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What is Theraplay?



Working as a social and emotional and behavioural specialist, I would like to share in more detail the areas of my expertise. For today's blog this is going to be Theraplay.


Theraplay is a child and family therapy that focuses on improving the child’s behavioural and emotional challenges through the parent-child relationship. In a session, the therapist guides the parent and child through playful games, challenging activities, and nurturing interactions. Theraplay helps the child experience previously difficult interactions in new ways, helps overcome fear and increase trust, and creates a positive change in the child’s sense of self. Theraplay helps the parent be attuned to the child, understand the motives of the child’s behaviour and the underlying needs, manage environmental stimuli, and carefully challenge the child in a safe place. While other therapies may work primarily with the child alone or work with parents on managing the child’s behaviours, Theraplay focuses on the parent-child relationship as the most powerful and influential element for change.


How does Theraplay differ from other types of child therapy?

- It directly involves the parents or caregivers - It is active, interpersonal and fun—not “talk therapy” - Progress can be made quickly - It focuses on the “here and now,” not what happened in the past -Since it does not involve verbal or symbolic understanding, it can be used with very young children, children with developmental delays and children with traumatic experiences early in life - The “Theraplay way” flows easily from the clinical setting to the home for long-term results - Theraplay treatment is appropriate for all ages—infancy through adolescence


Theraplay has been used successfully to help children experiencing a variety of challenges:

- Acting out, angry or disruptive behaviour - Defiant or controlling behaviour - Shy, withdrawn or clingy behaviour -Depression -Anxiety and Selective Mutism- Autism, Asperger’s Syndrome and other Developmental disorders -Disorders Attention and hyperactivity concerns - Social interaction - A history of trauma or neglect - Attachment issues due to adoption or multiple family placements -Medical trauma


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