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The Association for Play Therapy (APT) defines play therapy as, "the systematic use of a theoretical model to establish an interpersonal process wherein trained play therapists use the therapeutic powers of play to help clients prevent or resolve psychosocial difficulties and achieve optimal growth and development." (APT, 2015)

To satisfy its mission, APT advances the psycho-social development and mental health of all people through play and play therapy by promoting and supporting those programs, services, and related activities that promote the: 1) understanding and valuing of play and play therapy, 2) effective practice of play therapy through training, research, and support, 3) recognition, incorporation, and preservation of diversity in play therapy, 4) development and maintenance of a strong professional organization to accomplish these objectives.

The Association for Play Therapy (APT), a national professional society, promotes the value of play, play therapy, and credentialed play therapists. At APT, we recognize the parallel between our mission - "to advance the psycho-social development and mental health of all people, especially children, through play and play therapy", and that of the AAP - "to attain optimal physical, mental, and social health and well-being for all infants, children, adolescents, and young adults.”