The Association of Play Therapists was founded in 1992 by a group of now respected practitioners who introduced and pioneered Play Therapy within Britain. As the first and foremost professional association for Play Therapy in the United Kingdom, ‘British’ was added to its name in 1996 to avoid confusion with its American counterpart. Formal approval of the title ‘British Association of Play Therapists’ was authorised by the Secretary of State in 2005 when BAPT became a Company Limited by Guarantee (registered number: 5477406)
In 2006 The British Association of Play Therapists Ltd was granted Charity Status by the Charities Commission (registered charity number 1115673)

Mission Statement

The latest BAPT mission statement, formulated in June 2004, defines the Association’s purpose to:

Nurture, develop and advance the profession and application of Play Therapy through commitment to:
1 Raising public and professional awareness of the value of Play Therapy for enhancing the mental health and emotional well-being of children and young people;
2 Promoting safe, ethical, effective practice of Play Therapy through high quality regulated training, monitored continuing professional development and evidence-based research
3 Equal opportunities to meet the needs of a diverse population
4 Maintenance of a strong professional association

When BAPT was awarded charity status in 2006 the Charity's Objects were redefined as:
To relieve the needs of children, young people and adults suffering emotional and behavioural difficulties by promoting the art and science of Play Therapy and promoting high standards in the practice of Play Therapy for the public benefit.


To fulfil this mission statement the Association’s key aims are to:

  • Endeavour to protect the public against harmful conduct by members of all classes who are practising Play Therapy;

  • Promote and develop standards of training and practice;

  • Promote study and research in the field and practice of Play Therapy;

  • Encourage the sharing of information, experience and skills;

  • Maintain the highest levels of professional conduct by members of all classes who are practising Play Therapy;

  • Provide a national and regional resource for its members;

  • Reflect, acknowledge and encourage diversity both in clinical practice and within the professional association

  • Promote anti-discriminatory and anti-oppressive practice, as clinical practitioners in the field and within the professional association


To achieve these aims the Association’s specific objectives are:

  • To stimulate an active interest in the development of Play Therapy;

  • To provide an understanding and awareness of Play Therapy;

  • To provide a support network for Play Therapists;

  • To provide information on specialised training courses;

  • To provide criteria and guidelines for the accreditation and re-accreditation of training courses, ensuring that standards required by training courses meet the criteria for Full membership of the Association;

  • To maintain a membership list and a directory of Full members who elect for inclusion;

  • To work with the Criminal Records Bureau to ensure that all Full members have an up-do-date clear police check;

  • To compile a list of members approved by the Board of Directors to offer supervision;

  • To distribute a quarterly members’ magazine;

  • To provide an informative website;

  • To publish an annual academic Journal;

  • To organise conferences and promote training events on issues relating to Play Therapy;

  • To provide an Ethical Framework and a Code of Practice;

  • To provide a Complaints Procedure that governs the professional conduct and practice of members of all classes who are practising Play Therapy;

  • To hold an Annual General Meeting and Conference;

  • To maintain liaison with other professional groups involved in working with children;

  • To offer a forum for discussion of professional issues.


In 1996 the following definition of Play Therapy was adopted:

"Play Therapy is the dynamic process between child and Play Therapist in which the child explores at his or her own pace and with his or her own agenda those issues, past and current, conscious and unconscious, that are effecting the child's life in the present. The child's inner resources are enabled by the therapeutic alliance to bring about growth and change. Play Therapy is child-centred, in which play is the primary medium and speech is the secondary medium.

Play Therapy encompasses many approaches but the foundation of all approaches is child-centred"

British Association of Play Therapists
Code of Ethics and Practice (1996)

BAPT promotes person-centred therapy, based on humanistic principles (eg Rogers, Axline).
For a fuller theoretical background to Play Therapy : Click Here

BAPT structure

The business of British Association of Play Therapists Limited is managed by the Board of Directors (formerly known as the National Executive Committee). The governing documents are the new Memorandum and Articles of Association (see section 10 of the BAPT Guide to Play Therapy).

The Board of Directors

The Board of Directors is the decision-making body of BAPT Ltd. The Board meets at least four times a year. Members of the Board, who must be members of BAPT, are elected or co-opted to a term of office lasting for three years. Board members may serve a second term of office for three years and a third term of office for a further one year. No Board member may serve for more than seven consecutive years. The BAPT membership elects a Chairperson to serve for a period of three years. If re-elected on retirement, s/he may not serve more than five consecutive years.

The Board of Directors delegates responsibilities to the following Sub-Committees, which are open to BAPT members in any category:

Communications and Public Relations Sub-Committee

The Communications and Public Relations Sub-Committee develops and maintains open communications of BAPT’s aims, objectives and services to local and national communities, including both public and professional areas.

Conference Sub-Committee

The Conference Sub-Committee co-ordinates and manages the yearly Play Therapy national conference.

Finance and Resources Sub-Committee

The Finance and Resources Sub-Committee maintains, manages and oversees the income, expenditure, funding and resourcing of BAPT.

Membership Sub-Committee

The Membership Sub-Committee advises, manages and co-ordinates the membership and registration of Play Therapists.

Research Sub-Committee

The Research Sub-Committee encourages, develops and disseminates research into all aspects of Play Therapy theory, methods and practice.

Training and Education Sub-Committee

The Training and Education Sub-Committee implements, manages and co-ordinates the accreditation and re-accreditation of Play Therapy training courses, members continuing professional development and clinical supervision.

Students Sub-Committee

The Students Sub-Committee represents the interests and concerns of current Play Therapy student members.

Professional Practice Sub-Committee

The Professional Practice Sub-Committee develops and implements guidance and regulations relating to the effective, competent and ethical practice of Play Therapy.

In addition to the Sub-Committees, the Board of Directors delegates specific functions to the following Committee and Working Party:

Complaints Committee

The Complaints Committee implements and co-ordinates all aspects of the complaints procedure. The Chairperson is independent of the BAPT Board.

Current Board Members, following the AGM , June 2012:


Peter Ayling



Jenny Harrison

Company Secretary:

Judith James

Membership (Applications) Secretary:

Audrey Lee

Training and Education Sub-Committee Chairperson:

Ruth Watson

Research Sub-Committee Chairperson:

Students Sub-Committee Co-ordinator:

Sarah Hickson

Professional Practice Sub-Committee Chairperson:

Ruth Lazarus

Communications & Public Relations Sub-Committee Chairperson:

Harriet Armstrong

Other Board directors:

Helen Gedge

Trudi Cowper

Penny Rowntree


Conference Manager

Carol Platteuw

BAPT Membership

Full Membership is open to any person who holds a Play Therapy qualification recognised by the BAPT, who is having regular supervision, who is in or has recently had personal therapy, and who has an up-to-date clear CRB check. Full members have the right to vote at the AGM and to stand for election on to the Board of Directors. Full members receive a photo-identity membership card and access to Play Therapy employment opportunities. Full members may have their name included on the British Register of Play Therapists which is made available to people or organisations seeking a Play Therapist. Full members have access to BAPT Continuing Professional Development (CPD) training courses. There are now two new scrutinised routes to Full membership: for those who have trained Overseas and a Portfolio route: see relevant application forms for further details.

Student Membership which attracts a lower subscription rate than Full membership, is available to any person undertaking a training course validated by BAPT.

Retired Membership, which attracts a lower subscription rate than Full membership, is available to any person who was a previous member of the association and has now retired from all paid employment, but has an interest in continuing to receive regular information about Play Therapy issues.

All members (Full, Student & Retired) also receive:

  • free membership pack (including the regularly-updated folder of documents: 'The Guide to Play Therapy' and sample copies of all BAPT leaflets)

  • free subscription to the quarterly Magazine: ‘Play Therapy’, which offers members' articles, book reviews, Board updates, notification of forthcoming courses, and other relevant current information. The magazine also occasionally offers negotiated discounted prices on relevant books and toys

  • free subscription to the annual British Journal of Play Therapy

  • reduced fees for the BAPT annual conference

  • 10% discount on many BAPT publications

  • access to the Website members' area

Becoming an Associate of BAPT is open to any person interested in the field of Play Therapy. BAPT Associates receive

  • a welcome pack including the regularly updated folder of documents: 'The Guide to Play Therapy', and sample copies of all BAPT leaflets

  • free copies of the quarterly magazine 'Play Therapy'

  • reduced fees for the BAPT annual conference

  • a 1/3 discount on the price of 'The British Journal of Play Therapy'

Equal Opportunities

Policy statement: The British Association of Play Therapists is committed to the principles of eliminating unlawful discrimination, promoting equality of opportunity and promoting good race relations. It is also committed to ensuring equality of access to users of Play Therapy services and opportunity in academic and professional training. All applicants, employees of the Association, members or users of Play Therapy services shall be treated equally regardless of gender, ethnicity, religion, disability, sexual orientation, age or political affiliation.

The Association will ensure that it has in place appropriate procedures which can be used by individual members of staff, members of the Association and users of Play Therapy services if they feel that they have been unfairly treated in respect of this Policy.

All members and employees of the Association have an individual responsibility to ensure they comply with this Policy. We will strive to ensure that our members provide services which are readily accessible to people of all ethnic backgrounds and cultures, and that individual needs are respected.

Overall responsibility will rest with the Board of Directors of the Association.

The full version of the Equal Opportunities Policy is published as Section 9 of ‘The Guide to Play Therapy’

BAPT Publications

The following documents and publications may be obtained or purchased from the BAPT administrative office:
NB BAPT members (Full, Student & Retired) may now purchase these at discounted prices: click here for the Members' Publications Order Form.
PLEASE NOTE During periods of holidays (Easter, summer, Christmas) your pay pal payments will take longer to process.

An Ethical Basis for Good Practice in Play Therapy – An essential regulatory document for anyone interested or practising in Play Therapy. Contains: Ethical Principles which underpin Play Therapists’ practice, Core Competencies of a Play Therapist, the Code of Good Practice in Play Therapy and the Complaints Procedure (£8 incl P&P)

What is Play Therapy? – an information leaflet for professionals (4 Colour pages: £10 for 20 copies)

What is Play Therapy? A leaflet for Children – an explanatory booklet illustrated with attractive cartoon style pictures, aimed at young clients (12 full colour pages: £1.40 each or £12 for 10 copies)

Play Therapy and Your Child: Information for Parents and Carers – an 8 page booklet illustrated with photographs which answers the frequently-asked-questions by parents/carers when their child is referred for Play Therapy (£1.40 each or £12 for 10 copies)

Play Therapy in Schools – a leaflet providing information for school personnel, such as SENCOs or Lead Behaviour Professionals, and other members of school staff who encounter Play Therapists working in the educational environment. The booklet is a valuable resource for those Play Therapists working in schools who need to explain their work: both the theory and the practical implications (8 colour pages: £1.40 each or £12 for 10 copies)

Play Therapy – the Association’s quarterly magazine. (Free to Members and Associates but individual back copies may be purchased for £7.50 each)

British Journal of Play Therapy - the annual professional Journal. Carries papers of interest not only to members of BAPT, but also to members of other occupational groups using therapeutic play skills. (Free to members, Associates £10, non-members £15 per copy)

The Guide to Play Therapy – a twelve-section document covering essential aspects of Play Therapy theory & practice, including: History, Research, Training; Supervision, CPD, Careers, Reading List, Equal Opportunities Policy. Each section may be purchased separately for £1.50 each, or the entire set in a presentation folder for £12 (incl P&P)

These prices are subject to change

Further information

  • Constitution

  • Equal Opportunities Policy

  • Sub-Committees

  • Contact BAPT

  • Join BAPT

For further information contact our administrative office:

British Association of Play Therapists
1, Beacon Mews,
South Road,
Surrey KT13 9DZ

Phone: 01932 828638
fax: 01932 820100
Website: www.bapt.info
Facebook: www.facebook.com/BAPT1992

The British Association of Play Therapists is the trading name of The British Association of Play Therapists Ltd, registered in England & Wales Company number 5477406. Registered Charity number 1115673

(page updated September 2012)