The College of Education Play Therapy Center at Wichita State University has earned designation as an Approved Center of Play Therapy Education by the Association for Play Therapy (APT).
Play therapy is a form of mental health counseling or psychotherapy used by licensed mental health professionals to better communicate with and help clients achieve optimal mental health.
It is particularly effective with children, because, just as adults use words to communicate and express themselves, children use play.
APT recently launched its Approved Center program to acknowledge those universities generating substantial play therapy research, publications, graduate instruction, supervised clinical experiences, supervisor training and other programs.
During its initial three-year approval period, the College of Education Play Therapy Center will offer 36 hours of play therapy graduate instruction. It will also offer a practicum each semester, an annual supervisor training course and generate articles and presentations.
These programs may be applied to satisfy state licensing requirements and to earn the Registered Play Therapist and Supervisor credentials conferred by APT.
The center was established in September 2009 by its director, Ruth Hitchcock, an associate professor of counseling, education and school psychology at Wichita State University.
"Because the rapidly increasing use of play therapy is also boosting demand for more university play therapy programs, APT applauds Wichita State University for approving the establishment of the center," said APT executive director Bill Burns. "We are confident that, under Dr. Hitchcock's leadership, it will significantly advance our growing field and serve those who counsel clients, particularly children, in schools, public agencies, private practices and other venues."
APT, a national professional society, estimates that play therapy is routinely utilized by thousands of licensed psychologists, social workers, counselors and marriage and family therapists within and outside of the United States.
Nearly 16 percent of accredited universities offer some combination of play therapy graduate instruction and supervised play therapy experiences.