Play Therapy Training



Welcome to the WCSU play therapy training webpage. Play therapy is defined as “the systematic use of a theoretical model to establish an interpersonal process wherein trained play therapists use the therapeutic powers of play to help clients prevent or resolve psychosocial difficulties and achieve optimal growth and development.” Specifically, our training program teaches the theory, and curative factors of play, along with the practice of using specific types of toys, expressive arts, and other play media to work therapeutically with patients or clients. Play therapists are licensed mental health experts with at least a master’s degree or above in the area of behavioral health (counseling, psychology, social work, marriage and family therapy) with play therapy specific training. The Association for Play Therapy ( is the professional association for play therapists and offers qualified professionals the opportunity to become Registered Play Therapists (RPT). WCSU is an approved provider of play therapy continuing education (APT Approved Provider # 13-357).

While play therapy can be fun, becoming a registered play therapist is a serious undertaking. In addition to the graduate degree, and at least 150 hours of play therapy specific training, registered play therapists must have at least 2000 hours of clinical hours (1000 hours can be pre-master’s degree) and 500 hours of play therapy specific clinical hours which are supervised by a licensed supervisor. Details and forms are available on the APT website.

WCSU offers the entire 150 hours of training in a single academic year. Interested students take EPY 640: Introduction to Play Therapy in the fall of each year. Additionally, students must take EPY 650: Advanced Play Therapy, offered in the spring of each year. These courses combine to give students 135 hours of the required 150 hours for the RPT. Both play therapy courses are taught on Saturdays, once a month, to accommodate working professionals who are interested in the training. The classes earn 3 credit hours each, so reading, writing, and clinical work will be included in the program. Much of the reading and writing must be completed between class meetings. To complete the remainder of the training, a 15-hour weekend conference is offered at WCSU each fall. More information will be available regarding the next fall conference!

Individuals interested in the training should apply to the graduate school and become part-time graduate students in the counseling program. Registration fees for the fall conference will vary, depending on costs associated with the conference. However, students should know that our aim is to keep costs low so the conference is affordable to both students and professionals from the community.

WCSU is convenient for individuals who live in the tri-state area. WCSU is only 65 miles from New York City, 40 miles from White Plains, 115 miles from Albany, 55 miles from Hartford, CT and 75 miles from Newark, NJ. WCSU faculty are leaders in the field. Dr. Gabriel Lomas, RPT-S has presented and published widely on child therapy. Additionally, he has served the boards for the Texas and New York branches of the Association for Play Therapy and the national Association for Play Therapy. Dr. Lomas maintains a small private practice with an emphasis on child therapy. Dr. Athena Drewes, RPT-S is an internationally recognized presenter and has published numerous books, book chapters, and articles on play therapy. Dr. Drewes has also served in several capacities for the New York branch and the national Association for Play Therapy.

QUESTIONS: Students with questions should contact Dr. Gabriel Lomas, associate professor of counseling at 203-837-8512 or