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The Developmental and Therapeutic Play course aims to consider the developmental, educational and therapeutic potential of play at an advanced academic level through the combination of demanding intellectual work and sophisticated practical reflection.
Teaching and Employability:
- taught by well published academics and specialist practitioners
- access to a multi-disciplinary team with strong links to similar university departments in Europe and around the world
- hands on practical workshops as well as lectures and seminars
- good record of graduate employment
- employability supported by the university-wide careers service as well as the teaching team
- numerous links with local businesses to increase prospects for work experience
- fieldwork experience included as part of the programme
- excellent teaching and learning experiences and cross-cultural insights developed through an international cohort
- opportunity to pursue a PhD supervised by a well-qualified member of the team
The Developmental and Therapeutic Play course is a modular postgraduate programme consisting of 180 credits at level M.
The course is offered on a part-time basis with completion typically within three years.
Developmental and Therapeutic Play examines how children’s play develops and how children develop as they play. It explores evidence based play practice across a range of professional contexts. Play is an important element of provision across all Children’s Services in the UK and beyond. Graduate employment prospects are wide ranging and past students have secured a range of interesting posts.
The Developmental and Therapeutic Play course offers the perfect opportunity to study children’s play at an advanced academic level, combining theoretical work with fieldwork experience and high-level reflection. It is taught by internationally recognised and well published academics in the field.
The Developmental and Therapeutic Play course aims to deepen students’ understanding of the developmental and therapeutic potential of play. This includes how the environment and social interactions support children’s growing repertoire of play skills, with a particular emphasis on the inherent value of children’s self-directed play experiences.
The developmental, educational and therapeutic potential of play across multiple contexts are also considered i.e. inclusive play practice, observation, assessment and being able to identify when further professional assistance may be required.
Modules on the Developmental and Therapeutic Play may include:
Play Theory and Practice
Perspectives on Play
Understanding and Observing Child Development
Therapeutic Work with Children
The Developmental and Therapeutic Play course is highly regarded resulting in specialist positions in education, international aid, counselling and pastoral care, social work, hospital/healthcare and playwork.
Graduates have secured posts in domestic violence teams, the prison service, hospitals and schools. Some have also set up their own businesses or have gone on to pursue further training in play therapy, counselling, psychotherapy or clinical psychology.
The College also offers supervision for Developmental and Therapeutic Play students who wish to continue their studies in this field at PhD level.
Voluntary work throughout the course is encouraged.
The College also provides career information and relevant job advertisements as well as career tutorials. Past Developmental and Therapeutic Play graduates are involved in future teaching and publication of student research is encouraged.
The College of Human and Health Sciences has links with a number of local children’s services who may be prepared to offer volunteering or work experience opportunities.
Gaining experience is vital to building a strong CV and increasing employability on graduation.
Team members are active researchers and their work is well published.
Many past Developmental and Therapeutic Play students have published their research or presented their findings at seminars and conferences. This is encouraged and supported by the academic team and demonstrates the high quality of work being produced.
The College of Human and Health Sciences has a vibrant postgraduate community with students drawn from a variety of backgrounds and nationalities. The College is known for its friendly, welcoming and supportive environment, which combined with its extensive facilities, state-of-the-art technology and superb beachside location, helps to ensure that students benefit from an exceptional student experience.
In addition, students have access to a wide range of excellent facilities and equipment for realistic workplace experiences.
This two year full-time programme integrates theoretical learning, clinical skills and in-depth personal development to prepare graduates for clinical practice, predominantly with children, as a professional play therapist within the public and private sectors.Based on a humanistic person-centred model of therapy, this course emphasises the use of play within a therapeutic relationship between the therapist and client to facilitate therapeutic change. The course encompasses theoretical, practical and experiential learning. With our holistic approach to teaching, you will be provided with thorough and systematic knowledge, experience, skills and the confidence to work as a professionally qualified play therapist. At the end of the course, you will be able to demonstrate a comprehensive understanding of therapeutic techniques and approaches that are required for professional registration purposes.
This course leads to a qualification that entitles you to registration as a Full Member of the British Association of Play Therapists (BAPT) whose register is accredited by the Professional Standards Authority (PSA). You will be taught by experienced practitioners who are practising play therapists and will bring the teaching on the course to life by drawing upon their own clinical experiences and case materials.
All students are required to be in personal therapy for the duration of the course and will complete two specified periods of supervised clinical placements alongside their studies. Key areas that you will study include human development and growth, play therapy theory and skills and young child observations (attachment theory). Integral to the programme is your own personal development which will be supported by personal therapy and experiential process groups.
This intense, rigorous and comprehensive programme is made up of ten modules that encompass the theoretical, practical and experiential learning experience required to become a professional play therapist. All modules are designed to prepare you for child-centred therapeutic practice that is theoretically sound and emotionally aware, complying with the core competencies of a play therapist as specified by the British Association of Play Therapists.
The clinical placements are a central component to the training in this programme. In your first year, the modules will include experiential learning to prepare you for your first work placement, as theoretical understanding will give you a strong grounding for your clinical practice. Your professional development is inter-related with the development of theoretical knowledge, skills and personal awareness. Within the clinical placements you will synthesise, integrate and apply all aspects of your learning into practise.
In the second year, you will build upon your play therapy skills and knowledge from your first year modules. You will have the opportunity to develop and explore your understanding of the theory and practice of play therapy in relation to working with different client groups and more complex needs. You will also synthesise your theoretical knowledge and clinical experience to pursue your research interest in the Research Portfolio module. A clinical issue, your own clinical work or a professional issue may provide the inspiration for this research project. Recent research areas have included: child-centred play therapy and the use of therapeutic boundaries, play therapy and unresolved bereavement issues, play therapy in schools, and play therapy and different cultural beliefs.
Here are examples of the modules:
Graduates work as a registered play therapist for both the private and public sectors.
The MSc Play Therapy is a new collaboration between With Kids (a Scottish charity) and the MSc Art Psychotherapy (International) at Queen Margaret University.
Recognition of Prior Learning: The Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) encompasses the process whereby one can identify, explore and claim credit for previous certificated and/ or experiential learning. Applicants however will not be able to receive accreditation in lieu of any part of the practice placements throughout the course.
International: Where your honours degree has not been studied in English, you will be required to provide evidence of English language competence at no less than IELTS 7.0 and no individual component score below 6.0.
The MSc Play Therapy is a new collaboration between With Kids (a Scottish charity) and the MSc Art Psychotherapy (International) at Queen Margaret University.
The key purpose of the profession of play therapy is defined by British Association of Play Therapists (BAPT): “Play therapy is the dynamic process between child and play therapist in which the child explores at his or her own pace and with his or her own agenda those issues, past and current, conscious and unconscious, that are affecting the child’s life in the present. The child’s inner resources are enabled by the therapeutic alliance to bring about growth and change. Play therapy is child-centred, in which play is the primary medium and speech is the secondary medium.”
The MSc Play Therapy aims to educate the next generation of play therapists to enable them to work safely and therapeutically with complex children and families. Students will gain a thorough understanding of the fundamental inter-relatedness of the child’s physical, social and emotional world, and will develop the skills to work effectively and therapeutically to enhance emotional wellbeing and transform life chances.
Applicants should possess qualities that enable them to undertake study in an appropriate manner and at the appropriate academic level. Thus the students recruited to this course will be committed, diligent, enthusiastic and possess the skills, curiosity and drive to enhance their knowledge base.
The teaching and learning approaches used encourage you to be an independent, participative learner. These approaches will engage you in lectures, problem based learning, workshops, small group discussion, seminars, observation and skills practice. The course team aims to enable students to learn from and with others through supportive peer assessment and feedback, guided by the tutor. There are three play therapy practice placement modules where you will work directly with children and families of increasing complexity. Two modules include clinical observation of a child/ children from infanthood to adolescence. Assessment methods include case study analysis, collaborative presentation, observation analysis and play therapy practice placement portfolio. While as a postgraduate student you will predominantly be working independently, there is a strong structure for academic support. Normally, there are fewer than 20 students in the class ensuring that individuals receive excellent support and benefit from interaction with other students.
The course runs over three years part-time. Students attend the learning centre at With Kids in the east end of Glasgow one day a week over the first two years. Students will also undertake play therapy practice placement, observations and attend clinical supervision individually or in small groups. Students are expected to attend their own personal therapy for the duration of the course, and 100% attendance is expected at all elements of the MSc Play Therapy.
This course is accredited by the British Association of Play Therapists.
Clinical Skills, Process and Practice 1,2 & 3 (10 credits each)/ Developmental, Clinical and Play Therapy Theory 1 & 2 (30 credits each)/ Research Methods (30 credits)/ Clinical Project (60 credits).
Play therapists practice in many environments, including: NHS, social services, primary, secondary, further and special education, charities, private practice. They also work with people of all ages (not just children) living with a wide range of emotional or physical conditions. As of 2015 the overall majority of play therapists in the UK work in health and the voluntary sector; a significant number of them work in schools and nurseries. For further information http://www.bapt.info.
Interview: You can apply between October to May. Places are offered on a first come, first served basis and applicants are advised to apply as early as possible. Interviews are usually held between January to June. The personal statement should include: reasons why the applicant feels drawn to the profession of music therapy; specific musical skills; and details of relevant experience within caring professions. Some applicants will be asked to attend for audition and interview. This will usually include group improvisation with other applicants and an individual audition in which the applicant will: play prepared pieces; improvise on a given theme; and sing a short song of their own choice, if voice is not main study. The interview will assess each applicant’s personal suitability for this profession, ability to reflect, and readiness for the demands that the course entails. For overseas applicants, auditions and interviews may be conducted by Skype.
Criminal Records Check: A satisfactory criminal records check will be required
The theoretical focus of this course encompasses psychodynamic, humanistic, developmental and music-centred approaches to music therapy. Some lectures in theoretical studies are shared with students from the MSc Art Psychotherapy. The training is designed to prepare students for work with vulnerable children, adolescents and adults with a wide range of needs, including learning disabilities and mental health needs.
Teaching includes practical and academic elements with an emphasis on experiential learning and teaching methods, including lectures, seminars and tutorials. Assessments are both practical and written. The following areas are covered:
Placements include work in a variety of settings and are organised by QMU. In Level One, practice placement is with a music therapist, one day per week from October to March. In Level Two, students attend practice placement two days per week in both semesters and work in a more autonomous way. Students are required to meet costs for travel to placement. Personal development is fundamental to therapeutic training and it is a course requirement (and requirement by the Health and Care Professions Council) that students attend regular personal therapy throughout the course, with a minimum of 40 hours attendance. This work is non-assessed and students are required to cover the cost.
Each module requires you to attend classes at QMU and to study independently. Attendance requirements at QMU will depend on the module. In Level One students attend QMU on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. In Level Two, classes are on a Thursday. Practice placement days are additional.
Part of our strength comes from our location. Being based in Edinburgh means that the course has been developed over time in cooperation with key national cultural agencies and other bodies with a strategic interest in the development of arts organisations and festivals. Our location in the ‘festival city’ also allows for strong practical links between the course and the many arts, festival and cultural organisations based in and around Edinburgh, across Scotland and the UK. The course is validated by the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC).
Level 1: Practice Placement 1/ Interdisciplinary Studies 1/ Therapeutic Skills and Interpersonal Learning/ Research Methods (all 30 credits)
Level 2: Practice Placement 2/ Interdisciplinary Studies 2 and Interpersonal Learning (both 30 credits), plus Professional project (60 credits)
On graduation you will be eligible for registration with HCPC, and will be qualified to apply for work in organisations such as the NHS, education, charitable bodies, social services, or in the private sector. Music therapists are employed throughout the health, education and community sectors. Registered music therapists are eligible for full membership of the British Association for Music Therapy.
Most of our graduates have found employment within care homes, schools, the NHS, and charities including Nordoff-Robbins Music Therapy in Scotland. Many others have become successful freelance practitioners.