directly to playtherapy@cdu.edu.au

Download the Master of Play Therapy brochure (PDF 1.2MB) or find out more on the CDU Course Finder.