Duration: 12 days (weekend days only)

When: Autumn 2024

Costs: Please view all of our training courses and fees


About the Course

This course is designed for people whose work already involves playing with children (0 to 10 years old) but who want to be able to offer therapeutic play to the children who need it. These are children with challenging behaviour, or those who are anxious, angry, unhappy, withdrawn, hyperactive or who have learning difficulties.  

On the course participants will experience a wide range of therapeutic play techniques including sandplay, puppetry, directive and non-directive play interventions. They will also learn how to enhance the therapeutic potential of messy play, construction play, make-believe play. Participants will also have the opportunity to enhance their own creativity, imagination, spontaneity, playfulness using a wide range of art forms and play based interventions. They will also learn about the developmental stages of play, the psychology and brain science of what makes play therapeutic, how play can heal troubled minds and enhance social and emotional development.


Course content


  • Sandplay
  • Puppetry
  • Non-directive and directive Play
  • Parent-Child Therapeutic Play
  • The arts and play - art, music, movement, clay, music
  • Communication through image and metaphor
  • Enhancing the therapeutic potential of: *Messy play *Make believe play *Sensory zone play *Construction play *Motoric play
  • Relational Play: how to make contact with hard-to-reach children
  • What makes play therapeutic (the psychology and neuroscience)
  • Rediscovering your own creativity and capacity to play


Who should apply?

Anyone who already plays with children and wants now to be able to offer therapeutic play:

Child Workers, Support Workers, Child Mentors, Family Support Workers, Social Workers, Teachers, Child Minders, Playworkers, Pre-school Assistants, Nursery Assistants, Nursery Officers, SENCos, Nursery Nurses, Care Workers, Nurture Group staff, parents, foster carers, adoptive parents, Nursery Workers, Learning Mentors, Teaching Assistants, Early Years Practitioners, School-Home Support workers, Child Psychologists, Nursery and Primary School staff, Early Years Practitioners


Course Tutors will include


  • Dr Margot Sunderland (Senior Integrative Child Psychotherapist and award winning author of over 20 books in child mental health)
  • Dominic Guard (Psychotherapist working with parents and children. Has worked therapeuticaly in many settings. Author of over 10 storybooks for children)
  • Also specialists in specific areas of therapeutic play
  • Denise Tulloch-Johnson (Senior Play Leader and Communication Specialist)

"Thank you for giving me such a wonderful experience. I will put into practise everything I have learnt so far and Dom lead the course extremely well." Deputy Head Teacher Barbara Tewe Therapeutic Play Student 2014


  • Some previous experience of working with / looking after children
  • Self-awareness and emotional robustness
  • Capacity to empathise
  • Developed interpersonal skills
  • High level of emotional warmth
  • DBS check
How to apply

You will need to attend an interview day (Taster Day)


Changes to the curriculum, teaching staff, assignments on our courses
IATE reserves the right to make adjustments to the above due to unforeseen circumstances. 
The quality of the training will not in any way be compromised in doing so.


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