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 lovable and of relationships as positive and rewarding. In treatment, the Theraplay® therapist guides the parent and child through playful, fun games, developmentally challenging activities, and tender, nurturing activities. The very act of engaging each other in this way helps the parent regulate the child’s behavior and communicate love, joy, and safety to the child. It helps the child feel secure, cared for, connected and worthy. We call this ‘building relationships from the inside out.’
We are currently implementing Theraplay®-based activities in all programs at the Maine Children's Home for Little Wanderers through attachment work between caregivers and children in both our Adoption and Counseling programs, groups based on Theraplay® principles with all children that attend any program on campus.
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