Graduate Certificate of Therapeutic Child Play

Postgraduate coursework

Get an introduction to the therapeutic powers of play while building specialised skills that allow you to work more effectively with children.

Domestic International

Domestic student information

Learn from academics who are pioneers in the field

Pathway to the accredited masters course in play therapy

Flexible study on our premium online learning platform

Key facts


0.5 years full-time


There may be on campus intensives offered.


Current Deakin Students

To access your official course details for the year you started your degree, please visit the handbook

Course overview

With a Graduate Certificate of Therapeutic Child Play, you can get an introduction to the therapeutic powers of play while building specialised skills that allow you to work more effectively with children.

Love working with children and want a deeper understanding of the way they think, behave and feel?

The Graduate Certificate of Therapeutic Child Play is designed for those working with children on a regular basis, from health professionals to educators. It introduces you to the therapeutic powers of play and how these powers may be applied to your current work with children. Whether you work with children in an educational, medical or allied health profession, you will benefit greatly from exploring the important role of play in the lives of children.

Within this program you will examine child development from many different angles, with a particular focus on psychosocial, emotional and behavioural development. You will also explore childhood neuroscience and psychopathology, including developmental trauma, and neurodevelopmental differences including autism. Learn about evidence-based methods of implementing play into your work with children and enrich your study experience with case studies and class discussions around the latest research in this growing field.

The course can be used as a pathway into the Graduate Diploma of Therapeutic Child Play and Master of Child Play Therapy and includes two core units from these courses:

  • Foundations of Play Therapy
  • Child Attachment Environment and Trauma

And a choice of 4 electives

  • Assessment and Measurement in Play Abilities
  • Childhood Developmental Neuroscience and Psychopathology
  • Therapeutic Use of Self
  • Therapeutic Medical play

A highlight of the course is being able to learn from academic staff who are not just involved in the field but leading the way through the work and research they contribute. We have staff involved with key Australian and International Play Therapy organisations such as the International Play Therapy Study Group (IPTSG) and the International Consortium of Play Therapy Associations and their insights, case studies and experiences are filtered into the course.

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Course information

Award granted
Graduate Certificate of Therapeutic Child Play

2024 course information

Deakin code
Postgraduate (Graduate Certificate and Graduate Diploma)
Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF) recognition

The award conferred upon completion is recognised in the Australian Qualifications Framework at Level 8

Course structure

To complete the Graduate Certificate of Therapeutic Child Play students must attain 4 credit points. Two units are core and students can choose from a list of four elective units.

All commencing Faculty of Health Undergraduate and Postgraduate course work students are required to complete DAI001 Academic Integrity Module (0-credit-point compulsory unit) in their first trimester of study.

Core units

Trimester 1

  • Academic Integrity Module (0 credit points)
  • Foundations of Play Therapy
  • Child Attachment Environment and Trauma
  • Elective units

    Select two of:

  • Therapeutic Use of Self
  • Therapeutic Assessment of Play
  • Childhood Developmental Neuroscience and Psychopathology
  • Therapeutic Medical Play
  • Intakes by location

    The availability of a course varies across locations and intakes. This means that a course offered in Trimester 1 may not be offered in the same location for Trimester 2 or 3. Check each intake for up-to-date information on when and where you can commence your studies.

    Trimester 1 - March

    • Start date: March
    • Available at:
      • Online

    Additional course information

    Course duration

    Course duration may be affected by delays in completing course requirements, such as accessing or completing work placements.

    Mandatory student checks

    Mandatory student checks (i.e., Police Record Check and Working with Children Check) are not required for students undertaking the Graduate Certificate of Therapeutic Child Play. Students who progress to undertake the Graduate Diploma of Therapeutic Child Play or the Master of Child Play Therapy will be required to undertake checks prior to commencing any placement units in accordance with the Department of Human Services policy.


    As a student undertaking an online course in the Faculty of Health you will be expected to participate in a range of learning activities each week. You will spend 11-13 hours per unit (i.e., per 1-credit point unit) each week engaging in a combination of self-paced study, seminars, online interactions and assessment tasks during the trimester teaching period. In some instances, assessment tasks may also take place outside of the trimester teaching periods. All units are designed to be self-paced so that you can work through the material at a time that suits. You can refer to the individual unit details in the course structure for more information on each unit.

    Work experience

    There are no work experience or placement requirements for students undertaking the Graduate Certificate of Therapeutic Play. Students who progress to undertake the Graduate Diploma of Therapeutic Play or the Master of Child Play Therapy must undertake placement units as part of these degrees.

    Entry requirements

    Selection is based on a holistic consideration of your academic merit, work experience, likelihood of success, availability of places, participation requirements, regulatory requirements, and individual circumstances. You will need to meet the minimum academic and English language proficiency requirements to be considered for selection, but this does not guarantee admission.

    Academic requirements

    To be considered for admission to this degree you will need to meet at least one of the following criteria:

    • completion of a bachelor degree or higher
    • two years' relevant work experience (or part-time equivalent)

    English language proficiency requirements

    To meet the English language proficiency requirements of this course, you will need to demonstrate at least one of the following:

    Admissions information

    Learn more about Deakin courses and how we compare to other universities when it comes to the quality of our teaching and learning.

    Not sure if you can get into Deakin postgraduate study? Postgraduate study doesn’t have to be a balancing act; we provide flexible course entry and exit options based on your desired career outcomes and the time you are able to commit to your study.

    Recognition of prior learning

    Students may be eligible to apply for credit for this course.

    Pathways for credit are available for this course. International students can apply for packaged offers for some of these pathways.

    Fees and scholarships

    Fee information

    Estimated tuition fee - full-fee paying place

    The available fee places for this course are detailed above. Not all courses at Deakin have Commonwealth supported places available.

    The 'Estimated tuition fee' is provided as a guide only based on a typical enrolment of students completing this course within the same year as they started. The cost will vary depending on the units you choose, your study load, the length of your course and any approved Recognition of prior learning.

    One year full-time study load is typically represented by four credit points of study for Graduate Certificates. Each unit you enrol in has a credit point value. The 'Estimated tuition fee' is calculated by adding together four credit points of a typical combination of units for your course.

    You can find the credit point value of each unit under the Unit Description by searching for the unit in the handbook.

    Learn more about fees and available payment options.

    FEE-HELP calculator

    What is FEE-HELP?

    FEE-HELP loans cover up to 100% of tuition fees for eligible students. By taking out a FEE-HELP loan, the government pays your tuition fees directly to Deakin, and the balance is repaid from your employment income - but only once you're earning over $51,550.

    Please note: fees shown by the calculator are indicative only and based on 2024 rates. Actual fees may vary. We advise confirming fees with Prospective Student Enquiries prior to enrolment.

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    • $* is the estimated full cost for a Graduate Certificate of Therapeutic Child Play (4 credit points), based on the 2024 fees.
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    Deakin University (Deakin):

    • gives no warranty and accepts no responsibility for the currency, accuracy or the completeness of the information provided;
    • advises users that no reliance should be placed upon on the information provided, and;
    • instructs users that they should confirm the actual course fee with Prospective Student Enquiries prior to enrolment.

    This tool provides indicative information about the fees that will be payable in respect of courses and subjects offered to prospective students domiciled in Australia during the periods indicated.

    Please note that the fees shown by the calculator are indicative only and actual fees may vary. Users are advised to confirm the actual course fee with Prospective Student Enquiries prior to enrolment.

    The estimated course fee is based on the tuition fee costs applicable to a domestic full time student commencing the course in Trimester 1 and studying full time for the duration of the course but:

    • does not include non-tuition costs that may apply, such as Student Services and Amenities Fees (SSAF);
    • does not take into account any scholarships or bursaries awarded to the student (including the 10% Deakin alumni discount);
    • assumes the maximum number of units that need to be successfully completed actual number completed may be reduced if recognition of prior learning is granted;
    • assumes that no exceptional, or non-typical, circumstances apply to the proposed course of study;
    • assumes that the options that the user selects are appropriate for the course of study that they intend to undertake;
    • where fees are estimated for future years those fee will be subject to annual increases in accordance with increases in the cost of course delivery.

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    Postgraduate bursary

    If you’re a Deakin alumnus commencing a postgraduate award course, you may be eligible to receive a 10% reduction per unit on your enrolment fees.

    Learn more about the 10% Deakin alumni discount

    Apply now

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    Applications for Trimester 1, 2025 open in August.

    In the meantime, why not speak to our student advisers about your course and career options? It’s the best way for future students like you to get expert advice on preparing your application.

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    For more information on the application process and closing dates, see the How to apply webpage. If you're still having problems, please contact us for assistance.

    Entry pathways

    This course provides a pathway to other postgraduate coursework programs.

    Contact information

    Our friendly advisers are available to speak to you one-on-one about your study options, support services and how we can help you further your career.


    Career outcomes

    The Graduate Certificate of Therapeutic Child Play is particularly valuable for those already working closely with children, including teachers, counsellors, occupational therapists, nurses, social workers, speech pathologists and mental health professionals. The course also provides significant benefits for parents and caregivers who want to be better equipped for the complex and everyday challenges of children’s development.

    The skills you learn will allow you to perform your current role more effectively, and will also open the door to more advanced roles within your profession.

    If you are aspiring to become a Registered Play Therapist, you can continue your studies into the Master of Child Play Therapy upon successful completion of the graduate certificate. With registration, you can start working independently as a play therapist in:

    • private practice
    • schools
    • hospitals
    • charitable organisations
    • government departments.

    Professional recognition

    Professional recognition is available to students who progress their studies through to successful completion of the Master of Child Play Therapy. Graduates of the masters course will be eligible to apply for registration as a Play Therapist with the Australasia Pacific Play Therapy Association (APPTA).

    Please note that the Graduate Certificate of Therapeutic Child Play does not equip you as a Play Therapist. Students who complete the Certificate may apply the knowledge and skills learned to their primary discipline and/or current work with children and families. Students seeking training and registration as a Play Therapist should complete the Master of Child Play Therapy.

    Note: All information regarding professional recognition is accurate at the date of publication. Enquiries regarding accreditation and professional membership should be directed to the School of Health and Social Development in order to ascertain the current status of accreditation at any future point in time beyond publication. Representations about accreditation apply only to the course, and the relevant professional body retains discretion as to who they admit as members of their association. Deakin University cannot exercise any control over membership of an external body.

    Course learning outcomes

    Deakin's graduate learning outcomes describe the knowledge and capabilities graduates can demonstrate at the completion of their course. These outcomes mean that regardless of the Deakin course you undertake, you can rest assured your degree will teach you the skills and professional attributes that employers value. They'll set you up to learn and work effectively in the future.

    Graduate Learning Outcomes

    Course Learning Outcomes

    Discipline-specific knowledge and capabilities

    Apply specialised theory and practical knowledge associated with child development, measurement of play ability and the impact of life events such as trauma on children’s development in the context of therapeutic child play.


    Demonstrate the verbal, written and interpersonal communication skills to work with children and their carers appropriate to therapeutic child play to a variety of audiences.

    Digital literacy

    Use appropriate technologies to find, use and disseminate discipline-specific information to a variety of audiences

    Critical thinking

    Critically evaluate and synthesise concepts and theories in therapeutic child play.

    Problem solving

    Apply knowledge and skills to measure and assess children to determine the need for therapeutic intervention and refer to a Child Play Therapist or other Practitioner to solve a range of problems.


    Demonstrate personal autonomy and professional judgement in the field of therapeutic child play showing responsibility and accountability, in conjunction with reflective and ethical practice.


    Establish and maintain collaborative professional relationships, demonstrating responsibility and accountability to the child, family and carers.

    Global citizenship

    Demonstrate professional and ethical practice and respect for diverse social, cultural and environmental contexts that may impact children and families.