Association for Play Therapy

The Association for Play Therapy (APT) is a national professional society established in 1982 to foster contact among mental health professionals interested in exploring and, when developmentally appropriate, applying the therapeutic power of play to communicate with and treat clients, particularly children.

What is Play Therapy?

Play Therapy is defined by APT 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."

Play Therapy should only be provided by mental health professionals who have met the required education, licensure, and additional specialized training and supervision specific to Play Therapy. Read more…

Association Programs & Benefits

Membership in the Association for Play Therapy (APT) demonstrates your interest in the field of play therapy! APT is dedicated to the growth and advancement of play therapy, increasing your knowledge, and providing you with networking opportunities and the professional tools you need.


APT membership demonstrates your interest in the field of play therapy and provides access to the latest play therapy news, research, publications, networking, and professional tools.

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Play Therapy Research

APT encourages play therapy research that demonstrates the value and effectiveness of play therapy, increases play therapy knowledge, and supports evidence-based play therapy practices.

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APT provides official publications exclusively to its membership, in the form of the International Journal of Play Therapy®, Play Therapy™ Magazine, PlayToday e-newsletter, and more!

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Play Therapy Connection

A professional network of support is an important resource for any mental health professional. Connect with fellow members and exchange clinical knowledge.

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E-Learning Center

Earn valuable non-contact continuing education from various play therapy sources, including APT’s Annual Conference Workshops, the International Journal of Play Therapy®, and more!

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Annual Conference

The Annual APT Conference takes place every October, offering play therapy education to mental health professionals and graduate students from an array of disciplines.

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Association Newsmore

COVID-19: Resources for Play Therapists and Parents

APT is committed to providing you with current information and resources as the COVID-19 situation continues. Visit our COVID-19 page to access videos from experts in the field, a Crash Course in Simplified CPRT/Filial Therapy for Parents, parent  resources and articles, tips on cleaning your playroom, telehealth guidelines, and related articles from CDC, APA and others.


Why Play Therapy is Appropriate for Children with Symptoms of PTSD: 6 Reasons Why Play Therapy is an Effective Treatment Choice for Children with Trauma

A different type of threat to our community appeared last week in the form of a blog* filled with misinformation about the field of play therapy and play therapist’s training and practice. The blog had its own “viral” route — disrupting our focus on the work we do. As the misinformation in the blog could negatively impact the credibility of play therapy, the APT Board of Directors authored a response


"The purpose of our response is to provide an opportunity for the blog author to become familiar with play therapy and its contributions to the health and well-being of children — especially children experiencing stress and trauma." Anne Stewart, Board Chair


The response, which is also a stand-alone description of the benefits of play therapy for children experiencing trauma, addresses each of the six points of misinformation delineated in the article with six points portraying the robust research base and play therapist expertise. This response will be sent to the author, the editor and circulated widely through various sites. You are encouraged to join the distribution effort!

*The blog was posted by Michael S. Scheeringa M.D., on 4/5/2020 by The blog was titled Six Reasons Play Therapy Is Wrong for Children With PTSD: The Wild Wild West of Unverified and Unverifiable Psychotherapy Techniques.

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