Counseling training

Counseling trainings, counseling training

Counseling training is typically described as the type of education a person must obtain to become a psychologist, counselor or other mental health professional. Mental health therapists can have a significant impact on the lives of their clients by helping to diagnose and treat conditions that can improve the quality of their clients’ lives. 

Counseling training is one way to get into the mental health profession, considered a burgeoning field with the Bureau of Labor statistics projecting an 8% growth rate between 2020 to 2030 with COVID as an impetus for an increased need. Mental health practitioners typically work in healthcare, educational, governmental, non-profit and practice settings. 

However, as the counseling field expands, numerous counseling training approaches and settings are widening both access and environments for clients to work through behavioral, educational, and health issues. 

With this expansion, a combination of interventions, approaches and techniques may be combined to assist clients with resolving issues and making positive changes in their lives. With that, counselors will need to evolve their counseling training with the different modalities providing opportunities to expand their knowledge in challenging and interesting ways while providing innovative services. 

Here is a list of counseling training and certifications counselors and therapists can consider to learn different therapy types and approaches.

Accelerated Resolution Therapy

Accelerated Resolution Therapy combines elements of EMDR with cognitive-behavioral and brief psychodynamic techniques. It posits that imagery associated with stress and trauma is stored in the brain and is responsible for negative symptoms. The goal is to change how stress-inducing images are viewed. Therefore, the job of the therapist is to help shift a client’s negative associations to more positive memories. 

Accelerated Resolution Therapy training

Official Accelerated Resolution Therapy training is done in person and can be found through the Accelerated Resolution Therapy website. Basic course certification is three days and costs $1,500. More advanced counseling training is also available.

Other resources include:
  • A free Accelerated Resolution Therapy training introduction video with the founder of Accelerated Resolution Therapy, Laney Rosenzweig.

  • A book, by Remco van der Wijngaart, Accelerated Resolution Therapy, is a manual for clinicians explaining how imagery rescripting can help with trauma and other issues.

Animal Assisted Therapy

Animal Assisted Therapy is when a client, therapist, and animal work together on exercises outlined in a treatment plan. Typically, specific goals are noted to achieve change, measurable objectives, and milestones for identifiable progress. Animal Assisted Therapy can take many forms, based on the patient, the animal, and the treatment plan. 

Animal Assisted Therapy certification

The first qualification for using this therapy is Animal Assisted Therapy certification. This requires a minimum of a Master’s Degree and a license to practice as a mental health practitioner through their counseling training. Examples include licensed professional counselor, licensed marriage and family therapist, licensed psychologist, or any other license that allows the individual to provide therapy.

Additional training is needed post-licensure to be considered a specialist. You can obtain this specific type of counseling training one of two ways.
  • You can earn an Animal Assisted Therapy certification online, which typically consists of a mix of instruction and experience. To pursue this option, you can apply to an online program and find an animal-assisted therapy program in your area where you can gain the necessary expertise to pursue this career.

  • You can also pursue the needed specialization through a graduate program. These programs may consist of online and in-person instruction and include a research component.

Find a training program to become a certified animal-assisted therapist

Art Therapy

Art Therapy is considered an expressive therapy category and uses various artistic methods within therapy to allow people to express themselves. The underlying messages of the client artwork is then explored and examined to resolve psychological difficulties.

Similar to Talk Therapy, the therapist and client sit down to discuss goals and to identify how those goals are met. The therapist introduces art therapy, which typically includes correcting the misperception that a client needs to be particularly creative or artistic to benefit.

Art therapy certification

Typically, art therapists earn their bachelor’s degree in a combination of art and psychology, a counseling training background, or something similar as this provides them with the necessary background for undertaking a Master’s degree program in Art Therapy. After graduation, supervision with a licensed art therapist qualified to supervise trainees is also required.

Individuals become provisionally licensed when working with a supervisor towards the art therapist certification. Upon completion of the required hours and activities, including required graduate courses, an individual becomes a Registered Art Therapist (ATR).

Afterward, the art therapist takes a national examination to become a board-certified art therapist. Individuals must complete the art therapy certification and be board certified in order to supervise others on the path to becoming art therapists.

For information and the complete steps for art therapy certification in the U.S., see Becoming an Art Therapist - American Art Therapy Association

Attachment Based Family Therapy

Attachment Based Family Therapy’s goal is to repair the bond in the parent-child relationship. Attachment therapy has been shown to be effective with children and adolescents and is based on John Bowlby’s attachment theory. This modality is emotion focused and empirically supported and has improved relationships for teens who are depressed or suicidal, but this type of therapy may have a broader reach. Five types of attachments are associated with this type of therapy including ambivalent attachment, avoidant attachment, organized attachment, disorganized attachment and secure attachment.

Attachment Based Family Therapy training
As a manualized training, therapists must undergo specific counseling training and then submit tapes to supervisors to ensure they are completing tasks in the appropriate manner in order to complete family therapy training: 
  • Levels 1 and 2 require workshop training. 
  • Level 2 also requires supervision. 
  • Level 3 is the certification level.

Most counseling training is offered by the developers and is available to a number of individuals in the mental health and helping field. Counselors, psychiatrists, psychologists, marriage and family therapists, and social workers are all qualified for Attachment Based Family Therapy training.

You can typically find a therapist’s certifications listed in their bio or may be able to call the practice and ask about any individuals’ Attachment Based Family Therapy training.

Anyone wishing to delve deeper into the empirical research that supports this family therapy training program as well as other relevant research information, see the article here.


Bibliotherapy is used by many therapists who report that the practice increases patient engagement and commitment to the therapeutic process. Almost all therapy modalities report on the importance of the client working between sessions in order to make the most improvement and this is required by bibliotherapy.

Bibliotherapy requires a high level of pre-and post-session work due to the expectations, therefore progress can be made at a more rapid rate. Clients can learn to identify character emotions and develop empathy skills, improve problem-solving skills, and boost other aspects of life like social behavior and cultural identity.

Bibliotherapy training

A Certified Poetry Therapist (CPT) and Registered Poetry Therapist (PTR) are licensed professionals who have the counseling training required to work independently with clients. The CPT and PTR can work in clinics, hospitals, and similar institutions, as well as with mentally healthy populations for improvement purposes as part of bibliotherapy training.

Some therapists may complete bibliotherapy training or poetry training while in their graduate program, while others complete needed training after graduation. However, all CPT or PTR professionals must have a therapy license conferred before receiving those designations. If a professional completed requirements prior to obtaining their full licensure, they are designated a certified applied poetry facilitator (CAPF). The CAPF can work with individuals considered mentally healthy on their own in places such as libraries, schools, and rec facilities and may work in mental health facilities under the supervision of a licensed professional.

Bibliotherapy training occurs under a Certified Mentor (CM) through the International Federation for Biblio/Poetry Therapy. All counseling training in this specialty must be completed under the guidance of the CM and approved by the credentialing committee of the IFBPT.

If you are interested in becoming a CPT or PTR, you should first obtain the Bibliotherapy Training Guide available on the IFBPT website which enumerates the various components of the counseling training program, documentation, and a list of approved mentors.

An easy to read breakdown of which credential to pursue is also available at the IFBPT site, which can help you determine which credential is most appropriate for your needs.

Cognitive Processing Therapy

Cognitive Processing Therapy is an offshoot of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). It targets the dysfunctional beliefs that a person develops after experiencing a traumatic event. In short, CPT attempts to repair the damage done by trauma to someone’s thoughts about themselves and their environment. It does this by teaching clients how to overcome “stuck points”, where adaptive beliefs have been distorted due to the experience of the traumatic event. For example, a person might originally believe that the world is a generally safe place. But, due to witnessing a tragic death or injury, that same person might learn to question their everyday safety. As a result, they experience fear and arousal in situations that they previously would have felt secure.

Cognitive Processing Therapy training

Cognitive Processing Therapy training involves two levels of official certification for CPT: CPT provider and Quality-Rated CPT Provider. You can find official counseling training on the CPT website. The website is also chock-full of other essential information, such as a detailed summary of the session components a therapist would need to conduct CPT.

Although there is official Cognitive Processing Therapy training training and certification, it is not a stretch to say that any clinician with counseling training in CBT and a little more specialized education can perform CPT. If you are a CBT therapist and you review the CPT manual, you can likely treat someone at an effective level. That being said, Cognitive Processing Therapy training or supervision from someone who has administered CPT would never be a bad thing.

Speaking of the manual, the official Cognitive Processing Therapy manual for clinicians can be purchased and includes access to worksheets.

A great self-help resource for clients, these CPT worksheets have everything they will need to implement CPT outside the therapy office.

Do you want to listen to how CPT is performed? This American Life has a podcast of actual CPT therapy sessions.

Drama Therapy

Drama Therapy is the use of techniques typically utilized in theater in order to reach therapeutic goals. It is an expressive and experiential therapy similar to art or music therapy. It is effective with a wide range of individuals and disorders who may struggle with general talk or cognitive therapy.

Drama Therapy certification

Typically drama therapists earn their bachelor’s degree in a combination of art and psychology or something similar as this provides them with the necessary background for undertaking a Master’s degree program in Drama Therapy. NADTA credentials drama therapists as Registered Drama Therapists (RDT) and Board Certified Trainers (BCT). Therapists will need to refer to their state licensing board for the requirements of mental health licensure in order to practice independently.

NADTA offers an alternative program for licensed therapists to obtain Drama Therapy certification when they attend a Master’s program that was not an accredited Drama Therapy program. This includes work as both a therapist and experience in drama or theater. This doesn’t necessarily require acting roles as work in improv or directing can be counted as well.

Individuals become provisionally licensed when working with a supervisor toward the Drama Therapy certification. Upon completion of the required hours and activities, including required graduate courses, an individual becomes a Registered Drama Therapist. For the full list of requirements and forms see the NADTA website on certification.

Dyadic Developmental Psychotherapy

Dyadic Developmental Psychotherapy (DDP) is a treatment developed for families with children who have experienced trauma and need help attaching to and trusting others. These children often believe that adults, especially parents, aren’t safe people and cannot be looked to for help. They often resist attempts from others at emotional closeness and will act out or hide behind walls to keep others at a safe distance.

Dyadic Developmental Psychotherapy training

There is a wide variety of counseling training available in DDP, ranging from parenting to practitioner-specific training. These are all offered through the Dyadic Developmental Psychotherapy (DDP) site, and you can use their search tool to find counseling training specific to this specialty near you.

To become a certified Dyadic Developmental Psychotherapy (DDP) practitioner, you must attend the 56-hour core counseling training a DDPI Board-approved trainer provides.

Typically, Dyadic Developmental Psychotherapy (DDP) training occurs over a period of six plus months as practitioners take the 28-hour introductory course, integrate those skills into their practice, and then take the 28-hour advanced course and participate in a supervision process with an approved mentor. During this process, the practitioner can say they are using DDP-informed practices but are only allowed to advertise that they practice DDP once the entire process is completed.

Equine Assisted Therapy

Equine Assisted Therapy has been found to benefit individuals with a variety of struggles in a myriad of ways. Horses are not just used as an adjunct to psychotherapy. Speech therapists, occupational therapists, and physical therapists promote this method. As such, there have been reports of benefits for individuals withcerebral palsy, eating disorders, depression, anxiety and trauma-related disorders, attention disorders, autism spectrum disorders, stroke and other significant physical injuries.

Equine Assisted Therapy training

There are two schools of thought when it comes to Equine Assisted Therapy. On one side, there are those who emphasize working on the horse, with the therapist as an expert in therapy and horsemanship. This requires significant training in both working with horses and mental health practitioner work. 

PATH offers a variety of options for specialization ranging from a Certified Therapeutic Riding Instructor for individuals training as an entry-level person in the field. This person can provide riding instruction and support to individuals with disabilities. Their Master Riding Instructor certification is earned by individuals who have a strong background in horsemanship as well as a firm grasp on many physical, developmental, or emotional disabilities that may benefit from Equine Assisted Therapy.

The other school of thought separates the horsemanship from the mental health aspect and requires more of a team approach. One individual is the equine expert and trains thoroughly in teaching, while the other is the licensed mental health professional with specific counseling training. They work together to provide treatment.

Some universities offer coursework in Equine Assisted Therapy, and a few even offer bachelor’s degrees with an emphasis on equine or animal therapy. If you wish to seek licensure, you would then need to pursue a Master’s degree or Ph.D. with a program eligible for licensure in your state.

  • If you are looking for an equine therapist in the United States, be sure to check out the directory at Equine Therapy Network.

  • The PATH website has excellent information and training resources for Equine Assisted Therapy.

  • Another source of information and training mentioned is Eagala. They provide a specific Equine Assisted Therapy model and set standards for their credentialed providers.

Expressive Arts Therapy

Expressive Arts Therapy can assist clients who struggle to express themselves verbally, especially if they have limited insight or experience with identifying and speaking about their thoughts and feelings. The use of Expressive Arts Therapy allows individuals to find ways to process the inner turmoil they experience.

Expressive Arts Therapy also allows individuals to use whatever medium they are most comfortable with in order to work through mental health struggles.

Expressive Arts Therapy training

Psychotherapists, counselors, and teachers with standard qualifications can use different forms of creative arts therapy in their work.

With additional counseling training, mental health professionals can be registered with various institutions as specialists in Expressive Arts Therapy. Typically the minimum requirement is a master’s degree in Expressive Arts Therapy, psychology, fine arts, education, or a related field, and depending on the individual’s educational background, additional supervised clinical work and counseling training may be required.

Expressive Arts Therapy resources

  • To find educational resources for providing expressive arts therapy IEATA has a dedicated page here.

  • Try out an exercise using Expressive Art Therapy.

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR)

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) was formulated by Francine Shapiro, Ph.D., in 1987 while walking through a park. She found that her own eye movements decreased her sensitivity to distressing memories and decided to test how therapist-guided eye movements might help better address painful recollections. It was originally conceived as a treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) but has since been expanded to address other disorders. 

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing allows the “reprocessing” of bad memories so that they can be subject to more adaptive information. It uses two main techniques: exposure to traumatic events and guided bilateral stimulation (stimuli presented to both sides of the body) while recalling the painful memory. Guided eye movement is the most traditional form of bilateral stimulation but other forms of stimulation have been used, including sounds and tapping. Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) is a structured therapy that is usually completed in 6-15 sessions of 60-90 minutes. Think of it as a mix of traditional CBT exposure techniques combined with bilateral sensory stimulation. 

EMDR training for therapists

Performing EMDR is not something you should do without some specialized training. You can find in-person or virtual training at the official EMDR website. You can take their basic two-day training or more advanced offerings. You can find additional training all over the internet, including at emdria, the EMDR International Association.

APA offers a case study of an Iraqi war vet undergoing EMDR.

A helpful clinical resource is A Therapist's Guide to EMDR. This book has practical information and tips for therapists who practice EMDR.

Psychology Tools is always a nice resource for all things psychology. Here they have some helpful EMDR worksheets for therapists to give to clients.

Want a step-by-step video demonstration of how to perform EMDR?

Although somewhat mysterious, EMDR is now at the forefront of PTSD treatment. It is especially helpful for those clients with memories so distressing that they may have difficulty undertaking traditional CBT exposure techniques. 

Family Systems Therapy

Family systems theory posits that each family member is most importantly, part of the larger system and the system is a sum of the interrelated parts. Just as an individual is made up of systems of cells and organs working together to maintain function, a family is made up of individuals working together to maintain their own idea of function. 

Family systems theory is mostly used when working with individuals with addictions or children who are seemingly acting out for no apparent reason. Often the underlying problem is not an individual problem, but an entire system problem. Family systems therapists believe that the best way to improve the individual is to understand and help the entire system as much as possible. If this is not possible, then helping the individual learn why they do what they do in terms of family roles helps them make necessary adjustments to be healthy. 

Family Systems Therapy training

The Bowen Center for the Study of the Family offers continuing training in Family Systems therapy and includes individual coaching and video.

The Internal Family Systems also provides progressive levels of training in this specialty from levels 1 thru level 3

Download Your Free Roles in Dysfunctional Families Resource

Gestalt Therapy

Gestalt Therapy is a humanistic treatment developed by Fritz Perls in conjunction with his wife, Laura, in the 1940s. It has roots in Gestalt psychology, which looks at the human mind and behavior as a whole, rather than as a sum of its parts. Perls collaborated with Paul Goodman and Ralph Hefferline in 1951 on the first book on the subject, Gestalt Therapy: Excitement and Growth in the Human Personality. Soon after, he set up the first Gestalt therapy training facility in New York City. Gestalt therapy shares similarities with other humanistic therapies, such as person-centered therapy, but differs in key ways. 

Gestalt Therapy training

Becoming a Gestalt therapist is an involved process. Basic counseling training in Gestalt principles is going to require many hours of education and is not widely taught. This is not a type of therapy where you can find a day-long training nearby and become certified in six hours. 

Instead, you will need to find an institute that specializes in Gestalt Therapy and be prepared to spend a significant amount of time and money on counseling training. For example, the Gestalt Center for Psychotherapy and Training in New York City offers a years-long part-time certification. For those that want something slightly quicker and more convenient, Gestalt Associates Training Los Angeles offers a six-weekend training program that therapists can take online. As you can see, becoming a skilled Gestalt therapist is not something to take lightly.

Filial Therapy

Filial Therapy is different from other therapies because the goal is to teach caregivers basic play therapy skills to use with their own children. Filial Therapy focuses on teaching parents the skills to be therapeutic individuals for their own children and become the change agents that their children need.

Filial Therapy is considered an evidence-based treatment which means there has been substantial research on the outcomes associated with it. Evidence from research studies shows that both parents and children benefit from this therapy process because the relationship tends to improve overall as communication skills are gained, connection and play are valued, and empathy grows.

Filial Therapy training

The first requirement to provide filial therapy is that the individual holds a license to practice in their state either independently or under supervision. If an individual wants to pursue certification in filial therapy while under supervision, they will have to submit written permission from their supervisor when applying for the counseling training program.

The first step of the counseling training program is to complete a 13-hour training course. These are offered fairly regularly through the National Institute of Relationship Enhancement (NIRE).

The National Institute of Relationship Enhancement requires 26 hours of skills consultation on average to be certified as a filial therapist. It is important to emphasize that certification is based on skills mastery, not number of hours, but they report that 95% of individuals are able to complete certification in around 26 hours after completing their counseling training program. Skills consultation must be completed by an approved supervisor which can be found on the certification section of their site.

The National Institute of Relationship Enhancement and Center for Couples, Families, and Children (NIRE) was founded by Bernard Guerney Ph.D., to facilitate the relationship enhancement model which filial therapy is based on.

They have training opportunities for therapists and workshops for couples and families.

For a directory of providers, check here.

Intensive Short Term Dynamic Therapy

Intensive Short Term Dynamic Therapy (ISDTP) is a brief psychodynamic therapy. It is a modern take on classic psychoanalysis, which can take years to administer. ISDTP founder Habib Davanloo theorized that emotions stuck in the unconscious lead to negative symptoms and characterological problems. 

These unconscious feelings are primarily the result of unprocessed attachment trauma. The chief goal of ISTDP is to help the patient combat resistance and face their underlying feelings. Freed from resistance, they can begin to recognize their psychological conflicts and work to overcome their troubles.

Intensive Short Term Dynamic training and resources

Training in ISDTP is an extensive process that may be completed over months and years, rather than days. It is not widely taught and you may have to travel to find suitable counseling training. It is not uncommon for core training to be conducted over a three-year period.

  • The ISTDP Institute website has information on counseling training and additional links to valuable resources, such as books and audio courses.

  • The ISTDP Australia website lists further resources, including videos, publications, and links to pertinent websites. It also offers international counseling training.

For those who want to see what it looks like, here is a video of an ISTDP therapy session.

Jungian Psychotherapy

Jungian Psychotherapy has roots in Freud’s theory of psychoanalysis, but expanded the idea of the unconscious and focused more on personal growth and individuation. It is designed to treat the person as a whole but can be applied to specific problems with anxiety, depression, and personality disorders. 

Individuation is the ultimate goal of Jungian Psychotherapy. It is the search for personal growth. In the process of individuation, individuals learn to differentiate from each other while also living in harmony with other people and the environment. When that process is blocked, problems occur. Jungian therapy aims to clear those obstacles and free the person on their journey toward self-realization.

Jungian Psychotherapy training

Certified counseling training in Jungian psychotherapy is an expensive and long process. Training at a Jungian institute will take years and cost thousands of dollars. For example, the counseling training program at the CG Jung Institute of Chicago will take four to seven years of post-graduate work. 

The program at the CG Jung Institute of LA costs over $4,000/year and also requires the therapist to be undergoing Jungian psychotherapy. It is a major commitment and not something to be taken lightly.

Many of the Jungian institutes also offer shorter educational opportunities on related topics.

Dr. Todd Grande created a video that does a good job of describing the complexities of Jungian therapy in a concise manner.

This website is a compilation of Jungian therapy resources, including books, internet links, and videos.

If you are looking for quicker, cost-effective, and more convenient counseling training, check out the online courses offered here.

Motivational Enhancement Therapy

Motivational Enhancement Therapy (MET) is a brief therapy employing motivational interviewing (MI) principles to treat substance abuse. It was created by Stephen Rollnick and William R. Miller, the creators of MI, as part of project MATCH, a clinical trial instituted by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. It uses the transtheoretical model of change as a basis for motivating clients to adopt healthier behavior. It is essentially a brief adaptation of motivational interviewing used specifically for substance abuse that is effective with resistant clients that may not be quite ready to loosen the grip of alcoholism on their own. 

Motivational Enhancement Therapy training
  • Because Motivational Enhancement Therapy is included under the umbrella of motivational interviewing, specific training for Motivational Enhancement Therapy is hard to find. It is advisable to first seek training for MI and then read the highly descriptive Motivational Enhancement Therapy manual to use the specific Motivational Enhancement Therapy approach. You can learn the basics of Motivational Enhancement Therapy in only a few days. 

  • The motivational interviewing website is a wealth of information for all things MI. Here you can find information about training and resources that will get you up to speed on MET.

  • Therapist Aid has several worksheets that are relevant for clients utilizing MET.

  • Training for MI is readily available online. PESI offers an intensive online course presented by MI founder Stephen Rollnick. 

  • Dawn Elise Snipes, Ph.D. has a free video online that does a good job presenting the basics of MET. 

Parent Child Interaction Therapy

Parent Child Interaction Therapy is an evidence-based therapy program that focuses on improving the family dynamic by creating more positive interactions and parenting strategies. PCIT is behavior focused and has shown effectiveness with children who have been abused or neglected as well as with at-risk families. 

There are two distinct stages of PCIT. The first stage is known as the relationship enhancement phase, which centers around the child and allows them to direct play. The child would choose which toys and games to play with and how to play while the parents would join in and play using skills taught to them by the therapist. 

The second phase is the discipline and compliance phase. In this phase, parents learn to take control of the situation and make direct requests of children. When children comply, parents give immediate praise, and if the child doesn’t comply, then warnings for timeout are appropriate. This is continued with follow-through, placing in time out if compliance doesn’t occur. 

Parent Child Interaction Therapy

For information about counseling training and how to sign up for training sessions and the certification process, click here. There are several upcoming counseling trainings available.

To find a PCIT therapist in the United States or Internationally, check the links here.

If you would like to dive deeper into the research behind PCIT, the organization offers a wealth of information on completed evidence-based research

Play Therapy

Play Therapy was recognized as effective for children because play is such a vital part of a child’s ability to communicate. Children use play to express emotions, thoughts, perceptions, and values, and through this, significant work can be done. 

Since the 1940s, Play Therapy has been researched to establish effectiveness across many mental and behavioral health disorders and has been found to be effective at helping with: 
  • Anxiety and phobias
  • Tantrums or behavior problems, including aggression
  • Grief and loss
  • Trauma
  • Social skills difficulties
  • Problems in family relationships
  • Coping with big life changes, like divorce or a recent move

Play Therapy certification

Many therapists use aspects of Play Therapy with children, however recommended guidelines established by professional organizations are encouraged. Licensed clinical mental health professionals with extensive specialized play therapy training and education, as well as experience supervised by an appropriately credentialed mentor, should provide play therapy.

All Registered Play Therapists have a Master’s degree or higher in a mental health specialty as well as a license to practice therapy. Those who become RPTs must complete a minimum of 150 hours of additional coursework in play therapy and then receive clinical supervision from a senior therapist of their work. RPTs work to improve their understanding of how play can help children with specific mental and behavioral health problems, including grief and loss, behavioral difficulties, anxiety, trauma, and depression, ADHD and social skills. They also learn how to use toys and play materials more intentionally to guide children in the most productive way possible. 

Training can be found through the Association for Play Therapy. Your local university may offer graduate programs or classes in play therapy that count as counseling training hours and are willing to let therapists participate in them. Before starting, ensure that the course is approved for credit in order to count it as training toward your credentialing. 

Founded in 1982, the Association for Play Therapy is a national society that fosters the development of play therapy in the mental health field.

They have many resources, including:

Play Therapy International is a wonderful resource for training and information for individuals outside of America, and there are a variety of play therapy associations for most continents and many countries. 

Reminiscence Therapy

Reminiscence Therapy is difficult to define as there is no one agreed-upon way to conduct it. It can be performed over a few sessions or for many months. It can be done individually or in groups. It can be performed by a therapist with counseling training in a structured therapy session or by a non-therapist in an informal manner. In fact, many people that employ it are staff in long-term care facilities that have no counseling training.

However, it is universally acknowledged that Reminiscence Therapy is targeted toward older adults, many of whom are experiencing symptoms of dementia. Further, it involves the prompted recall of memories from a person’s younger years. This is thought to facilitate improvements in cognition, connectedness, and mood. The goal is to improve the overall well-being of someone who may have become withdrawn and despondent because of the effects of aging and dementia

Reminiscence Therapy training

Formal counseling training for Reminiscence Therapy is hard to find. This may be because it is so varied in content and administration.

That being said, there are a decent amount of educational resources that can be found, many subsumed under geriatric care.

  • This APA-endorsed survey measures the reasons why people reminisce. It is a tool that can be used in therapy to measure the motivations for clients to partake in reminiscence therapy. 

  • Nancy Rhine, LMFT, has an educational page on reminiscence therapy and questions you can ask clients to prompt a client to reminisce.

  • This website contains numerous reminiscence activities that can be used with elderly clients.

  • Structured manuals that guide the implementation of reminiscence therapy are scarce. But here is a step-by-step manual for group treatment created by reminiscence trainer Bernie Arigho.

Reminiscence therapy is a popular treatment for older adults suffering from dementia. Dementia is predictably hard-to-treat but Reminiscence Therapy can help improve the quality of life and mood for the elderly population. 

Sand Tray Therapy

Sand Tray Therapy is a therapeutic intervention that uses sand, toy figures, and sometimes water to create a person’s inner world in miniature. Sand play is often nonverbal and is considered play therapy, although it is used in adjunct along with talk therapy.  Sand Tray Therapy refers to the overarching use of sand trays in therapy, however, there are specific methods that have developed, such as Sandplay therapy which have more of a solid basis in theory. 

Sand Tray training for therapists

Sand Tray Therapy is used by many therapists because there are multiple different ways to utilize sand play in therapy, and there are multiple routes to receiving the training needed to become proficient in the process. 

The first step is to be a licensed psychotherapist, which typically requires a minimum of a Master’s degree in psychology, social work, or counseling training as well as the necessary work postgraduate school to attain licensure status. However, some therapists may train in and use Sand Tray Therapy while still under supervision if their supervisor is amenable to the idea. 

As a caveat, sand tray work may be completed in different settings by speech therapists, school counselors, and even teachers, but therapeutic work such as what is done in Sandplay requires a psychotherapy license. 

Training varies widely, so it is important to identify first how you would like to use Sand Tray Therapy in your practice. Continuing education courses offered through accredited providers may be sufficient if you wish to use a sand tray as an adjunct to play therapy or as a tool to help clients begin to open up. However, if you want to be recognized as a Sandplay therapist, then they have their own requirements and courses that you will need to take, which include gaining familiarity with Jungian therapy as well as counseling training about symbols and the sand play process. 


The International Society for Sandplay Therapy has a lot of information for therapists, including information about research, training, and resources. The ISST also has links to other associations based on country location for more localized resources in the international community.

The Sandplay Therapists of America offers training opportunities as well as a variety of helpful links and ways to learn about Sandplay. You can also look through their directory to find a therapist to work with. 

Another great resource for finding a therapist is the directory at Psychology Today where you can filter by your location and the type of therapy you would like to utilize. 

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Schema Therapy

Schema Therapy mixes the concepts of Cognitive Behavior Therapy with psychodynamic, experiential, and attachment theories. It can be brief or long-term, depending on the needs of the client. In addition to examining thought patterns, it emphasizes exploring childhood experiences, the therapist-patient relationship, and ineffective coping styles. It is a truly integrative approach. 

The premise behind Schema Therapy is that maladaptive schemas develop because the emotional needs of childhood are not met. 

Schema Therapy certification for therapists
  • Proper counseling training in Schema Therapy is a lengthy process that can take months, if not years. It includes didactic learning, experiential learning, and supervision. It is not so easy to find; most formal certification occurs through Schema Therapy institutes dotted around the country. Because of Covid-19, much of the didactic parts can now be done online. 

  • In addition to the U.S., Schema Therapy has a strong international presence. The International Society of Schema Therapy provides training worldwide and has valuable resources, including relevant research, books, and articles. 

  • PESI is offering an online course that, while extensive, is not as demanding as the training found through Schema Therapy institutes. 

Sensorimotor Therapy

Sensorimotor Psychotherapy emphasizes the mind-body connection in the treatment of illness. Working in a psychiatric hospital in the 1970s, Dr. Pat Ogden began her journey toward creating sensorimotor therapy when she noted how traumatic experience was expressed mentally and physically and thought that both needed to be addressed to treat individuals effectively. Sensorimotor therapy helps the client develop the skills to regulate emotional and autonomic arousal to free them from the physical manifestations of trauma.

Sensorimotor Therapy training

Sensorimotor Therapy Training is very limited. Almost all counseling training is provided through the Institute of Sensorimotor Psychotherapy, with offerings all over the world. The institute provides three levels of training. Level I is the basic trauma training and takes at least 50 hours. Hybrid training courses are common with time split between in-person and online education. It also offers less intensive CE training on topics related to sensorimotor therapy and contains links to relevant books and journal articles.

Here are some other valuable resources:
  • CE titan PESI offers an extensive introduction to sensorimotor therapy online course with founder Pat Ogden.

  • The one book you need if you want to learn the skills to administer sensorimotor therapy.

  • Psychologist Jennifer May, Ph.D., presents 37 videos based on the skills and activities needed to conduct sensorimotor therapy. 


Theraplay was developed when Dr. Ann Jernberg became clinical director of the mental health program associated with Chicago Head Start. She quickly found that few resources and facilities were available for these children to obtain mental health services and funding was very limited. 

Jernberg set out to train individuals like graduate students and parents, with no professional counseling training, so these children could get the help they needed. Her only requirements were that these individuals have openness, flexibility, ego strength, and the natural talent to learn and apply the therapeutic skills that she taught them. Immediate and long-term progress was documented on film, and the program was deemed a success. 

TheraPlay training 

Theraplay offers a variety of counseling training from how to use Theraplay virtually to how to utilize it. 

In order to work as a certified Theraplay therapist, there are a few different requirements: 
  • The Theraplay therapist must hold a master’s degree or higher in a mental health field, preferably specializing in working with children and families.

  • Therapists must also be licensed to work independently. However, if you do not have licensure, you may be eligible to go up to foundational and progress further after earning your licensure status. 

  • Therapists are required to attend Level One Theraplay and Marschak Interaction Method or MIM and complete the four-day training or modules one through six. After which, there are supervision requirements and levels of certification recognition. 

The different levels of practitioner include: 

Foundational Theraplay practitioner

  • Application fee and eight supervised sessions: This level also includes 32 unsupervised sessions, which can be in-person or telehealth sessions. 

  • Cost: $1200* OR $400** if using an independent supervisor

Intermediate Theraplay practitioner

  • Minimum of eight supervised sessions: This level also includes 32 unsupervised sessions, of which three can be telehealth sessions. 

  • Cost: $1075* OR $375** if using an independent supervisor

  • To go further, therapists need to complete Level Two Theraplay and MIM training, after which they can progress to full certification.

Certified Theraplay practitioner

  • Minimum of eight supervised sessions: This level also includes 32 unsupervised sessions, which must be in person.

  • Cost: $1075* OR $375** if using an independent supervisor

The Theraplay Institute site can answer all of your questions or point you in the direction of where to find any answer you need about Theraplay.  


An online therapist provides behavioral health services using technology or electronic communication and typically has counseling training or a minimum Master’s degree in a behavioral health discipline. During online therapy, the treatment occurs while the therapist and client are in two different places. Other terms for online therapy include telehealth, teletherapy, telemental health, e-therapy, e-counseling, cyber-counseling, and video counseling.

Therapists provide many different services via telehealth including:
  • Video therapy sessions
  • Telephone therapy sessions
  • Email communications and support
  • Text messaging communications and support
  • Instant messaging
  • Online chat
  • Online messages

Training for teletherapy 

TheraPlatform offers free teletherapy courses for therapists in many industries.

Sign up for Your Free Teletherapy e-Course

Trauma Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy was specifically developed for children and adolescents who previously experienced trauma, such as exposure to violence, neglect, physical abuse, or sexual abuse.

TF-CBT typically involves the child and their caregiver(s) in the treatment process, and focuses on developing the child’s coping skills along with strategies to manage thoughts, feelings, and behaviors related to the trauma. 

While Trauma Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy was initially developed for those under 18, some evidence suggests that TF-CBT may be effective for adults who have experienced trauma as well. However, treatment may need to be modified to address the specific needs and experiences of adult survivors of trauma.

Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy training
Requirements to become a certified TF-CBT therapist include:
  • Counseling training or holding a Master’s degree or above in a mental health discipline and a license to practice independently in your state

  • Participating in an approved live two-day training by a qualified TF-CBT trainer 

  • Follow-up consultations or supervision twice a month for at least six months or once a month for twelve months. The consultation or supervision must be provided by one of the treatment developers or another qualified trainer of TF-CBT. Alternatively, an individual may choose participation in a TF-CBT learning collaborative and participate in consultation calls

  • Completing three TF-CBT treatment cases with children or adolescents with at least two of the cases, including active participation of caretakers or another designated third party

  • Using at least one standardized instrument to assess progress with the three cases above

  • Taking and passing TF-CBT Therapist Certification Program Knowledge-Based Test

For full certification information, check out certification information.

Wilderness Therapy

Wilderness Therapy is an experiential therapy that involves participants spending time outdoors, often for an extended period of time, while receiving therapeutic interventions. The setting is usually a wilderness area such as a national park, forest, or another remote area, and may involve participants staying in tents or similar temporary shelters.

The goal of wilderness therapy is to help clients overcome emotional, behavioral, and mental health issues through physical activity, group therapy, and nature immersion. Clients are usually guided by outdoor experts and trained therapists who provide guidance and support throughout the program.

Wilderness Therapy programs can vary, but they often include hiking, camping, rock climbing, kayaking, and other outdoor activities. These activities are designed to challenge participants physically and mentally and to assist them in developing new skills, building confidence, and developing a sense of self-reliance.

Wilderness Therapist training

Wilderness Therapy combines traditional talk therapy with outdoor activities and outdoor expeditions. To become a wilderness therapist, providers typically need a background in counseling training, psychology, social work, or a related field. In addition, specialized training and experience in wilderness therapy are essential.

Here are some of the specific training and qualifications a therapist may need to become a wilderness therapist:
  • Wilderness training: Wilderness therapy typically involves activities such as camping and rock climbing, among other outdoor adventures. Therapists must have experience and training in wilderness safety, navigation, and survival skills. Wilderness First Responder (WFR) certification may also be required.

  • Therapeutic training: A wilderness therapist should have a strong foundation in traditional counseling training or psychotherapy. This includes a graduate degree in a related field, such as psychology or social work, and experience providing therapy to clients.

  • Specific certifications: Many wilderness therapy programs require clinicians to have specialized certifications, such as Certified Outdoor Therapist (COT), Wilderness Therapy Field Guide (WTFC), or Certified Adventure Therapist (CAT). Programs may have different requirements so it is best to do some research into what you are looking for prior to seeking out certifications. 

  • Experience working with youth and families: Wilderness therapy often involves working with teens and their families. A therapist should have experience working with these populations and be comfortable managing challenging behaviors and emotional issues.

  • Understanding of ethical and legal considerations: As with any therapy, a wilderness therapist must adhere to laws and ethical guidelines. Individuals seeking to be a wilderness therapist should have an understanding of these considerations and be able to navigate them effectively.

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wilderness therapy, outdoor therapy
Wilderness therapy

Wilderness therapy is an experiential therapy that involves clients spending time outdoors. Learn about its development, techniques and training.

animal-assisted therapy, AAT
Animal-assisted therapy

Animal-assisted therapy is used to treat mental health conditions including anxiety, depression and PTSD. Learn more about its techniques and effectiveness.

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