George Fox University’s play therapy center gets national approval

October 26th, 2009

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NEWBERG, Ore. – George Fox University’s Northwest Center for Play Therapy Studies earned designation as an Approved Center of Play Therapy Education by the national Association of Play Therapy this month.

Play therapy is a form of mental health counseling or psychotherapy used by licensed mental health professionals to better communicate with and help clients achieve optimal mental health. It is particularly effective with children because, just as adults use words to communicate ideas and feelings, children use play.

The APT recently launched its approved center program to acknowledge those universities generating substantial play therapy research, publications, graduate instruction, supervised clinical experiences and other programs.

The Northwest Association of Play Therapy was founded in 2003 by its director, Daniel Sweeney, professor of counseling at George Fox University. Sweeney is also the immediate past APT president. It is the only university-based center focused on the study and promotion of play therapy in the Northwest.

During its initial three-year approval period, the Northwest Center for Play Therapy Studies will offer play therapy graduate instruction and generate articles for various professional publications. These programs may be applied to satisfy state licensing requirements and to earn the Registered Play Therapist (RPT) and Supervisor (RPT-S) credentials conferred by APT.

“Because the rapidly increasing use of play therapy is also boosting demand for more university play therapy programs, APT applauds George Fox University for approving the establishment of the center,” said Bill Burns, executive director of the Association of Play Therapy. “We are confident that, under Dr. Sweeney’s continued leadership, it will significantly advance our growing field and serve those who counsel clients, particularly children, in schools, public agencies, private practices and other venues.”

APT, a national professional society, estimates that play therapy is routinely utilized by thousands of licensed psychologists, social workers, counselors, and marriage and family therapists within and outside of the United States. Noting membership has doubled during the last decade, Burns said nearly 20 percent of accredited universities now offer some combination of play therapy graduate instruction and supervised play therapy experiences.

George Fox University is ranked by Forbes as one of the top 100 colleges in the country and highest among Christian colleges. George Fox is the only Christian university in the Pacific Northwest classified by U.S. News & World Report as a national university. More than 3,300 students attend classes on the university’s campus in Newberg, Ore., and at teaching centers in Portland, Salem, and Redmond, Ore., and Boise, Idaho. George Fox offers bachelor’s degrees in more than 40 majors, degree-completion programs for working adults, five seminary degrees, and 12 master’s and doctoral degrees.


Daniel Sweeney
Northwest Center for Play Therapy Studies

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