Child and Play Therapy

Child and Play Therapy

Play is the way that children learn, work, and communicate. More importantly, as Dr. Stuart Brown has said, “Play energizes us and enlivens us. It eases our burdens. It renews our natural sense of optimism and opens us up to new possibilities.” As such, play is one of the most powerful mediums for children to understand and to be understood. Counselors who work with children utilize play in a number of methods and structures to offer a safe place to be have a voice, to process pain, and to experience healing. The Graduate Programs in Counseling at Southern Nazarene University is dedicated to the care of our children and families by offering to our students the chance to learn about the specific theories and techniques of child and play therapy.

In the state of Oklahoma, licensed counselors and therapists specifically interested in becoming a play therapist can pursue further credentials as a Registered Play Therapist (RPT). Play therapists have the opportunity to provide services in diverse settings such as schools, community mental health agencies, hospitals, and private practice.

To become a Registered Play Therapist with the Oklahoma Association for Play Therapy, Southern Nazarene University offers a 60-hour degree program that culminates in a Master of Arts in Counseling Psychology (MACP). Students will take a core of 48 credit hours. Upon completion of the 48-core hours, students will move into a 12-hour elective concentration in Child and Play Therapy. In addition to meeting the academic requirements to become a Registered Play Therapist (RPT) in the state of Oklahoma, students will also meet requirements for Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) and must seek this licensure first upon graduating.

Professional Foundations

PSY 5333 Introduction to Counseling Techniques (3 credit hours)
This course introduces students to the primary concepts related to the process of psychotherapy and the relational ideas that are central to the practice of counseling. Relationship building skills and techniques, including interviewing, reflective listening, and the development of insight and self-understanding are explored. Students are also introduced to basic theoretical concepts, including person-centered and existential theories, to begin conceptualizing counseling cases and to understand the common factors of psychotherapeutic change.

PSY 5313 Lifespan Development (3 credit hours)
Lifespan Development covers theoretical and research approaches to the development of human abilities and behavior throughout the lifespan. The course addresses a variety of theoretical approaches, as well as different developmental tasks across the lifespan. In order to more fully understand the issues and dynamics of counseling, it is imperative to have a clear grasp of the processes involved in human development. Such understandings of development are important because many clients enter counseling with problems that are the result of disrupted or dysfunctional developmental processes.

PSY 5263 Psychopathology (3 credit hours)
This module provides an emphasis on describing, classifying, and differentiating deviant behavior syndromes according to the current, prevailing classification system in the United States (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders). Literature dealing with description, etiology, and prognosis of various disorders will be examined.

PSY 5283 Professional Orientation (3 credit hours)
This course is designed to provide a survey of ethical, legal and professional issues facing counselors and others in human services. Emphasis is given to raising awareness of the complexities of ethical issues in professional practice.

Theoretical Foundations

PSY 6113 Theories & Techniques of Counseling I (3 credit hours)
This course provides an overview of the various psychoanalytic, psychodynamic, and interpersonal approaches to counseling, specifically offering an introduction to the various perspectives on theory and technique. This course also examines the historical development of these approaches, the contemporary impact and understanding of these approaches in the counseling field, and the underlying anthropological and philosophical assumptions of these approaches. Students will have opportunity to observe these various approaches, as well to apply them practically through role-play and theoretically through case conceptualization and treatment planning.

PSY 6123 Theories & Techniques of Counseling II (3 credit hours)
This course provides an overview of the various behavioral, cognitive, and other evidence-based approaches to counseling, specifically offering an introduction to the various perspectives on theory and technique. This course also examines the historical development of these approaches, the contemporary impact and understanding of these approaches in the counseling field, and the underlying anthropological and philosophical assumptions of these approaches. Students will have opportunity to observe these various approaches, as well to apply them practically through role-play and theoretically through case conceptualization and treatment planning.

PSY 6253 Marital & Family Systems Theories (3 credit hours)
This course provides an overview of family structure theories and family systems approaches and applications to counseling. This course also examines the historical development of these approaches, the contemporary impact and understanding of these approaches in the counseling field, and the underlying anthropological and philosophical assumptions of these approaches. Students will have opportunity to observe these various approaches, as well to apply them practically through role-play and theoretically through case conceptualization and treatment planning.

PSY 6133 Research Methods I (3 credit hours)
An overview of the various research methodologies used to study behavior. The focus is on application, especially to counseling research. This course is closely tied to development of the thesis. The prospectus is begun during this module.

Assessment

PSY 6193 Internship I (3 credit hours)
In conjunction with PSY 6493, supervised clinical experience and practice in field-work, as approved by the program. The internship occurs concurrently with course work and follows guidelines set forth in licensure preparation. Internship(s) will total minimum of 450 hours of service.

PSY 6593 Multiculturalism & Diversity in Counseling (3 credit hours)
This course will focus on the diverse demographics with which counselors interact, especially related to race and culture, religion, gender, age, sexuality, disability, and socio-economic status, emphasizing the implications of these factors for counseling. Students will have the opportunity to examine counseling approaches to diverse groups by analyzing various levels of therapeutic intervention, the barriers to multicultural awareness, and ways to incorporate multicultural competencies in organizations. In addition, students will establish a dialogue between theory and practice, between personal reflections and interpersonal exchange, between feelings, actions, and thoughts. Students will be asked to examine personal assumptions regarding internalized presuppositions about other persons and groups of varying demographics. Students will therefore utilize both ethnographic and self-reflective techniques to expand cultural and diversity awareness.

PSY 5153 Psychological & Career Assessment (3 credit hours)
This course provides an introduction and overview of assessment, including the administration, scoring, and interpretation of psychological tests in the areas of personality, intelligence, psychopathology, and occupation/career. This course is designed to help students understand the basics of test construction and measurement, as well as to guide students in the selection and utilization of appropriate assessment measures for diagnosis, conceptualization, and development of treatment plans. In addition, students will examine theories of career development, principles for effective education/career planning, and how to offer information and resources to clients based on assessment results. Students will learn how to integrate assessment results into career and general counseling.

PSY 5233 Alcohol & Drug Addiction & Assessment (3 credit hours)
This course will focus on methods for assessing, diagnosing, and treating alcohol and drug-related problems in counseling settings. The course offers strategies for screening clients for substance-related issues, taking a detailed alcohol/drug history, working with ambivalence and increasing motivation to change addiction behaviors, examining family dynamics that contribute to addiction, treatment planning, and counseling interventions. The course will focus on assessing and treating a full range of substance-related and addiction problems, such as individuals with beginning substance use, individuals that do not acknowledge or understand more serious problems, more pervasive or diagnosed substance related addictions, and family members of those with substance-related problems.

Contextual Applications

PSY 6493 Internship II (3 credit hours)
In conjunction with PSY 6193, supervised clinical experience and practice in field-work, as approved by the program. The internship occurs concurrently with course work and follows guidelines set forth in licensure preparation. Internship(s) will total minimum of 450 hours of service.

PSY 6213 Group Psychotherapy Techniques (3 credit hours)
This is an applied psychotherapy lab course that engages the student in both the theoretical foundations for group psychotherapy and in the actual experience of facilitating a psychotherapy group. Students will review literature regarding appropriate referrals to this modality of treatment as well as learning techniques to enhance the efficacy of group therapies. Much of this course will involve an experiential learning model as students participate in group process. There will also be an exploration of the use of groups within the Christian community.

PSY 6303 Counseling Children and Adolescents (3 credit hours)
This advanced course will serve as an overview course to introduce students to some of the basic issues that arise when providing services to children and adolescents. We will address issues that arise in working with youth including child maltreatment, divorce, trauma, and legal/ethical issues. Information pertaining to the treatment of childhood disorders based upon empirical evidence (emphasizing behavioral strategies) will be discussed. Special focus will be given to Parent-Child Interaction Therapy (PCIT) and Coping Cat (anxiety treatment manual). Adherence to the scientist-practitioner model and the relative contributions of research to clinical practice will be emphasized throughout the course.

PSY 6293 Philosophy of Interpersonal Relationships (3 credit hours)
This course begins by making the case that all modern psychotherapeutic discourse is moral discourse and therefore contains presuppositions about the human good life. The course then examines the presuppositions of the Christian tradition regarding human nature, the good life, and the practices that shape human transformation. Students are then asked to examine their own conceptions of human nature and the good life and the relationship of these conceptions to their personal narratives, religions traditions, and cultural and historical contexts.

Child and Play Therapy

PSY 5113 Child & Adolescent Psychopathology & Assessment (3 credit hr)
This course provides an overview of psychopathology commonly seen in children and adolescents. Although not every disorder that may adversely influence child functioning will be discussed in detail, this course will provide students with resources to help them investigate other disorders in more depth. A developmental perspective will be taken during the exploration of these topics as well as an emphasis on critically evaluating the relevant current research. Related topics including risk factors, resilience, and current controversies in child diagnosis will be discussed. Students will also receive an overview of child and adolescent assessment measures. The importance of assessing different domains, environments and multiple reporters will be emphasized. Students will practice conducting a basic developmental interview with a parent and child, and be exposed to a variety of behavior rating scales. Information on synthesizing assessment data and presenting results will be covered.

PSY 6313 Introduction to Play Therapy (3 credit hours)
This module provides an overview of effective strategies for working with children and adolescents. Students will gain instruction in the history, theories, modalities, techniques, and application of play therapy with children and adolescents. Additional topics will include the impact of culture, ethics, and spirituality when delivering developmentally appropriate counseling services for children and adolescents.

PSY 6323 Specialized Techniques in Play Therapy (3 credit hours)
This course will build on the basic principles of play therapy. Treatment plan development based on assessment from PSY 5323 and PSY 5113 will incorporate play therapy techniques in relationship to theoretical models being utilized. Specific play therapy techniques such as but not limited to art, sand tray, water play, mutual storytelling, puppetry, board games, and role plays will be presented in an experiential learning environment. Each technique will be discussed and practiced in relationship to each theoretical modality. Therapeutic modalities will be paired with specific issues and trauma. Therapeutic modalities will include CBT, Adlerian, Gestalt, Child-Centered, Ecosystemic, and Prescriptive. Students will initiate use of library research to develop hypotheses for empirical research.

PSY 6363 Advanced Clinical Play Therapy (3 credit hours)
This course will incorporate advanced skills and principles. Theoretical foundations will be explored and practiced in depth. Family involvement will be incorporated and include both family systems and filial therapy. Documentation of therapeutic progress, evidence based practice skills, and empirically validated tools and measurements will be utilized. Report writing, documentation, court testimony and validation of play therapy will be included.

The faculty and administration in the Graduate Programs in Counseling take the process of training counselors very seriously. The application process is therefore very thorough and critical to both our admissions and educational process. We greatly value our application process that accepts only those whom we believe will make the best counselors. We do not require the GRE because we do not want to simply quantify potential applicants. Our desire is for our admissions process to allow us to get to know each applicant as a person in order to see if that person will be a good fit for our program, and that our program will be the right program for the applicant. Also, we firmly believe that our program is challenging, demands excellence from our students, and more than adequately prepares all of our students for the variety of situations faced as a counselor. We are looking for future students who can excel in the classroom, be flexible in thought, and have the ability to connect with and engage others from various backgrounds and circumstances. We accelerate our program because we want our students to get the best training possible, while also being able to start their career as soon as possible.

 You must meet the following requirements to apply to our program:

  • Hold a baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited college or university
  • Taken at least 18 hours of psychology related undergraduate coursework (General or Introduction to Psychology and Statistics are required)
  • GPA of 3.0 or higher is considered competitive

International Students: Please click here to find out more about the application requirements. http://snu.edu/international-admissions

If you need assistance with a learning, physical, or psychological disability that may affect your application process, we encourage you to contact the Academic Center for Excellence, Disability Services at (405) 717-6272 (M-F 8:00-5:00). All students with disabilities are encouraged to seek assistance from ACE (LRC 325).

Click here to view the complete admissions process.

Application Deadlines

Bethany: Fall Semester (Early Admissions – March 1st; Regular Admissions – June 1st)
Bethany: Spring Semester (October 15th)
Tulsa: Fall Semester (August 15th)

Program Cost

Program Length (MACP/MSCP):
60 Credit Hours

Tuition: $620/Credit Hour

Application Fee: $150

Students will automatically opt into textbook rentals through the Tree of Life bookstore. If desired, students have the option to choose a different plan offered through Tree of Life or opt out of all Tree of Life textbook plans and order books elsewhere.

*Effective January 1, 2019 – June 30, 2019

NOTE:  Tuition and any program fees are due at the Organizational Meeting. This includes the first installment, if you are on a payment plan.

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