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Module 1

August 9 @ 8:00 am - 11:15 pm CDT

CEs Available: 6    |   Two Day Training      |   Virtual

Theraplay® is a child and family modality of play therapy for building and enhancing attachment, self-esteem, trust in others, and joyful engagement. Rated as “effective” by the SAMHSA National Registry for Evidenced–Based Programs and Practices, it is based on the natural patterns of playful, healthy interaction between parent and child and is personal, physical, and fun. Theraplay play therapy interactions focus on four essential qualities found in parent-child relationships: Structure, Engagement, Nurture, and Challenge. Theraplay play therapy sessions create an active, emotional connection between the child and parent or caregiver, resulting in a changed view of the self as worthy and lovable and of relationships as positive and rewarding. Theraplay helps you create a playful atmosphere where children are happy to experience the intervention, thus allowing them to quickly become fully engaged in the therapeutic process. Theraplay also involves the parents in an immediate and positive way, giving them experiences of success and pride in their children so they can feel motivated to support them. With the child, the parent, and the therapist, all on the same team, you have a winning combination for positive and lasting change. The first of the six-part training is designed to teach participants the fundamentals of the Theraplay model. For more information and learning objectives for Theraplay Module 1: Theraplay Theory & Concepts visit this page.



Additional Information


This virtual two day training will take place August 9-10, 2023 from 8:00am-11:15am Central Time. View this module’s detailed agenda.


Dafna Lender, MSW, LCSW, is a child and family therapist with over 20 years of experience. She is a certified trainer, supervisor, and consultant in Theraplay® and Dyadic Developmental Psychotherapy, and coauthor of Theraplay: The Practitioner’s Guide. Read full bio.

  • Provides an overview of the leading theories in mental health today and how they apply to and support Theraplay specifically.
  • Outlines how attachments are formed, what contributes to building healthy attachment and what experiences challenge attachment.
  • Explains how a child’s Inner Working Model is developed and how that IWM informs all future relationships.
  • Provides an overview of each dimension of Theraplay, including how Structure, Engagement, Nurture and Challenge are defined and used in providing mental health support to families.
  • Explains how attachment affects regulation and illustrates the power of attuned relationship in expanding a child’s ability to self regulate
  • Video of Theraplay treatment with many different clients in addition to the demonstration family

Learning Objectives
  1. Differentiate three play, attachment-based theories and how they support the work of Theraplay
  2. Distinguish how children with various attachment styles present in play therapy sessions
  3. Name the three characteristics of healthy attachment
  4. Identify the four dimensions of Theraplay, a modality of play therapy
  5. Describe how healthy attachment influences self-regulation
  6. Demonstrate one play-based activity from each dimension: Structure, Engagement, Nurture and Challenge

Who Should Attend?

People who work with children and families in many different capacities will benefit from training programs offered by The Theraplay Institute. Visit our Who Should Attend page for more information. This course’s Content Level is Intermediate.


View this module’s bibliography for books and other materials referenced in the development of the content for this program.


For information about our CE process, cancellation policy, and how to contact us with questions and concerns visit our FAQ page. Attendance of the entirety of a program (in-person or virtual) is required in order to receive continuing education or a letter of completion.

There is no conflict of interest or commercial support for this program.

Registration Terms and Conditions


August 9
8:00 am - 11:15 pm CDT
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