The Greenane Centre, Greenane. Tipperary Town, E34 CX13

Specialist Diploma in Non-Directive Play Therapy

Delivered via Blended Learning

This Course is Full - Express Interest for 2025

Non-Directive Play Therapy

Therapeutic intervention with children is a specialised area of practice. In ensuring principles of best practices when working with this client group therapists need to possess the appropriate knowledge, skills and competencies in order to ensure they are working ethically, professionally and effectively with this population group.

Specialist Diploma In Non-Directive Play Therapy

Our Specialist Diploma in Non-Directive Play Therapy addresses and incorporates the core competencies for working therapeutically with children as set out in IACP’s “Standards for Working with Under 18’s” document. This programme has been designed specifically for qualified and in-training Counsellors, Psychotherapists, Psychologists and Art Therapists who wish to expand their clinical practice to work therapeutically with children.
Facilitated by a team of highly experienced therapists who have expertise in Play Therapy, Art Therapy, Sand Play Therapy and Child Psychotherapy.

This programme will be delivered through a Blended Learning format.

IACP CPD Approved and Recognised.

Learning Objectives

Participants will gain in-depth theoretical knowledge along with the clinical skills required to work therapeutically with children aged 4 -12 years. Participants will not only learn a range of therapeutic play theories, approaches, and techniques, but also how to conceptualise the play therapy process from an integrative perspective. A strong emphasis will be placed on developing participants skills and competencies in therapeutic play skills, expanding participants understanding of child development and neurobiology, working in partnership with parents and the therapeutic use of self. Participants learning and skill development will be further enhanced through the use of a fully equipped play therapy unit.

Learning Outcomes

Participants who complete this diploma will:

  • Gain an in-depth theoretical knowledge of child development and child psychology theories.
  • Acquire a sound understanding of the principles underlying play therapy and the appropriate use of techniques.
  • Demonstrate a competent understanding of attachment and the implications for therapeutic work with children.
  • Become proficient in setting therapeutic boundaries, tracking progress, and documenting emerging play themes.
  • Develop the necessary skills to undertake parental intake sessions, therapeutic needs assessments, and parental reviews.
  • Understand and apply the fundamental principals involved in organising and maintaining a child centred therapeutic play space from an integrative non directive stance.

Programme Modules & Schedule

Friday 22nd March 2024.

10am – 4pm at The Greenane Centre, E34 CX13

Facilitator: Marian Connell

  • Introduction to Programme
  • Assessment Guidelines
  • Connecting with your Playful Self
  • Experiential and Creative Expression
  • Group Process

Saturday 6th April 2024.

10am – 4:30pm on Zoom

Facilitator: Marian Connell

  • History and Development of Play Therapy
  • Defining Play Therapy
  • Conceptualising Play Therapy                                   
  • Principals of Play Therapy

Saturday 11th May 2024,
Sunday 12th May 2024,
Saturday 25th May 2024.

10am – 4:30pm on Zoom.

Facilitator: Elaine Fagan

  • Child Development: Physical, Intellectual, Linguistic, Emotional & Social
  • Child Development Theories
  • Normative Variations Across the Spectrum of Child Development
  • Atypical Child Development
  • Social, Environmental and Cultural Factors Influencing Child Development
  • Nature/ Nurture Debate

Friday 28th June 2024,
Saturday 29th June 2024,
Sunday 30th June 2024,

10am – 4:30pm on Zoom.

Facilitator: Marian Connell

  • Attachment Theory
  • Stages of Attachment
  • Attachment Styles
  • Internal Working Model
  • Neuroscience and Attachment
  • Implications of Attachments Style in Therapeutic Process
  • Role of Play in Facilitating Positive Attachments
  • Earned Secure Attachment

Friday 12th July 2024 – Zoom,
Saturday 13th July 2024 – Zoom,
Saturday 20th July 2024 – The Greenane Centre.

10am – 4:30pm.

Facilitator: Marian Connell

  • Parenting Theories
  • Parenting Approaches and Styles
  • Parents as Partners in the Childs Therapeutic Process
  • Parental Intake Sessions and Contracting
  • Conducting Parental Reviews
  • PACE Parenting
  • Framework for Parental Support Sessions

Saturday 24th August 2024,
Sunday 25th August 2024.

10am – 4:30pm at The Greenane Centre, E34 CX13.

Facilitator: Marian Connell

  • Therapeutic Powers of Play
  • The Therapeutic Play Continuum
  • Neurobiology of Play
  • Directive / Non Directive Play Therapy

Saturday 21st September 2024,
Sunday 22nd September 2024.

10am – 4:30pm on Zoom.

Facilitator: Elaine Fagan.

  • Neurosequential Model
  • Recognizing Play Themes
  • Deconstructing Play Narratives and Reflecting Themes
  • Theme Analysis
  • Tracking and Documenting Therapeutic Progress         

Saturday 26th October 2024.

10am – 4:30pm on Zoom.

Facilitator: Aideen Flynn

  • Therapeutic Limit Setting and Boundaries
  • Touch in The Therapy Room
  • Transference and Counter-transference                       

Saturday 16th November 2024,
Sunday 17th November 2024.

10am – 4:30pm on Zoom.

Facilitator: Marian Connell

  • Polyvagal Theory
  • Window Of Tolerance
  • Regulation and Co- Regulation
  • Regulation Tools and Strategies
  • Therapeutic Use of SELF

Saturday 14th December 2024,
Sunday 15th December 2024.

10am – 4:30pm at The Greenane Centre, E34 CX13.

Facilitator: Aideen Flynn

  • Value of Sensory Play
  • Sensory Play Materials and Accessories
  • Exploring and Investigating with the Senses
  • Sensory Processing

Saturday 18th January 2025,
Sunday 19th January 2025.

10am – 4:30pm at The Greenane Centre, E34 CX13.

Facilitator: Elaine Fagan

  • History and Development of Sand Play Therapy
  • Principles of Sand Play Therapy
  • Sand Play Equipment and Miniatures
  • Sand Play Process & Stages
  • Free and Protected Space
  • Symbolic Expression
  • Identifying, Tracking and Documenting Themes

Saturday 22nd February 2025,
Sunday 23rd February 2025.

10am – 4:30pm at The Greenane Centre, E34 CX15.

Facilitator: Marian Connell

  • Art as a Therapeutic Modality
  • Core principles of Therapeutic Art 
  • Resources and Materials
  • Planning and Implementing Therapeutic Art Sessions
  • Exploring Patterns and Themes

Saturday 29th March 2025.

10am – 4:30pm at The Greenane Centre, E34 CX13.

Facilitator: Aideen Flynn

  • Termination Planning
  • Directive Play Activities for Termination
  • Transference in Play Therapy Termination

Friday 25th April 2025.

10am – 3pm at The Greenane Centre, E34 CX13.

Facilitator: Liz Quish

  • Group Process
  • Therapeutic Use of Self


Participants are expected to attend 2 tutorials on Zoom.

Wednesday 24th July 2024.

7:30pm – 9:30 on Zoom.

Facilitator: Liz Quish

Wednesday 15th January 2025.

7:30pm – 9:30 on Zoom.

Facilitator: Liz Quish

Programme Structure

Entry Requirement:

This CPD Diploma is open to qualified and in-training counsellors, psychotherapists, psychologists and art therapists who wish to expand their skill set to work therapeutically with children aged 4 – 12 years.

Clinical Practice:

  • 40 hours of one to one client work with children (must source own clinical practice hours).
  • 8 Supervision sessions with Appointed Supervisor (Supervision fee not included in course fee).

Teaching Methods:

This Programme will be delivered through a blended learning format with 15 days online and 11 days facilitated through class-based learning at The Greenane Centre.


  • 2 Reflective Learning Journals – 1500 words each
  • Book Review – 1500 words
  • Case study – 3000 words
  • Supervisors Report

Terms & Conditions:

Please read our Terms and Conditions document carefully. You will be required to indicate your agreement on the programme application form.

Programme Fees

Full Fee: €2,850

  • €650 due on registration
  • €550 monthly for  the following 4 months, automatically debited to payment card.