Core Concepts

Theraplay uses practitioner guidance to create playful and caring child-adult interactions that foster joyful shared experiences. These activities build attunement and understanding of each other – replicating early relationship experiences that are proven to lead to secure attachment. The interactions are personal, physical and fun – a natural way for everyone to experience the healing power of being together.

Theraplay interactions focus on four essential qualities found in healthy parent-child relationships

  • Structure: The adult, the leader in the relationship, creates organization and predictability for the child which communicates safety
  • Nurture: The adult provides caring that can calm and soothe the child in a manner that makes them feel good physically and emotionally
  • Engagement: The adult is present in a manner that the child experiences being seen, heard, felt, and accepted
  • Challenge: The adult supports the child in the acquisition and mastery of new skills, enhancing the child’s sense of competence and confidence

With the support of the Theraplay practitioner, parents learn to play with their child in a way that establishes felt safety, increases social engagement, expands arousal regulation, and supports the development of positive self-esteem for both the child and the parent.

Training in Theraplay is appropriate for anyone who is a direct service provider working with children and/or families. The training information is essential for social workers, psychologists, teachers, speech-language pathologists, occupational therapists, physical therapists and mental health professionals. For more information on our various trainings, click here.

Theraplay is Evidence-Based!


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