Role of University-Based Training Clinics: Facilitating the Advancement and Growth of Play Therapy

Role of University-Based Training Clinics: Facilitating the Advancement and Growth of Play Therapy

Latifey B. LaFleur, Irvin G. Esters
Copyright: © 2019 |Pages: 14
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-8226-7.ch005
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This chapter will focus on the formation and operation of a university-based play therapy clinic. Attention to the role of the clinic in experiential training, which is an important part of counselor and play therapy preparation will be addressed as well. The mission, functions, and benefits of a university-based play therapy training clinic will be explored in depth and suggestions for forming and administering the clinic will be made. Further, the authors will discuss the effect of a play therapy clinic on training, credentialing, and the promotion of play therapy along with the influence of accrediting entities such as CACREP. Finally, to assist interested programs in the development of a play therapy training clinic, components such as funding, space, design, equipment/materials, administration, and ethical considerations are discussed.
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The purpose of this chapter is to explore the role and advantages of a university-based play therapy training clinic. The authors will examine current policies, procedures, and clinical training programs, and comment on their efficacy in facilitating instruction and research. The chapter will expand on the concepts related to operating a university-based mental health training clinic, including effective policies and procedures which can be implemented in play therapy training clinics.

It would appear from a review of the extant literature and the most recent two editions of the CACREP standards (2009 and 2016), that the importance of campus-based training clinics for counselor training has been de-emphasized. Language in the 1994 CACREP standards was clear and unequivocal regarding university-based clinics as a requirement for accreditation. Much has changed. The sparse language related to the clinical learning environment and university-based clinic in the 2009 standards foreshadowed what would become a virtual elimination of such language in the 2016 standards (CACREP, 2009, CACREP, 2016). Mobley and Myers (2010) cite advances in technology which have made supervision possible in various formats as a primary force influencing this de-emphasis. Additionally, one would need only to look at the current list of CACREP accredited programs to see the proliferation of online universities among those accredited. For those programs, a campus-based clinic is not a possibility. It might be accurate to say that if university-based clinical learning environments were the only way to meet the standard, online programs would not be eligible for accreditation. Mobley and Myers (2010) go on to note that a review of the standards is called for, and perhaps two sets of standards should be considered which include online programs as well as university-based clinics.

While the CACREP standards have de-emphasized the necessity of university-based clinical learning environments through the years, it is the present authors’ assertion that the experiences students gain in such settings are representative of best practices and are exceptionally valuable in preparing the next generations of counselors, including play therapists. Our students have identified their internship or practicum assignment in our university-based play therapy clinic as the most formative experience in their program of study. University-based clinics provide for modeling skills and strategies and for live and recorded supervision. The service aspect is also an important facet of the model, as is providing an ideal for conducting a practice of play therapy. We hope to provide, in the following chapter, some of the details of operating a university-based training clinic with the emphasis on preparing play therapists.

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