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A Profession Structure Model

The Profession Structure Model (PSM) builds upon the Therapeutic Play Continuum, to include a competency framework, which provides detailed guidance for play therapy: quality management, training and development, career structure and succession/staffing planning, recruitment and selection, skills analysis, CPD, appraisal and remuneration grading and performance assessment as well as further clarification of the various roles in the profession.

Competency Frameworks

Private and public sector organisations have been developing and using competencies and competency frameworks for about 20 years. Originally competency based criteria were developed for very specific applications – one set for designing training programmes, another as a basis for remuneration scale grading etc rather as PTUK had first conceived the Play Continuum as a communications tool. However it was soon realised that a competency framework could be applied across a full range of human resource processes. Play Therapy International (PTI) believed in 2003 that it might be extended to a full range of professional processes, as has since been proved.

A common set of criteria for all professional processes has two main benefits:

  1. It provides the basis of a common (international) language for describing the effectiveness of its members both internally to the profession and even more importantly externally to its clients and other ‘customers’.
  2. An opportunity to achieve a high level of consistency when measuring quality of service and assessing performance.


The Role of a Competency Framework in the Quality Management of  Play Therapy Work

PTI & PTIrl believes that ‘quality management’, perhaps better expressed as ‘clinical governance’, is fundamental to play and creative arts therapies. It is as important as safety and indeed complete safety cannot exist without clinical governance. Although outcome measures are paramount in clinical governance they are not always obtainable and therefore it is our view that activities, which can always be observed, should be compared to agreed standards – a competency framework.

Competence & Competency

Sometimes there is confusion between ‘competence’ and ‘competency’. We are using the term ‘Competence’ as an ability based on work tasks or job outputs eg ‘Able to give a preamble to a child about to use a sand tray’ and the term ‘Competency’ as an ability based on behaviour eg ‘Sets the boundaries for a sandplay session prior to starting’. In practice many frameworks blend both together and this is how the framework has been developed..


See also:

Competency Profiles (PTUK Site)

Example of a Competency Profile (Play Therapist)

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