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sad HomeEvery day therapists, counsellors, social workers and teachers deal with traumatised children. Some of these children are psychologically and emotionally damaged and their normal functioning is seriously hampered. Play therapy uses a variety of techniques that provide an opportunity for the child to communicate emotions, feelings, experiences and behaviour. Therapists use the responses in play to intervene and to heal. It can be said that Play Therapy is the systematic use of Gestalt philosophy to establish an interpersonal process wherein play therapists use the therapeutic powers of play to help clients prevent or resolve psychosocial challenges and achieve optimal growth and development. A working definition might be a form of counselling that therapeutically engages the power of play to communicate with and help people, especially children, to engender optimal integration and individualization.

Play Therapy is often used as a tool of assessment. A play therapist facilitates a client playing with toys (play-houses, pets, dolls, etc.) to determine the cause of the disturbed behaviour or unspoken need. The objects and patterns of play, as well as the willingness to interact with the therapist, can be used to understand the underlying meanings for needs, wishes and behaviour both inside and outside the session.

According to the psychodynamic characteristic of human behaviour children will engage in play behaviour in order to work through their interior obstructions and anxieties without realizing it. In this way, play therapy can be used as an awareness creating mechanism. From a developmental point of view, play has been determined to be an essential component of healthy child development. Play has been directly linked to cognitive development. Children play for a reason. It can be for e.g. to release tension or to be the controller.


drhannieschoeman e1307096350435 HomeDr. Hannie Schoeman, the founder of the Centre for Play Therapy and Training, has actively been involved in play therapy training for 25 years. She trained intensively in the USA and Canada, specializing in play therapy. Initially Dr. Schoeman trained as play therapist at the Violet Oaklander Institute, Santa Barbara, USA. She also participated in international conferences and workshops in the USA, Sweden, Canada, UK and the RSA. She networks internationally with Gestalt and play therapist experts. She is a former Director of FAMSA (Pretoria), senior lecturer in Social Work (Play Therapy) and Play Therapy Manager at the University of Pretoria. She is at present the Director of the Centre for Play Therapy and Training, Gansbaai and also a senior lecturer at the Institute for Child, Youth and Family Studies at the North West University. Dr. Schoeman is a co-author of the book “Entering the Childs World – A Play Therapy Approach” and presented papers at national and international academic events.

She is a member of the South African Council of Social Service Professions.
Dr. Hannie was the promoter for 49 MA candidates, 11 doctoral candidates in the field of Play Therapy. She is at present in process with 1 MA candidate and 3 doctoral candidates.

The Centre for Play Therapy and Training is situated on the Uylenvlei Retreat, approximately 15 km from Gansbaai, in a picturesque valley, very quiet and peaceful.


psyche1 HomeLearning takes place within the Gestalt perspective. The effectiveness of the training programmes is underlined in the approach that the whole field are involved. The emphasis during these training courses is on an experimental and practical level.

Learning objectives are based on safe and effective practice with children and in the framework of The Children´s Act 38 of 2005, the constitution of the Republic of South Africa, 1996, The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCCRS) and the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child (ACRWC).

  • The emphasis is upon experiental work underpinned by theory. Students work in two´s during the excersises.
  • The environment is therapeutically safe to participants being able to deal with their personal psychological issues that rise in the learning. They make contact with their inner-child.
  • Practical assistance in helping trainees to master the techniques.


The Centre for Play Therapy and Training offers a Level 1 Play Therapy Course (26 hours, 4 days) and a Level 2 Play Therapy Course (22 hours, 3 days). The Centre works within the Gestalt approach to therapy. Upon successful completion, candidates receive certificates. These courses offers an excelled base for the M-programme in Play Therapy at University Level. Courses are presented at various locations throughout South Africa.

The Centre for Play Therapy and Training is a SACSSP (South African Council for Social Service Professions), as well as a HPCSA (Health Professions Council of South Africa) registered centre and as such a provider of 20 CPD credits per Level 1 Play Therapy and 15 CPD credits per Level 2 Play Therapy course … read more

Other courses offered by The Centre for Play Therapy and Training are Sand and Clay Workshops (17 CPD points) and Marriage Therapy Workshops (18 CPD points). These courses are offered only at Uylenvlei Retreat – see

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