Theraplay is a type of adult – child play therapy used to strengthen attachments between parents and children. It is based on the natural patterns of playful and sensitive care-giving with which a ‘good-enough’ parent would nourish a young baby. Adopted children would rarely have received this type of caregiving in their early life, so, Theraplay gives adoptive parents a chance to recreate positive experiences through nurturing play. The aim is to help children have fun, learn to trust adults, feel safe in the world and see themselves as lovable people.
Theraplay can help children with insecure attachment histories who may display a range of behaviours, including being withdrawn, depressed, fearful, and shy as well as acting out, angry, non-compliant children. Children with trauma histories, regulatory problems, ADHD, autistic spectrum disorders and developmental delays
It also benefits older children with attachment difficulties who need heaps of nurture but with whom parents are often less intimate and less playful than with older children. Theraplay enables child and parent to accept the need for regression.
Theraplay is a directive therapy, yet it only has three rules: no hurts, the adult is in charge, everybody has fun.
Theraplay is a child and family based therapy that builds attachment, self esteem, trust and engagement. Theraplay interventions are based on the natural playful interaction between parent and child.
In treatment the Theraplay therapist guides the child and parent through fun games that encourage and create an attachment, helping the child feel secure, cared for and worthy.
Theraplay is a suitable intervention for all children and has a proven evidence base for children who have experienced trauma, abuse and neglect.