Training, Supervision, And Certification Programs
Child-Centered Play Therapy

For over 17 years the National Institute of Relationship Enhancement has been providing training, supervision, and certification for mental health professionals in the Child-Centered Play Therapy Model. NIRE conducts basic and advanced skills training workshops in play therapy, as well as offering supervision and certification in this effective intervention with children. NIRE is fortunate to have on its staff Louise Guerney, Ph.D. and William Nordling, Ph.D., two of the nation’s foremost trainers in the area of Child-Centered Play Therapy.

The Child-Centered Play Therapy Model

Child-Centered Play Therapy (CCPT) is the method of play therapy developed by Virginia Axline, an associate of Carl Rogers. CCPT follows the principles of Client-Centered Therapy of creating a non-judgmental, emotionally supportive therapeutic atmosphere, but with clear boundaries that provide the child with psychological safety to permit the learning of emotional and behavioral self-regulation. Research has validated that this is a powerful method for decreasing a wide range of child problems, for overcoming traumatic experiences, for developing expressive freedom and creativity, and for building self-esteem and more mature, pro-social behaviors. CCPT is based on eight clear cut principles applied in a systematic way to equip the therapist with a method uniquely capable of handling the many challenges of playing therapeutically with children and achieving predictably positive results.

On-Site Training Opportunities

This and all other NIRE professional training workshops can be offered on-site and tailored to meet your organization’s or group’s distinctive needs. For more information on this potentially cost-saving alternative, please see On-Site Training Workshops.

Child-Centered Play Therapy Workshop

Now offered as a Live Interactive Webinar

This workshop meets APT’s definition of “Live Webinar”.
This webinar therefore awards 13 Non-Contact APT CEU credits

Whether the 13 CE credits for these offerings will be treated as contact or non-contact hours will be dependent on the respective state licensing boards for psychologists, social workers, counselors, or marriage and family therapists. Please contact your respective licensing board(s) to obtain a clear answer to this question.


The purpose of this two-day skills training workshop is to provide participants a comprehensive introduction to the Child-Centered Play Therapy Model and to teach participants the principles and techniques for conducting all aspects of Child-Centered Play Therapy with children, from intake through termination. The workshop emphasizes the building of participants’ therapeutic skills through a process that combines lecture, video demonstration and presenter roleplay with participants, and participant practice in dyads via the use of virtual “breakout” rooms.

Completion of this workshop is a prerequisite for application to NIRE’s:

  • Certification Program in Child-Centered Play Therapy

For information, please visit Certification Programs in RE Therapy, CCPT and FFT

Schedule for Day 1

9:00   a.m.    History and theoretical foundations of Child-Centered Play Therapy
9:50   a.m.    Logistics: appropriate clients; session length, frequency, and duration
10:00 a.m.    Overview of therapist’s behaviors and responses
10:20 a.m.    Children’s play styles
10:30 a.m.    Break
10:45 a.m.    Overview of the stages of the play therapy process
11:00 a.m.    Videotape demonstration of play therapy session
12:00            Lunch
1:00 a.m.      Skill-building: Structuring responses & tracking responses
1:30 p.m.      Skill-building: Empathic responses; practice exercise
2:30 p.m.      Break
2:45 p.m.      Skill-building: Limit-setting; practice exercise
3:45 p.m.      Skill-building: Responding to requests for help and commands; practice exercise
4:15 p.m.      Skill-building: Responding to questions; practice exercise
4:55 p.m.      Questions; wrap-up
5:00 p.m.      Adjournment

Schedule for Day 2

9:00   a.m.    Roleplay in play therapy: videotape demonstration; questions
10:00 a.m.    Selection of Toys for the Playroom
10:15 a.m.    Break
10:30 a.m.    Mock play sessions; demonstration
12:00            Lunch
1:00 p.m.      The Warm-up stage: behaviors, themes, and problems encountered
1:30 p.m.      The Aggressive stage: behaviors, themes, and problems encountered
2:00 p.m.      The Regressive stage: behaviors, themes, and problems encountered
2:30 p.m.      Break
2:45 p.m.      The Mastery stage: behaviors, themes, and problems
3:15 p.m.      Termination Issues
3:30 p.m.      Working with parents in play therapy
4:15 p.m.      Questions; further demonstration or roleplay
5:00 p.m.      Adjournment

Workshop Objectives:

1) List the eight foundational principles underlying the Child-Centered Play Therapy (CCPT) Method

2) Describe the inclusionary and exclusionary criteria for utilizing Child-Centered play therapy

3) Describe nine major curative factors produced by utilization of CCPT

4) Distinguish and apply the five types of empathic responses utilized in play therapy sessions

5) Describe the therapeutic strategies used to work with the five types of questions children often ask in CCPT

6) Distinguish among the three types of roleplays children often utilize in CCPT

7) Describe how to apply the 3-step limit-setting process used with children in play therapy

8) Identify the 4 stages of the Child-Centered Play Therapy process

9) Distinguish among the five ways of measuring children’s progress in the CCPT therapy process


  • History of play therapy
  • Rationale, methods and principles of Child-Centered Play Therapy (CCPT)
  • Deciding for whom CCPT is appropriate
  • Logistics of sessions and selection of toys
  • Stages and common themes of the play therapy process
  • Structuring the play sessions
  • Therapist skills and responses
  • Children’s play styles
  • Use of role-play in play sessions
  • Handling common problems and special situations
  • Setting and enforcing limits
  • Termination issues
Distribution of Hours to Meet RPT Credential through APT
  • Play Therapy History – 1 hour
  • Play Therapy Seminal or Historically Significant Theories – 3 hours
  • Play Therapy Skills and Methods – 9 hours

CE Information
13 hours of CE credits are provided to psychologists, social workers, counselors, and play therapists.

This workshop meets APT’s definition of “Live Webinar”.
This webinar therefore awards 13 Non-Contact APT CEU credits

For further information on CE credits, please see Continuing Education Information

Completion of this workshop counts toward the 150 hour requirement to become a Registered Play Therapist (RPT) through the Association for Play Therapy under their category of “Live Webinar.” The maximum number of Live Webinar hours that can be applied to APT’s RPT status is 75 hours.


  • William Nordling, Ph.D.
  • Robert Scuka, Ph.D., M.S.W.
  • Mary Ortwein, M.S., LMFT

Schedule, Cost and Registration Information

Cost of the CCPT Workshop is $315.
Graduate Student rate is $195.
The workshop meets from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day. Lunch is on your own.

Cancellation Policy:

Full refund (minus a $25 cancellation fee) is available up to one week prior to the beginning of the workshop.

Thereafter, no refund is permitted, but the money paid can be applied to a future workshop offering.

To Register:

Via the website: please click on the Registration Workshop link at the top of this page.

Phone: 301-680-8977
Fax:  240-238-2764

Additional Training Opportunities
Participants completing this workshop may also wish to attend NIRE’s: