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 licensed clinical mental health professionals with a graduate mental health degree and extensive specialized play therapy education, training and supervised experience. 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

IDEA Team - Biweekly Update

The APT IDEA Team has developed an anonymous needs assessment survey to gather baseline information to guide APT’s diversity efforts across all of our programs, publications, and processes. Our first survey, focusing on race and ethnicity, went live Monday, August 10 and was sent to all members. Contact us if you have questions or did not receive your link.

Email reminders will be sent on August 14 and August 21, with the survey closing on Tuesday, August 25. Thank you for your time and participation in this important work!

IJPT Call for Papers

The International Journal of Play Therapy® will celebrate its 30th anniversary in 2021. In honor of this special occasion, APT will release four special issues. The deadlines for the following topics have been extended:

  • Play Therapy in Schools (Manuscript due by September 30, 2020)
  • Play Therapy with Military Families (Manuscript due by October 31, 2020)
  • Play Therapy in Medical Settings (Manuscript due by November 30, 2020)
You are invited to submit a manuscript on one of the above topics. Manuscripts must be grounded in a seminal play therapy theory and meet submission criteria.


Approved Provider Q & A

Join us on Tuesday, August 18, 2020 at 9:30 a.m. (PDT) for a one-hour Approved Provider Q & A session — “AP application process: completing the application, sponsoring events, contact vs non-contact, and more!” The Q & A session will provide guidance on how to demonstrate an understanding of the Criteria & Standards while completing your application. The session is limited to 25 participants, register by 12:00 p.m. (PDT) on August 17, 2020 to secure your spot. Call in instructions will be provided via email prior to the session.

Important Dates:

  • August 20, 2020: Last day to vote for IJPT cover
  • August 25, 2020: APT IDEA Team survey closes
  • August 30, 2020: APT E-Learning Center Buy One Get One IJPT test promo ends. Code: AUGUSTBOGO
  • September 30, 2020: Deadline extended to submit IJPT manuscript for special issue (Play Therapy in Schools)
  • October 31, 2020:Deadline extended to submit IJPT manuscript for special issue (Play Therapy with Military Families)
  • November 30, 2020: Deadline to submit IJPT manuscript for special issue (Play Therapy in Medical Settings)
Play Therapy in the News more
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