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The idea for the formation of an international organization to advocate for Play Therapy and promote standards for training and practice grew out of discussions with participants of the International Play Therapy Study Group. The study group was founded by Dr. Charles Schaefer, the founder of the Association for Play Therapy in the United States.


Charlie's dream was to enhance the field of Play Therapy internationally by bringing together play therapists with diverse views, experiences, and backgrounds from all over the world. The annual week-long meetings, held mostly in the UK, stimulated innovative ideas and created relationships that led to multiple cross-cultural collaborations. These collaborations resulted in numerous projects that advanced the field of Play Therapy internationally; and most importantly, resulted in respect and appreciation for diverse perspectives on Play Therapy practice. 


Out of study group discussions, the idea for IC-PTA began to take form in earnest about 10 years ago when two play therapists from Canada and Italy began a more formal conversation. Since that time, a core group of individuals met at the annual study group to discuss and formulate a plan for making this dream a reality. 


IC-PTA was established legally in Switzerland in February 2022. The Founding Members --- all of whom were members of non-profit play therapy associations --- consisted of nine individuals from seven countries (Australia, Canada, Italy, Japan, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and the United States).


Founding members invited the following six national, non-profit associations to participate as the Inaugural Board of Directors: APPTA (Australia), APT (USA), APTI (Italy), BAPT (UK), CAPT (Canada), and JAPT (Japan). The Inaugural Board of Directors was officially installed in October 2022 and is made up of representatives from each of the six associations. 


Overarching objectives of IC-PTA include:

  • Value and promote the integrity and quality of Play Therapy and Therapeutic Play practice

  • Provide support for developing Play Therapy associations internationally

  • Promote cooperation among national Play Therapy associations in order to strengthen and develop the field of Play Therapy worldwide 

  • Disseminate information on Play Therapy training and practice internationally, with a goal to learn from each other's best practices and contribute to the development of culturally-responsive, quality Play Therapy practices

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