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Theraplay® is a child and family therapy for enhancing attachment, self-esteem, trust in others and joyful engagement. It is based on the natural patterns of 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 and emotional connection between the child and parents, resulting in a changed view of the child as worthy and lovable and of relationships as positive and rewarding.


Theraplay intervention will often begin with as assessment called the MIM: Marschak Interaction Method. During the MIM you and your child would usually be asked to carry out a series of simple tasks and the session would be video taped. At a later date we would arrange to go through the video footage with you. This is for the purpose of enhancing your relationship with your child and enables you to look at the strengths of your relationship particularly in the areas of Structure, engagement, nurture and challenge and enable us to plan effective therapy.


You the parent, will play a major role in Theraplay® treatment. However, at the beginning of treatment, the Theraplay® therapist will be the more active member of the team and initiate the interactions for the following reasons:


  • To provide a model for a new ways of interacting for you and your child

  • To get past the child’s initial resistance so that your first experience with the new kind of interaction is positive.

  • To help you feel more sure of yourself and comfortable with sensory based games.

Theraplay can involve quite a bit of tactile contact, which needs to be carefully approached. If your child feels uncomfortable with physical contact, I will be sensitive to this.



The Theraplay® Website provides further information.  It is a wonderful intervention for children who are in Looked After Care or who are adopted but it is also of great benefit for those who have had their attachment interrupted for any reason, or for parents who themselves have had a difficult start, or who have had illness or separations to deal with.

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