The Association for Play Therapy (APT) acknowledges outstanding research by graduate or doctoral students that significantly develops, promotes, or advances the value of play, play therapy, and credentialed play therapists.

The Play Therapy Student Research Award is presented to a Nominee who:
  1. May or may not be an APT member in good standing.
  2. Abided by the code of ethics, standards of practice, and all other legal standards or requirements promulgated by those authorities from which Nominee has been granted a license or certification.
  3. Authored or co-authored original work in the form of a Master’s thesis, doctoral dissertation, or other major research project for which the student is primarily responsible.
  4. Authored or co-authored play therapy research that (see point values assigned on Evaluation Form):
    • Demonstrates the value and effectiveness of play and/or play therapy;
    • Increases play therapy knowledge or improves/evaluates play therapy techniques;
    • Significantly elevates/advances the credibility, effectiveness and/or field of play therapy;
    • Designed and conducted by rigorous standards and appropriately analyzed.
  5. Was completed within two (2) years of research project completion [if nomination is unsuccessful, the manuscript may be resubmitted within two (2) years of project completion].
  6. It is preferable that the research, in its entirety be published in the International Journal of Play Therapy®. However, in the event that this research has been submitted elsewhere, applicant agrees to the preparation of an article based on the research submitted and appropriate for either Play Therapy™ magazine or the International Journal of Play Therapy®.
  7. Although an annual award, it may be presented to more than one individual a year but is not presented if not merited.
  1. The award recipient is honored during next APT Annual Conference and is granted (if research was conducted by more than one student, up to two recipients will each receive):
    • one complementary 12-month APT Professional membership,
    • complementary registration to the APT Leadership Academy for up to two (2) authors,
    • $1500.00 to defray conference-related expenses if attending the APT Annual
  2. Submissions are automatically submitted to the Editor to be evaluated for possible publication in the Journal.

Selection Process

  1. Applications satisfying the above criteria and below specifications must be received via mail or email by APT not later than March 15:
    • One completed application form.
    • One 150-word typed
    • One complete edited and publication-ready typed manuscript per these specifications:
      • Not more than 25 double-spaced pages prepared in accordance with the form and style of the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association.
      • Addresses a) significance to the field of play therapy; b) research question; c) methodology, i.e. subjects, procedures, instrumentation, data analysis, d) results; e) discussion; f) ethical considerations; g) issues of diversity; and includes h) references. One vita/resume.
  2. Applications are a) reviewed by a selection committee which may or may not consult others with research expertise for review and recommendations, and b) scored for relevance to APT interests and goals, originality, clarity, and contribution to field
  3. All Nominees are advised of the result of the selection process not later than April 15.
Previous Recipients
1993 Susan Cockle; 1994 Heidi Kaduson, Sue Bratton; 1995 Shari Duff; 1996 Iris Yuen-Fan Chau & Zella Harris; 1997 None; 1998 John Holmberg; 1999  Mary Costas; 2000  None; 2001 Elizabeth (Betsy) McLeod; 2002 Kelli Ritter; 2003 Jill Packman; 2004 Carolyn Solis; 2005 Jennifer Findling; 2006  None; 2007 Mary Morrison; 2008 Eunah Lee; 2009  Peggy Ceballos; 2010  None; 2011 None; 2012  None; 2013  None; 2014 Terri Gonzales; 2015 None; 2016 None; 2017 Brittany Wilson; 2018 Alyssa Swan, Brian Bethel; 2019 Joanne Wicks