Theraplay is a lively, playful therapy that produces remarkable changes in the lives of children and their families in a short time. The early interaction between parent and child is the crucible in which the self and personality develop. The Theraplay treatment strategy is to replicate the early parent-child relationship in all of its aspects in an atmosphere of empathic attunement and related engagement.
There are four dimensions that Theraplay helps the parents/caregiver to focus and attune the relationship within.
The fact that the adult is in charge is reassuring, teaching the child to be in control of self, also assuring the child of order if the environment is unruly or chaotic; therefore, structure addresses inner and outer disorder. Especially useful for children who are overactive, undirected, over stimulated, or who want to be in control.
Engaging activities helps the child make a connection. The child is focused on in an intensive and personal way. Engaging activities offer pleasant stimulation, variety, and a fresh view of life, allowing a child to understand surprises can be fun and new experiences enjoyable. Engagement is necessary for all children, but especially appropriate for children who are withdrawn, avoidant of contact, or too rigidly structured.
Soothing, calming, quieting and caretaking activities make the world feel safe, predictable, warm and secure, and reassure the child that the adult provides comfort and stability. The activities meet the child’s unfulfilled younger needs; helps the child to be able to relax and allow herself/himself to be taken care of; build the inner representation that the child is lovable and valued. Again, nurture is necessary for all, especially useful for children who are overactive, aggressive, pseudo mature, avoidant of contact.
Activities that are fun and require a partnership. Help the child take mild, age appropriate risks and promote feelings of competence and confidence. It is especially useful for withdrawn, timid, or rigid children.
To find out more about the history, research and parent feedback about Theraplay please go to theraplay.org
Frequently Asked Questions