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Maritime Play Therapy Centre

Photo taken by Dennis Jarvis  

Teaching neurodevelopmentally informed interventions using the Powers of Play.

Testimonial from a 2019 student.

"The online training I got at Maritime Play Therapy Centre has expanded and enriched my work as a counsellor in so many ways, including meeting the educational  requirements for national certification as a Certified Play Therapist. I have so much more to offer clients now in the way of tools and interventions. We were exposed a wide  variety of approaches in our courses, and encouraged to weave them into our work in ways that make sense for our theoretical orientations. During my training I connected with other therapists who are now a community of colleagues I can rely on. I look forward to more training opportunities at Maritime Play Therapy Centre."

Cynthia Manley. M.A., RCT-C

Maritime Play Therapy Centre provides Play Therapy Certificate education that is recognized by the Canadian Association for Play Therapy. 

We began in September in 2019 and 17 students completed all three LEVELS during Covid. 

Another cohort of students completed Level 1 and they begin Level II September 26th, 2020. 

PLAY THERAPY FOR 2020 and 2021 will be offered LIVE ONLINE. 

This makes the training accessible to clinicians across the Maritimes. 

Level 1 training will occur two Thursday evenings of every month and Level III will two evenings of the month. See dates below.  Start time is 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. ATLANTIC TIME. 

We believe in supporting our community to become trauma informed and it begins with us.                            Gabor Mator says: 

  • "We recognize the prevalence of trauma among all of us

  • We learn to notice and feel the trauma symptoms in ourselves

  • We acknowledge that whenever we have an emotional reaction, an old wound is being triggered

  • We understand the imprint of trauma on our behaviors and its impact on our relationships

  • We recognize the pain in others and understand how that pain might be driving their behavior

  • We see the real person underneath the behavior and the trauma

  • We support connection and compassion as the foundations of safety'

  • We know that the experience of safety is the beginning of healing

  • We understand that all trauma is intergenerational"

So in addition to play therapy approaches and sandtray, we provide neuroexperiential and neurodevelopment ally appropriate interventions such as SAFE and SOUND PROTOCOL, NeurOptimal Neurofeedback, EMDR and Brain spotting. 


Maritime Play Therapy Centre Play Therapy Training 

The following workshops are for two levels of Play Therapy training. 

All training is online with zoom. 6 hr trainings occur over two Thursday evenings. and the 12 hour trainings occur over four Thursdays. 

Please note that Maritime Play Therapy is not a CAREER COLLEGE. All participants have a pre-existing mental health credential. Each workshop day is $150 plus HST and participants can register for a whole level or 1 training day. 

Level I - Introduction to Play Therapy 

This introductory course will begin with a short introduction to CAPT and the Certification Process. Following the morning break a presentation will begin on the various definitions of play therapy. The therapeutic powers of play will be presented and applied to the play therapy process. Students will also learn how to set up a playroom and a portable play therapy kit and how to select appropriate toys and materials.

Child girl playing doctor with a toy. Profession and care concept. Clear neutral backgroun

Level 1 - Play Therapy History, Models and Process- 4 evenings

This 4 evening course will begin with a review of the major theories that constitute the frameworks for the major models of play therapy, particularly the psychoanalytic influences in the early part of the twentieth century, the person-centered work in the middle and the didactic theories that have been developed in the latter part of the 20th century and the beginning of the 21st century. The history of play therapy will be carefully presented so as to observe the evolution of this method of child intervention, allowing the members of the class to participate with case vignettes and small group discussions. The play therapy process will be examined with a particular focus on understanding basic themes in the play therapy space and how to document these in sessions notes. We will review research studies that support practice, qualitative studies and the need for future studies.

Image by Priscilla Du Preez

Level 1- Ethical Practice in Play Therapy - 2 evenings

This will be an introduction into ethics and a review of ethical decision- making models in a Play Therapy setting. The CACPT Code of Ethics will be a pivotal component to this workshop, observing the child-therapist relationships, play therapy case reporting, ethical considerations such as confidentiality, dual relationships in play therapy.

Standards of practice both from an ethical point of view as well as professionally will be addressed. Ethics will be looked at in the context of who we are as play therapists, where we work and how these can influence and affect our decision-making processes. Key ethical conflicts will be explored and discussed in a play therapy setting. The Canadian Association for Child and Play Therapy code of ethics and the application of it to the professional practice as a Child Psychotherapist and Play Therapist will be reviewed.


Maritime Play Therapy Centre Services

Where interventions are neurodevelopmentally informed.

Image by Kelly Sikkema

Level 1 - Assessment and Treatment Planning in Play Therapy- 2 evenings  

This workshop will outline a directive play therapy model for assessing children and families. Creative engagement and assessment activities will be presented. Participants will learn how to translate assessment information into a treatment plan, and guidelines for report writing will be discussed. Participants will receive a packet of assessment activities that they can use immediately in their practice.

Mothers and their Baby

Level 1 - Introduction to Attachment Theory in Play Therapy - 2 evenings

Attachment theory and practice within the play therapy models is integral to the healing of children with developmental trauma. This course will review attachment theory and the importance of engaging caregivers to whatever extent is appropriate. This sometimes means working with caregivers  first to understand their attachment style as well as understanding the attachment history of the child in therapy from gestation to presenting age. 


Level 1- Non- Directive Play Therapy and Introduction to Filial Therapy - 2 evenings

Non-Directive Play Therapy is the most prominent model of play therapy. Child-centered play therapy was developed by Virginia Axline based on the principles Client-Centered Therapy by Carl Rogers. Its premise is that if a therapist creates a safe therapeutic environment a child will initiate the therapeutic work they need to do to resolve presenting issues. It is an evidence-based therapeutic intervention for children ages 3-12 and older.

 It is by communicating , through play - the process of externalizing the images and symbols from the inner world, through a creative medium that is witnessed in sensory form and honoured by a skilled and trained therapist who is fully present - that a deeper level of growth and healing occur. Child-Centered Play Therapy is an empirically supported approach that helps children express feelings, heal trauma, develop emotional regulation and problem-solving skills, and enhance self- esteem.

Filial Therapy is a highly effective empirically-supported intervention integrating family therapy and play therapy to address child and family problems. Therapists learn how this model is intended to support  parents as they conduct special child-centered play sessions with their own children, an approach designed to resolve presenting problems while strengthening family relationships. It facilitates positive and long-lasting child and family change. Filial therapy has been used in many different settings and has been embraced by many cultural and ethnic groups throughout the world because of its respectful involvement of parents as partners in the process of family change. * Participants are not certified in Filial PT but training programs that provide certification will be shared. 


Maritime Play Therapy Centre Services

Where interventions are neurodevelopmentally informed.

Level 1 - Theraplay (c) overview as a Play Therapy Model - *Not A Theraplay(c) Certification workshop - 2 evenings 

Theraplay (c)  is a dynamic and effective short-term approach to treating children’s emotional, social and behavioural problems as well as strengthening the caregiver/ child connection with then four domains of Engagement, structure, nurture and challenge. 

Theraplay(c) as a play therapy model is applicable to children of all ages from infants to adolescents and can also be utilized with adults. This is not a certification course in Theraplay (c) rather an overview and training opportunities will be shared for theraplay certification.

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Level 3 - Family Play Therapy - 2 evenings

Family play therapy has been growing in the use as clinicians discover that play can be universally used with all ages. Through family therapy, the power of the system is able to be harnessed along with the power of play to create an amazing process of learning and change. This course will help lay the foundation for understanding why family play therapy is effective and how to make sessions with families engaging and effective.

Family Playing with Ball

 Level 3 Vicarious Trauma and Self- Care for the Play Therapist

This course will provide an overview of Burnout, Compassion Fatigue, Vicarious Trauma, and Resiliency during the practice of play therapy. The importance of self-care in applying various play therapy models and care will be highlighted and participants will explore creative modalities for developing an individual self-care program.

Image by Tim Goedhart

Level 3  Art and music based interventions in a Play Therapy Space

Art Therapy is a therapeutic process that uses art as an intervention to effectively work with children, teens and adults to address numerous issues. Art Therapy is integral to play therapy theory and associated models. Art Therapy can be utilized with individuals, groups, couples or families within private practice, hospitals, schools, centres, outreach, outpatient, etc. This one-day course will provide an overview of art therapy and how to use art as a therapeutic play therapy tool with children.

Art Supply
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Level 3  Case Application

The PT  Program has provided participants with a broad array of play therapy models, theories and strategies to deal with a wide variety of mental health issues and disorders in the clinical world. This presentation will integrate the course material learned in the first five (5) weeks of the Foundation Play Therapy training and will apply these learnings to a case study. The instructor will discuss the case from referral to termination, including which model of play therapy intervention to select and which strategies to use in the various stages of treatment: Assessment, Treatment Planning, Intervention and Termination. Participants will explore how alternative clinical decisions might impact the case.


Level 3 Play Therapy with Adults

Although Play Therapy has been recognized as an effective approach with children, few practitioners may be aware that adults can benefit from this approach too.  Play Therapy interventions can allow adults to access their inner selves and work through everything from childhood trauma to life transitions. Creating a safer, more distanced approach through play, and knowing how to use a variety of materials within a session, helps build the therapeutic relationship and the trust needed to work through presenting problems. These interventions promote healing and stress reduction by giving clients the permission they
need to access the child within.
Research has demonstrated that Play Therapy techniques can also be effectively incorporated into therapy for adults with developmental disabilities, co-morbid mental health disorders or anyone who might struggle with traditional “talk therapy”. Play Therapy can assist adults in validating and interpreting their experiences without the defectiveness of therapeutic goals. It can lead to stress release, self-affirmation, insight, and improved communication.
In this one-day training we will explore the diverse approaches and clinical strategies employed by play therapists with adults and give participants the opportunity to practice some of these techniques with each other. This training encourages clinicians to make greater use of expressive play therapy activities to enrich their therapeutic interactions with clients.