About Us

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.”

More simply put, child play therapy is a way of being with the child that honors their unique developmental level and looks for ways of helping in the “language” of the child – play.  Licensed mental health professionals therapeutically use play to help their clients, most often children ages three to 12 years, to better express themselves and resolve their problems. Play Therapy works best when a safe relationship is created between the therapist and client, one in which the latter may freely and naturally express both what pleases and bothers them.

Mental health agencies, schools, hospitals, and private practitioners have utilized Play Therapy as a primary intervention or as supportive therapy for:

  • Behavioral problems, such as anger management, grief and loss, divorce and abandonment, and crisis and trauma.
  • Behavioral disorders, such as anxiety, depression, attention deficit hyperactivity (ADHD), autism or pervasive developmental, academic and social developmental, physical and learning disabilities, and conduct disorders

Research suggests Play Therapy is an effective mental health approach, regardless of age, gender, or the nature of the problem, and works best when a parent, family member, or caretaker is actively involved in the treatment process.

About VAPT

The Virginia Association for Play Therapy (VAPT) is a branch of the national Association for Play Therapy. VAPT was established in 1996 with 20 signatures from advocates of play therapy from around the state. We have grown to over 200 member and eleven chapters. The mission of the Virginia Association for Play Therapy and the Association for Play Therapy is to promote the value of play, play therapy, and credentialed play therapists. To satisfy this mission, the VAPT will advance the psychosocial development and mental health of all people by sponsoring and supporting those programs, services, and related activities that promote:

  • 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.

The purpose of the VAPT is to provide a forum for the discussion of play therapy ideas and concerns. The objectives of the VAPT are to:

  • Seek to advance the discipline of play therapy;
  • Conduct and foster programs of education in the field of play therapy and provide on-going professional development to its members;
  • Promote sound play therapy practices in the interest of society and the individual;
  • Advance high standards of professional practice and conduct by conducting educational and professional meetings and conferences;
  • Inform and educate the general public and the mental health community about the theory and practice of play therapy;
  • Establish contacts with various organizations for support and educational pursuits; and
  • Advocate for the rights of children, their families, and significant others.