Play therapists help children to make sense of difficult life experiences, or complex psychological issues through play.
£24,000 Starter - £45,000 Experienced
35 to 37 variable (evenings attending events or appointments)
Where to start
You can get into this job through
a university course
You'll need to complete a postgraduate qualification approved by the British Association of Play Therapists or Play Therapy UK.
Relevant first degree subjects include:
You'll also need experience of working with children in professions like teaching, nursing, counselling, therapy or social work.
- early childhood studies
- mental health nursing
- occupational therapy
- drama, art or music
You'll usually need a degree in a relevant subject for postgraduate study.
You'll need to register with the British Association of Play Therapists or Play Therapy UK. If you have an interest in play therapy and work in a profession like teaching, nursing, counselling or social work you may be able to take an introductory course to find out more.
What it takes
Skills and knowledge
- sensitivity and understanding
- excellent verbal communication skills
- the ability to understand people’s reactions
- knowledge of psychology
- patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations
- the ability to work well with others
- to be flexible and open to change
- the ability to accept criticism and work well under pressure
- to be able to use a computer and the main software packages competently
Restrictions and Requirements
You'll need to pass enhanced background checks, as you may be working with children and vulnerable adults
What you’ll do
In this role you could:
- assess a child's needs in consultation with parents, carers and other professionals
- run individual or group therapy sessions at a regular time and place
- use creative arts, like drawing, clay, sand, movement, music and therapeutic storytelling
- monitor children's progress
- promote positive change in the child by helping them to help themselves
- take part in regular supervision sessions with a more experienced therapist
- run workshops for parents and other professionals
- keep confidential record systems up to date and write reports
You could work at a client's home, at a children's care home, at a health centre or at a school.
Your working environment may be emotionally demanding.
Career path and progression
With experience and further training, you could supervise less experienced therapists. You might also provide a consultation service to professionals in the community.
You could move into training, lecturing or clinical supervision.