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Center for Play Therapy Education


The Center for Play Therapy Education is one of only three approved centers within the state of Missouri (among 32 within the United States). The center serves as the core for the department's Play Therapy Sequence. This sequence consists of two courses (see below) that help mental health and school counselors qualify to become credentialed Registered Play Therapists (RPTs) through the Association of Play Therapy.

Play therapy is a mental health modality practiced by thousands of licensed mental health professionals within and outside of the United States. Play is a natural method of expression, learning, and interacting and encourages children to increase their understanding of the world as they explore objects, language, social roles, and feelings without imminent risk. Play therapy acts as an organizer of children’s experiences and may be one of the few times in their lives that they feel more in control and more secure.


The RPT credential allows mental health professionals to enhance their marketability in the community or within school-based settings and specialize in an evidence-based, trauma informed modality. The Play Therapy Sequence is designed to meet 135 of the 150 hours of Play Therapy instruction required for the RPT. For more information on the additional educational and clinical requirements for an RPT, please visit

Learning Outcomes

CP 652 Introduction to Play Therapy (offered in Summer)

  • Students will illustrate knowledge of the definition, history, and theoretical assumptions of play therapy.
  • Students will recall the basic process and dynamics of play therapy.
  • Students will analyze counselor qualities and skills necessary for establishing effective therapeutic alliances with children.

CP 658 Advanced Play Therapy (offered in Spring)

  • Students will further develop and apply play therapy skills that may be utilized in both school and agency settings.
  • Students will develop and synthesize an advanced theoretical understanding of play therapy, especially client-centered play therapy.
  • Students will apply specific modalities within play therapy, including Sandtray therapy, Group play therapy, as well as working with populations with trauma, adults, and families.


CP 652 Introduction to Play Therapy
Completion of CP 610-Counseling Orientation and Ethics and CP 614-Counseling Skills or instructor permission.

CP 658 Advanced Play Therapy
Completion of CP 610-Counseling Orientation and Ethics, CP 614-Counseling Skills, and CP 652-Introduction to Play Therapy or instructor permission.

Contact Information

Dr. Holly Wagner
Scully 409C, MS 5700
(573) 651-2091

Dr. Janice Ward
Scully 409E, MS 5700


Scully 404
Department of Psychology and Counseling
One University Plaza, MS 5700
Cape Girardeau, Missouri 63701