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Play Therapy (MA)

  • Course Code


  • Field of Study


  • Type of Course:

    Postgraduate Diploma,Masters Degree

  • Type of Qualification:


  • Type of Study:

    Part time

  • Application Closing Date:

Admission Requirements:

The entry requirement is a Level 8 Honours degree (H2.2) or higher, in one of the following areas:

Counselling/Psychotherapy, Early Years Education, Occupational Therapy, Primary Education, Psychiatry, Psychology, Psychiatric Nursing, Social Care, Social Work, Special Needs Education or a cognate discipline.

Applicants must be 23 years old at the time of entry to the programme and have at least two years post qualifying experience of working with children.

Applicants will be required to attend an interview.


Applied Social Studies

Please note that the next intake for this course is September 2018.

Course Fee

Students should note that Fees quoted relate to the academic year 2016 and are subject to change on an annual basis.

EU Applicants: €6,900

Union of Students in Ireland (USI) Levy
The USI membership levy of €7.00 has been introduced as a result of a referendum where students opted to affiliate to the national Students’ Union. This levy must be paid before the start of Semester 1.


This programme is a postgraduate clinical training in Play Therapy. It aims to equip practitioners with the advanced knowledge and clinical capability that would match international standards of best practice within the Play Therapy profession.

Key area:
•Personal therapy and personal development

On successful completion of the programme students may be eligible for membership of the Irish representative organizations for Play Therapists. These include the Irish Play Therapy Association, the Irish Association for Play Therapy and Psychotherapy, and Play Therapy Ireland.


The course is run on a part-time basis over 3 years.

The course has 90 credits and will be delivered as follows;

  • Years 1 and 2 (60 credits) will include a clinical training in Play Therapy.  Students will study modules which will be experiential and theoretical.  They will undertake placements in both years and will require external supervision from approved supervisors. 

    On successful completion of the taught elements, students will be awarded a Postgraduate Diploma in Play Therapy, unless they proceed to Year 3.
  • Year 3 (30 credits) The MA in Play Therapy is awarded to successful candidates who complete a module in research skills and a dissertation.  

No. of weeks per annum: 26
Duration: Three years

Course content

Clinical Work Preparation and Practice
This training focuses on developing the students’ awareness and comprehension of the Play Therapy skills needed when setting up, working in and maintaining a Play Therapy practice. It will also ensure that the trainees work within the core play therapy competencies and standards in order to communicate effectively with clients, parents and referrers in a supportive and appropriate manner.

Child Development, Play and Attachment
Students will receive a thorough grounding in child development, play and attachment theory. It critically looks at key theoretical positions in developmental literature and most recent research. Students will examine theories and processes of individual development and change through the life span.

Students will develop an integrated understanding of the nature and origins of trauma and dissociation and their symptoms, with application to Play Therapy. The effects of trauma from a neuroscientific perspective will be explored in detail.

Play Therapy Theory and Processes
Students will explore the theoretical background and rationale for Play Therapy with particular emphasis on Non Directive Play Therapy. Pervasive developmental disorders, trauma, attachment difficulties, abuse and neglect will be thoroughly examined. The use of congruence, accurate empathy and unconditional positive regard will be utilised through small group personal development and clinical work practice classes.

Application of Play Therapy Skills
Students will explore experientially the Play Therapy journey. Creative mediums such as sand, art and appropriate play materials will be introduced and explored.

Clinical Supervision and Placement
Students will be equipped to select suitable candidates for Play Therapy intervention. Approval of selection will be made in consultation with clinical supervisor. Throughout placement, students will be required to attend clinical supervision. A list of approved supervisors will be provided to students. Supervision must be paid for by the student.

Personal Counselling
Students will be required to attend at least 25 hours of personal counselling per year throughout their training. Counsellors must be trained on a counselling/psychotherapy training accredited by the Irish Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy ( or IAHIP. A written statement from the psychotherapist confirming hours are completed must be returned on completion of the hours in order to complete the training in Play Therapy.


Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)




CIT has developed a website which gives full details of all modules for all courses. The website also has information on recommended textbooks, average weekly workload, assessments and exams.

For detailed module information, please click here .

  • Private practice as a Clinical Play Therapist
  • Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services within the HSE
  • Play Therapist within the school setting / early years setting
  • Play Therapist within the homeless services
  • Play Therapist in community projects and Family Resource Centres
  • Expert witness in court proceedings
  • Graduates who successfully complete the MA in Play Therapy will have the specialised expertise in an emerging field of research, which in turn, will allow for professional supervision in niche areas
  • Please note that the next intake for this course is September 2018.



Myriam Clancy

Karen O'Connor