Theraplay: Helping Parents and Children Build Relationships Through Attachment-Based Play *REQUIRED: LEVEL ONE/MODULE 3 TRAINING*

PLEASE NOTE: This book is required for Level One and Module 3 Theraplay training participants. Purchase this book alongside your training registration for a discount.

Theraplay: Helping Parents and Children Build Relationships Through Attachment-Based Play, Third Edition is required for new participants in the Theraplay Level One & MIM and Module 3: Marschak Interaction Method: Administration, Scoring, and Feedback for Theraplay Practice training programs.

Since the second edition was published in 1999, there have been major developments and changes in the theory and practice of Theraplay. This book provides a comprehensive update and revision of a classic resource for treating children and families struggling with a wide variety of problems. The book includes new research on attachment, childhood trauma, autism, among others, and explains how new advancements in neuroscience have informed and advanced Theraplay best practice. The book also contains new techniques for dealing with dysfunctional families, family disruptions, older adopted children, parental cooperation, and parental mental health. Highlights include:

  • The theory and research that inform the core concepts of Theraplay
  • Working with families with adopted or foster children
  • Focusing on attunement and regulation
  • Increasing parental involvement in treatment
  • Redefining structure and resistance
  • Treating complex trauma

Theraplay: The Practitioner’s Guide

The Definitive Guide to Theraplay for Practitioners, officially endorsed by The Theraplay Institute

Theraplay is an intervention that focuses on enhancing the connection, trust and joy between a child and a parent. it involves interactive, playful activities using simple face-to-face reciprocal interactions, and involves using all of the senses, including rhythm, movement and touch.

This comprehensive guide outlines the theory, reflection and skill development of the practitioner – the true power house of Theraplay. By maintaining a focus on practice throughout, embedding theory into practice examples, it brings the spirit of Theraplay to life. Part 1 covers the key principles of the intervention; Part 2 addresses Theraplay in Practice: how to use the Marschak Interaction Method (MIM) how to set up a room and choose activities and considerations for working with different client groups; Part 3 encourages the reader to engage in their own developmental and the stages involved; and Part 4 and 5 provide a wealth of useful resources, checklists, handouts, sample sessions and an up-to-date list of Theraplay activities.

Whether you are a Theraplay Practitioner, or simply want to find out how this remarkable intervention works, this book is essential reading.


‘Theraplay is a terrific treatment for disorganized and traumatized kids. This book is highly recommended for all clinicians , teachers and other human beings trying to help children function and thrive !’
– Bessel van der Kolk, M.D. Author The Body keeps the Score

‘I have found the Theraplay approach to healing distressed children to be at the leading edge of humanistic, experiential and evidence-based treatments. What this clear volume offers are step-by-step precise protocols for assessment and treatment using this vital method. Various activities and exercises are simply described and can be applied to many therapeutic situations. The book is a rich contribution, not only for practitioners of Theraplay, but is truly a gift to all clinicians working to alleviate the suffering of troubled children.’
– Peter A Levine, PhD, Author (with Maggie Kline) of: Trauma through the Eyes of a Childs Eyes; Awakening the Ordinary Miracle of Healing, and Trauma-Proofing your Kids; A Parent’s Guide for Instilling Confidence Joy and Resilience

‘In Theraplay: The Practitioner’s Guide, Vivien Norris and Dafna Lender skillfully and comprehensively explain the essential principles of Theraplay. Theraplay is an efficient mode of therapy for children that seamlessly incorporates within a play environment several elements that are shared with models of psychotherapy. In the Guide, we learn about efficient exercises that are effective in enhancing the child’s ability to regulate state can be delivered as games; we learn that Theraplay is rooted in developmental science (e.g., attachment theory) and is consistent with contemporary neuroscience (e.g., Polyvagal Theory). From a Polyvagal perspective Theraplay respects the biobehavior state of the child, applies therapist initiated social engagement strategies to trigger a state of safety in the child, and promotes synchronous reciprocal interactions as a neural exercise that increases social flexibility and improves emotion regulation. It is through this development of the child’s ability to feel safe and secure that is key to Theraplay’s efficacy and functionally illustrates the attributes of Theraplay as a model therapy for children.’
– Stephen W. Porges, PhD Distinguished University Scientist Kinsey Institute Indiana University Bloomington

‘Therapy is a cherished gift to be shared confidently with parents. The gift is deceptively simple and at the same time provides a complex and rich foundation for establishing or deepening attachment bonds. The approach is playful, engaging, safe, and designed to create positive shared memories of warm and attuned physical and emotional experiences between parents and children. This book took my breadth away in its congruence with the Theraplay approach: It is engaging to read, it provides ample and strong structure for the Theraplay practitioner, it challenges us to weave attachment theories with unique responses to clients, and it nurtures and encourages practitioners to provide the best possible assistance they can. Vivien Norris and Dafna Lenders’ expertise shines through as they provide a “virtual supervisor” type of guidance to the reader, answering many of the questions that we practitioners have as we negotiate our daily practices. Not only is this book a remarkable addition to the literature on Theraplay, it also succeeds in integrating current neuroscience and research to further guide and strengthen interactive clinical nuances. I will be reading this book multiple times because there are layers of important information to guide us in our work. I am left speechless with gratitude. It’s been many years since I’ve been so enlightened and re-energized by a book with such heart and substance!!’
– Eliana Gil, Ph.D. Gil Institute for Trauma Recovery and Education

Parenting with Theraplay: Understanding Attachment and How to Nurture a Closer Relationship with Your Child

Authors: Vivien Norris and Helen Rodwell
Forewords: Phyllis Booth and Dafna Lender
Illustrations: Miranda Smith

Theraplay® is an attachment-focused model of parenting that helps parents to understand and relate to their child. Based on a sequence of play activities that are rooted in neuroscience, Theraplay offers a fun and easy way for parents and children to connect. Theraplay is particularly effective with looked after and adopted children.

By providing an overview of Theraplay and the psychological principles that it is based on, parents and carers will gain an understanding of the basic theory of the model along with practical ideas for applying Theraplay to everyday family life. Through everyday case studies and easy language, parents will gain confidence and learn new skills for emotional bonding, empathy, and acceptance in the relationship with their child.

Theraplay Song Book

From classics to Theraplay originals, you’ll find all the songs you could need in this collection! Help your sessions become more musical with the Theraplay Song Book.

This collection can be used as part of Theraplay or Group Theraplay sessions with children from birth through adolescence.

Theraplay Theory and Applications

Officially supported and endorsed by the Theraplay Institute, this handbook provides concrete assistance from international experts on deepening Theraplay knowledge and skills in much-needed and requested areas of practice.

With up-to-date information on Theraplay theory, applications and implementation, the chapters cover Theraplay with infants, toddlers, school aged children and adolescents. Home, school, and out-patient mental health settings are all covered in detail, as well as dyadic and group forms of Theraplay. Client issues include interpersonal violence, LGBTQ families, anxiety, child sexual abuse, transitioning from foster care to adoption, and deaf and hard of hearing. Additionally, extensive information is provided about working with caregivers including discussion of their own attachment history, practice sessions before including the child, and regular caregiver-only sessions to process and strengthen Theraplay treatment.

This book is essential for any Theraplay practitioner wanting to ensure their approach is fully informed and carefully tailored to meet their client’s needs.

MIM Card Set

These cards are meant to supplement MIM assessments after taking our Level One Theraplay & MIM or independent MIM training. Slip these into the envelopes you would like the caretaker and child to do during your MIM analysis for easy set up!

Training completion is required for purchase approval. Please do not order these cards unless you have completed Level One Theraplay & MIM training, Theraplay Module 3, or the MIM Skills training (sponsored by The Theraplay Institute).

Sunshine Circles Teacher Resource Manual

The Second Edition of our Sunshine Circles Manual is now available! With more activities, songs and helpful tools for classroom groups, this manual will help you create a fun, productive and safe enviornment to enjoy your Sunshine Circles!

The manual will include a link to our Online Education platform where you can purchase the video examples that accompany this book.

Register here for access to the Sunshine Circles Example Videos – $10

Theraplay Activities Flip Book

Get the newly released Third edition of the Theraplay Activities Flip Book with 46 all new activities—161 altogether, color coded by the four Theraplay dimensions (Structure, Engagement, Nurture, Challenge). Great for planning treatment sessions and for parents.

If ordering from the UK, this product is available to purchase locally at CairnsMoir Connections.

To order this product with special Danish flat rate shipping fee click here.

Theraplay Flip Book Bundle

Get both The Group Theraplay Flip Book and The third edition of the Theraplay Activities Flip Book in a bundle for a discounted rate!

The Group Theraplay book features 164 play group activities, 76 of them new in this third edition, to help you plan your sessions in early childhood, school, residential and other settings.

The third edition of the Theraplay Activities Flip Book has 46 all new activities—161 altogether, color coded by the four Theraplay dimensions (Structure, Engagement, Nurture, Challenge). Great for planning treatment sessions and for parents.

Theraplay Treatment Kit


Purchase a Theraplay Treatment kit and get everything a beginner needs to begin Theraplay sessions!

This special offer is only available for those that have attended Theraplay Level One & MIM or completed Theraplay Modules 1-6. If you have questions regarding your eligibility for purchase, please email [email protected]

Included in the kit: New Therapups, lotion, baby powder, bubbles, cotton balls, feathers and a handy carrying bag to keep your materials close during the session.

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