What Is Theraplay?

Theraplay is an engaging, fun, relationship-based play therapy that helps children form secure attachments with their caregivers. This helps children navigate the world, cultivate empathy for others and experience authentic joy. It is suitable for all ages of children, from infants up to young adults.

Theraplay is interactive, but paced by the adult participant (first the therapist, then the caregiver). It promotes attunement and empathy by teaching children concrete skills, such as taking turns, awareness of other people’s rhythms and cooperation.

To be most effective, Theraplay uses these four dimensions:

Structure: Parents are trustworthy and predictable and provide safety, organization and regulation.

Engagement: Parents provide attuned, playful experiences that create a strong connection and shared joy.

Nurture: Parents respond empathically to the child’s attachment and regulatory needs by being warm, tender, calming and comforting. They provide a safe haven and help the child develop feelings of self-worth.

Challenge: While providing security, parents encourage the child to strive, take risks, explore, feel confident and enjoy a sense of empowerment.

Who Can Benefit From Theraplay?

Children of all ages with a wide range of social difficulties, emotional challenges, grief or loss, and developmental challenges can all benefit from Theraplay. If your child is exhibiting signs of withdrawal, depression or excessive fearfulness, or externalized behaviors, such as acting-out, anger and non-compliance, Theraplay can help him or her better understand emotions and learn to express them in healthier ways. Theraplay works in blended families, with foster children or adopted children and with families who have a new baby arriving and an older sibling acting out. Theraplay can also help you, as a parent, play with your child in meaningful and healthy ways. 

I invite you to call me at 323-539-7717 for a free, 15-minute phone consultation. You can ask any questions you have about theraplay treatment and my practice. Schedule an appointment today.