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Play Therapy Australasia (PTAU)  - is a not for profit organisation dedicated to promoting the use of play and creative arts therapies as ways of enabling children to reach their full potential. We are funded mainly by our membership subscriptions and support from Play Therapy International.  On this page we summarise:

Practitioner Membership is open, at various levels,  to ALL those working therapeutically with children AND  those who have an interest in the subject:

Therapists Related Professions Others
  • Play Therapists

  • Music Therapists

  • Dance & Movement Therapists

  • Art Therapists

  • Drama Therapists

  • Sandplay Therapists

  • Counsellors

  • Psychotherapists

  • Psychologists

  • Psychiatrists

  • Paediatricians

  • Occupational Therapists

  • Nursery/Primary Teachers

  • Special Needs Teachers

  • Learning Assistants

  • Child Care Workers

  • Social Workers

  • Nurses

Anyone who is training to work with children and wishes to acquire play or creative arts therapy skills at sometime.

Our Purpose

PTAU exists to further the good practice of therapeutic work with children.  This includes improving children's emotional literacy as well as alleviating social, behaviour and mental health problems. We believe that the use of various forms of recognised therapies to help children fulfil their potential and overcome emotional and behavioural problems has reached a critical stage in Australia.

There is overwhelming evidence to support the efficacy of therapeutic play.  A number of countries such as Canada, Ireland, the UK and USA have an established play therapy profession. Play therapy is starting to emerge in Australia and New Zealand and now needs an innovative organisation to support the profession.  PTAU intends to provide this role.

A prime need is to combine, co-ordinate and integrate the valuable skills that all therapists possess for the benefit of all children in need.

Since therapeutic work with children draws its strength from a multi-disciplinary approach, it is vital to be completely open in considering and accepting many different approaches for working with children.  Play therapy is a comparatively recent discipline. Because of its relative newness it is important that its evolution is encouraged, that new ideas and methods are considered, tried and evaluated.

PTAU welcomes into membership anyone interested in working with children including those who have satisfactorily completed a recognised course for working therapeutically with children such as drama, art, music, dance and movement - as all these disciplines may be used on their own or as an integrative part of play therapy.  They all have an equally valuable contribution to make.

PTAU is a forum for working together with a respect for each other's role.

Our Mission

To be the leading professional body, in Australia dedicated to promoting the use of play and creative arts therapies (the therapies) as ways of enabling children to reach their full potential by alleviating emotional, behaviour and mental health problems.

Our Objectives

To act as a professional organisation for anyone working therapeutically with children in Australia.

To promote the benefits of therapeutic work with children.

To set standards and provide an ethical framework.

To make training and other resources available for therapeutic work with children by working with training providers, disseminating information and accrediting appropriate courses in creative therapies. 

To promote and advance discussion, education and research in play therapy, creative arts therapies and child psychotherapy.

To establish and develop professional standards for all those working therapeutically with children.

In addition to this web site, PTAU distributes the world's leading play therapy practitioners journal 'Play for Life' to communicate with all those interested in working therapeutically with children.

Our Constitution

Play Therapy Australasia's constitution reflect s the principles of its founding members:

  1. A wide range of therapeutic interventions using play or creative arts therapies and filial play can be used to benefit many children. A qualified practitioner requires a range of ‘tools’ including: art, creative visualisations, clay, dance/movement, drama, masks, music, puppets and sandplay.
  2. Many practitioners, working in a variety of settings, as well as ‘Play Therapists’ can use these interventions safely and effectively if supported by an appropriate professional infrastructure.
  3. The infrastructure must include a modern ethical system that embodies clinical governance as well as the provision of ethical guidelines, a professional conduct procedure and a register of certified members.
  4. PTAU must provide a lead and meet all of the obligations required of a profession.
  5. The varied needs of the children, their carers, commissioning organisations and users of the therapies together with the existing skills, aspirations and resources of potential and existing practitioners must be realistically accommodated in setting standards of competence and training.  The emphasis must be on what a practitioner can do not merely what a practitioner knows.
  6. The organisation structure must be sufficiently flexible to enable decisions to be taken quickly, reflect the needs of the public and practitioner members, enable innovation to take place and alter according to growth and changing needs.  We do not want to be bogged down by numerous committees or bureaucratic procedures that so often hamper the progress of other professional associations.  We believe that the majority of members are content to be consulted on important issues but do not have the time to be closely involved in decision taking.  The direction of some professional organisations, with a traditional organisation, can be high-jacked by a small cabal using 'democratic' procedures.  PTAU believes that liberty is an even more important principle than democracy in corporate governance..
  7. PTAU will work collaboratively with any organisation that aims to benefit children.

The governing documents are the Memorandum and Articles of Association.

Our Structure

The Board of Directors are responsible for the strategic direction and day to day operation of PTAU. They are legally and financially responsible for running the Society.

The Board of Directors takes into account recommendations from the Advisory Board which in turn receives suggestions and proposals from PTAus’ Practitioner Members.

There are two main classes of members:

Practitioner members for whom PTAU provides a professional infrastructure and a range of services

Shareholding members – these are persons or organisations that provided and continue to provide funds, over and above practitioner membership fees, subscriptions and other revenue to enable PTAU to become established and grow. Since PTAU is a not for profit company these members do not receive dividends neither will they receive any appreciation on the value of their shares. Any eligible person may apply for shares.

The Articles of Association specifically determines that the company is prevented from distributing any profits arising from its activities.

PTAU aims, in the medium term, to generate sufficient excess of revenues over costs in order to:

  1. Invest these surpluses in research, development, growth and bursaries
  2. Become independent of raising funds through the sale of shares, gifts, donations etc

It is not currently the intention to work towards charity status.  The Board of Directors feels strongly that if an organisation is meeting the needs of the children in Australia and its practitioner members and is run effectively and efficiently it should not be necessary to rely on charitable donations to fund its operations.

Good Corporate Governance

The structure of PTAU allows its practitioner members to propose changes in policies, rules or procedures through the mechanisms of:

  • The Advisory Board
  • Ad Hoc consultations
  • Referenda – held from time to time

These processes speed up decision taking and avoid the use of a laborious system of committees and sub-committees. It also ensures that proposals for change are filtered through an experienced panel of multi-disciplined professionals – The Advisory Board.

This two tier structure is similar to that adopted by many European organisations.

The continued success of PTAU depends upon providing good service to its practitioner members so that the needs of the majority are always taken into account. We are market led.

Working with Other Professional Bodies

PTAU liaises and works with other professional societies, associations and institutions whose members work with children.

PTAU is affiliated to Play Therapy International (PTI) the foremost international association in the field.  Other affiliates include Canada, France, Ireland, Malaysia,  Romania, Russia, Spain, and the  UK

Professional Regulation

In the absence of any regulation or registration in the field of therapeutic play and play therapy by governments, PTAU acts as a governing body in a self regulating profession. In accepting this responsibility we have set the highest standards of education, training and practice appropriate to the level of working.

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