According to Albert Einstein, Play is the highest form of research and is an important element of the early development of a child. A growing number of well-known mental health professionals have concluded in past years that play is as important to human happiness and well-being as love and work (Schaefer, 1993). Play therapy is a process where a relationship between the therapist and child is established by using the medium of play. Therapists use play therapy to help children express their concerns when they are unable to find the words to express their feelings. During play therapy, toys are the vocabulary of the infant and play is the language of the child. Through these sessions, children are encouraged to express emotions and communicate, bringing repressed issues to the fore and thereby, resolving them, through tools such as games, toys, art and craft supplies, and other tools used while playing. Play therapy helps resolve behavioral issues in children (and sometimes, adults) such as ADHD, autism, academic and social development, in many institutes of mental health, agencies, and hospitals. The supportive and trusting relationship that develops during play therapy sessions between therapist and child provides a safe emotional journey required for healing.
Play therapists need to be extremely qualified and experienced to do their jobs, as it requires them to know what the child needs and address these needs. Therefore, in-depth knowledge about child development, therapy, and children’s mental health is essential. Therapists can either be Registered Play Therapist-Supervisors (RPT-S), School Based-Registered Play Therapists (SB-RPT), or Registered Play Therapists (RPT).
Along with their already-existing qualifications, licensees are expected to complete New York play therapists CE courses to renew their license that expires every 3 years. The mandated hours (by the concerned bodies such as the New York State Education Department and New York State Office of Mental Health) can be completed over a 3-year registration period, either online or in-person, through self-study and academic coursework (36 hours split between 12 hours of self-study and 24 hours of coursework). Activities and accredited courses provided by approved providers count towards meeting the New York Play therapists CE requirements. Several institutes in the city offer various programs, seminars, conferences, teaching opportunities and the like to help licensees complete their New York play therapist CE requirements.