Theraplay is a child and family therapy that is used to build and enhance attachment, self-esteem, trust in others, and joyful engagement. It is based on the natural patterns of playful and healthy interaction between parent and child. It is a personal, physical and fun therapeutic approach. Theraplay sessions create an active, emotional connection between the child and caregiver, resulting in a changed view of the self as worthy and lovable. Theraplay interactions focus on four essential qualities found in parent-child relationships: Structure, Engagement, Nurture, and Challenge and helps create a positive and rewarding relationship.
In treatment, the Theraplay therapist helps guide the parent and child through playful, fun and developmentally challenging activities. The therapist also helps foster the tenderness and nurturance in the relationship between caregiver and child through play-based activities. The very act of engaging each other in this way helps the parent regulate the child’s behaviour and communicate love, joy, and safety to the child. It helps the child feel secure, cared for, connected and worthy.
Adapted from the Theraplay Institute webiste: http://www.theraplay.org/