Using Theraplay® Principles

"Theraplay® is a child and family therapy for building and enhancing attachment, self-esteem, trust in others, and joyful engagement. It is based on the natural patterns of playful, healthy interaction between parent and child and is personal, physical, and fun. Theraplay® interactions focus on four essential qualities found in parent-child relationships: Structure, Engagement, Nurture, and Challenge. Theraplay® sessions create an active, emotional connection between the child and parent or caregiver, resulting in a changed view of the self as worthy and loveable and of relationships as positive and rewarding." (

What will happen?

Using Theraplay® Principles I will guide the parent and child through playful, fun games, developmentally challenging activities, and tender, nurturing activities. The very act of engaging with 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. While other therapies may work primarily with the child alone or work with parents on managing the child’s behaviours, Theraplay® principles focus on the parent-child relationship as the most powerful and influential element for change.

Using Theraplay Principles

Using Theraplay® principles can enable children to participate in a therapeutic process without any need to explore previous trauma or loss.

Theraplay® Principles can be incorporated into the work I do with children where it is felt it would be helpful to the child, or to the carer/parent child relationship.


Children of any age, who are withdrawn, passive or depressed, children who are overactive or aggressive, children on the autistic spectrum, and those who are afraid of relating or attaching because of adoption, losses, family separation, or trauma can be helped by using Theraplay® principles. This approach is particularly effective for young children, but teenagers can get just as good results. It is great for children who are struggling with low self-esteem, low confidence, children who struggle with blame and shame and children with an attachment disorder.