Who We Are

The Theraplay Institute has been an innovator and an educator in the field of children’s mental health for over 40 years.  Our clinical model, Theraplay®, has been continually updated during this time to reflect scientific advances in neurological, developmental and social-emotional challenges that affect children and their families.

Theraplay Institute staff clinicians are leading experts in the fields of attachment, parent-child relationships and trauma-informed practice.  We practice and teach others how to provide best practice therapy for problems resulting from international adoption, trauma/abuse, developmental disorders, ADD/ADHD, Reactive Attachment Disorder, medical trauma, and others.  We also help families with otherwise asymptomatic children who exhibit angry, disruptive, defiant behavior or shy, withdrawn or clingy behavior.

Initially earning our reputation for work with very young children, we have in recent years continued to innovate by combining Theraplay with other effective treatments such as Dyadic Developmental Psychotherapy (DDP), enabling us to treat a wider range of children, including adolescents.  Theraplay has also been used with groups of Alzheimer’s patients, teen mothers, mothers in substance abuse recovery programs and others.

Located in Evanston, IL we reach out to our local community with our free-to-participate Attachment Matters networking group for professionals and our low-cost and timely series of parenting seminars.

The Theraplay Institute continues to publish books and videos for both clinicians and parents.  Every three years, we also host an International Theraplay Conference in the summer, bringing together leading world experts and clinicians for a very energizing and interesting two days. We are also frequently asked to speak at major national and international conferences such as the World Association for Infant Mental Health Congress, the Association for Play Therapy, the Association for Social Work Boards and the National Association for the Education of Young Children.

We are approved continuing education providers for the American Psychological Association, the National Board of Certified Counselors and the Association for Play Therapy and various state boards of professional regulation.

Mission Statement

Building strong families and emotionally healthy children and adults through Theraplay training, treatment, advocacy, and research

Service Marks

Theraplay® is a registered service mark of The Theraplay Institute. Our mark is registered in the U.S., Canada, the United Kingdom, Europe (except for Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Benelux), Australia, Indonesia, Japan, New Zealand and South Korea. Registration is pending in Hong Kong and Chile. A service mark is a word used by an entity to identify and distinguish its services from the services of others and to indicate the source of those services. Thus, The Theraplay Institute owns the rights to the service mark “Theraplay®” and therefore has the right to control its use. What follows is a description of appropriate ways to use the Theraplay service mark.

First, any reference to Theraplay, whether describing the activities, training, or theory of the Theraplay model, should include an indication that it is a registered service mark of The Theraplay Institute. This can be accomplished by including the letter R enclosed in a circle, thus ®, next to Theraplay the first time it is used in a document and in the title of any published material. It is not necessary to use the mark every time the word Theraplay is used. However, it should be always the first time, and in the registration statement below. In addition, the following phrase should be included (possibly as a footnote): "A registered service mark of The Theraplay® Institute, Evanston, IL, USA."

Second, we encourage those who attend Theraplay training, to use the Theraplay principles and techniques in their own setting.

  • After attending the Level One training you can describe what you are doing as Theraplay principles, but cannot say that you are doing Theraplay or conducting Theraplay sessions.
  • After enrolling in the Theraplay practicum and completing Foundational or Intermediate level, you can describe your work as 'Theraplay Informed Practice'. You can say that you are working toward certification as a Certified Theraplay Practitioner
  • After completing the supervised practicum and all other requirements for Certification, they can call themselves Certified Theraplay® Practitioners and refer to their work as Theraplay®.

Once trainees become Certified, they can use the Theraplay® name in written statements about their practice. Reference to Theraplay in written statements in agency brochures, business cards, private practice advertising, and other published material should be followed by the service mark registration notice symbol ® and footnoted with the following phrase: "A registered service mark of The Theraplay® Institute, Evanston, IL, USA."

The Theraplay Institute also owns the registered service mark, Sunshine Circles® in the United States.

To report an unauthorized use of our service marks, please Contact Us!


Who We Are