What is Theraplay ® and How Does it Work?
Theraplay ® is a relational, play-based treatment approach that aims to address behavioural, emotional, and developmental concerns with children through strengthening the parent-child relationship. Theraplay® maintains that the parent-child relationship is the most important relationship in a child’s life and the foundation for all other relationships. When a parent is attuned and responsive to their child’s needs, the child is more likely to develop the capacity to regulate their emotions and form a positive sense of self-worth. This will lead to happier, healthier children who can handle adversity, solve challenges, and form meaningful relationships.

What Does a Theraplay® Session Entail?
A Theraplay® session is about parent and child being together, in the present moment, in a connected way. A trained Theraplay® practitioner will guide the parent and child through a series of playful, engaging, developmentally challenging, and nurturing activities for 20-30 minutes. These interactions help the parent attune to their child’s needs, regulate the child’s behaviour, and communicate love, joy, and safety to the child. In turn, this helps the child feel secure, cared for, connected, and worthy. The practitioner then spends 20-30 minutes debriefing the session with the parent and discussing how to implement the Theraplay® approach into everyday parenting.

Who Benefits from Theraplay®?

  • Acting-out, angry or disruptive behaviour
  • Defiant or controlling behaviour
  • Shy, withdrawn or clingy behaviour
  • Attachment issues
  • A history of trauma or neglect
  • Autism Spectrum Disorders
  • Families managing the multiple stressors of everyday life
  • Parents/caregivers who are feeling disconnected from their child
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For more information, visit
The Theraplay® Institute