Maria Garifalia Kountria, from Volos in Greece, has just completed the MSc Play Therapy course. She has already secured a job as a school-based counsellor, providing Play Therapy in a school in Cardiff.
Why did you choose to study Play Therapy?
Wanting to work therapeutically with children and searching for a course that could combine theory with practice I decided to apply for USW’s MSc Play Therapy.
Why did you choose this course?
Given the fact that there are only two Play Therapy courses in the UK, I compared them according to the requirements, tutors and costs. I decided that it was more affordable and close to my needs (I wanted a clear theoretical base for the therapeutic model I was about to be trained in). I found that the University of South Wales was providing that to me, in a friendlier town (Cardiff in comparison to London) and in a more affordable price (including both the fees and life expenses).
One of the main reasons I chose this course was the ability to undertake two placements over the two years and complete 100 hours of clinical practice under the security and safety the university environment was providing. With each placement, my self-esteem grew.
Best features of the Play Therapy course
Having well-educated and trained tutors was the major advantage of the course. They were able to transfer their knowledge to us and use the modules to address our clinical practice. Play Therapy skills and Advanced Play Therapy Skills were the most valuable modules over the two years; however I couldn’t underestimate the importance of modules like Child Development in our comprehensive education.
Tell us about the teaching quality
I believe that University of South Wales provides a high quality masters in play therapy. There was lots of support from our tutors/supervisors’ side and at the same time they were keeping the professional boundaries to provide us with a full academic experience.
Being an EU student, my tutors were always there to support me academically (problems with the language) but also psychologically (creating a family environment of containment and support) that helped me to succeed to finish the course.
Which elements of the course have prepared you well for your career?
The way that the course is built - providing a clear theoretical background and gradually introducing the practical elements - has a very good impact on the way of delivering play therapy, as you not only know the model but its grounds. The combination of supervision and personal therapy while undertaking the two placements were also an element that prepared me for becoming a Play Therapist. I feel confident that I will deliver a good practice as that was modelled out to me.
Helpful advice for future students
Be prepared for the commitment and take the time to read the recommended literature as it will help you in your practice. Additionally, create a trusting relationship with your therapist, supervisors and tutors; these are the people who will support you throughout the course and help you in the most challenging times.