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About APT
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The Association for Play Therapy (APT) is a national professional society established in 1982 and located in Clovis, California. It is a California mutual benefit corporation exempt from federal taxation per Section 501(c)(6) of the IRS Code. Steady membership growth since its inception has allowed APT to develop into a vibrant organization comprised of professionals in all mental health fields across the world. 

APT has developed a brief video, Play Therapy Works!, that speaks to the value of play, play therapy, credentialed play therapists, and membership in the Association for Play Therapy.


Definition of Play Therapy

APT defines play therapy 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."


Mission & Scope

The mission of APT is to promote the value of play, play therapy, and credentialed play therapists.  This is accomplished by advancing the psychosocial development and mental health of all people through play and play therapy by promoting and supporting those programs, services, and related activities that promote the:
  • Public understanding and appreciation of play and play therapy
  • Effective practice of play therapy through research, education and training, and support
  • Recognition, incorporation, and preservation of diversity in play and play therapy
  • Development and maintenance of a strong professional organization that satisfies this mission

Diversity Statement

APT is committed to the work of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DE&I) within our organization.  It is an integral component to our mission and scope.  We are at our best when the principles of DE&I are fully integrated into our governance, decision making, processes, and policies.  As part of this commitment, we have created the APT Inclusion, Diversity, and Equity Awareness Team (IDEA Team) to recommend DE&I informed programs and processes that will result in meaningful and sustainable organizational change. 


Clarifying the Use of Play Therapy & Play Therapist

Due to the very nature of play as fun, innate, and effortless, the field of play therapy, in using this “language” as central to its practice, is challenged by the outward appearance of the very serious and theoretical work that is being done. Moreover, play therapy is regarded as an evidence based practice (SAMSHA, 2014) and 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.

For this reason, APT encourages its members and registrants to reach out to any party found to be misusing or misrepresenting their products or services as “play therapy.”  Reference our Guidelines for talking points or refer the individual to APT directly.


Programs & Benefits Offered by APT

In line with its mission, APT has developed several programs and benefits to advance the field of play therapy as listed below.   

We invite you to explore our website and its various features.

Learn more about play therapy and see how you can partner with APT to share play therapy with others!  Should you have any questions, feel free to contact us. We are here to serve you!