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Theraplay is a child and family therapy that has as its goal enhancing and building attachment, self-esteem, trust in others, and joyful engagement. The principles underlying Theraplay are that, in healthy relationships, there should be natural patterns of playful, healthy interaction between parent and child. The goal of Theraplay would be a changed view of the self as worthy and lovable and of relationships as positive and rewarding. It is one type of play therapy that can be used with children.

History of Theraplay[edit]

In 1967, Ann Jernberg, Ph.D., became the Director of Psychological Services for the new Chicago Head Start program. She brought in Phyllis Booth, MA as one of her assistants. She and her team were to identify children in need of psychological services and refer them to existing treatment centers. However, there were very few resources for children's mental health at the time, and the existing ones could not possibly handle the hundreds of children identified as needing help. Jernberg set out to create her own program that would treat children at the Head Start centers, rather than at outlying clinics, and could use paraprofessionals supervised by mental health professionals to do the actual work. The result was a model based upon healthy parent-infant interaction which borrowed elements from the work of Austin Des Lauriers and Viola Brody. From Des Laurier she took the idea of actively engaging the child in an intimate environment that focused on the here and now. From Brody, she adopted the nurturing relationship between child and therapist, including touch, rocking and singing. Ernestine Thomas, a talented early therapist, contributed the focus on being strongly affirmative and hopeful about the child's health, potential and strength.

The Jernberg team took the model and recruited people with a lively, playful ability to engage children. They trained and supervised them to go into the schools to work individually and intensively with the children who needed help. When they ran into resistance to this unorthodox method, they produced films to demonstrate its effectiveness. The Theraplay Institute was formed in 1971, and people familiar with the Head Start work began referring children for treatment. In 1976, Theraplay was registered as a service mark to protect the integrity of Theraplay treatment and training around the world. In 1979, Jernberg published Theraplay: A New Treatment Using Structured Play for Problem Children and Their Families.

In the 1980s the focus became increasingly on training others to use Theraplay. The Theraplay Institute reached out beyond the Chicago area to train mental health professionals in other areas of the United States and Canada. Today, there are chartered Theraplay Associations in Germany and Finland, and an official Alliance for Theraplay in South Korea. People from over 28 other countries have been trained in Theraplay. Theraplay therapists are working with Aids orphans in Botswana, victims of war and natural disasters all over the world, and many other humanitarian projects.

Phyllis Booth published the second edition of the Theraplay book in 1999, and in 2010 the third edition of Theraplay: Helping Parents and Children Build Better Relationships Through Attachment-Based Play. Theraplay has evolved since its Head Start roots to focus on the child-caregiver relationship, which has led to an increased emphasis on secure attachment and affect attunement (D.N. Stern, A.N. Schore, M. Ainsworth).

See also[edit]


Original courtesy of Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Theraplay — Please support Wikipedia.
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1873 videos foundNext > 


A documentary short about the origins and benefits of Theraplay. Features interviews from key members of the Theraplay institute: Phyllis Booth, Sandra ...

You and Your Young Child - Theraplay

Host Dana Stanton discusses Theraplay with guest Kris Schulte.

Volcano Breathing & Theraplay Activities: Bubble Tennis, Peanut Butter & Jelly

Theraplay is a type of child and family therapy with a goal of building attachments and relationships. These activities are broken down into four dimensions: ...


THERAPLAY® is an Attachment-Based therapeutic approach using structured play to help children and their families. It has been used effectively since it was ...

Theraplay: Gretta's Progress

Gretta's mom, Katie, anticipates running, jumping, and kicking a ball in her daughter's once uncertain future.

Theraplay, Inc Video

Take a glimpse inside our pediatric therapy company to see how we provide physical, occupational and speech therapy to amazing kids!!!

Theraplay: Kamdyn's Story

Kamdyn has positively transformed into a different child while at Theraplay.


מישל רוזנברג. פרויקט גמר עיצוב תעשייתי מכליל. מכללה אקדמית הדסה ירושלים.

Theraplay by Phyllis Booth

Theraplay is a structured approach which promotes the relationship between child and parent through fostering warm, structured, nurturing and engaging ...

Advanced Theraplay

Dr Susan Bundy - Myrow & Dr David Myrow explain the content of the Advanced Theraplay course, which highlights the Marschak Interaction Method (MIM).

1873 videos foundNext > 

119 news items


Fri, 21 Aug 2015 08:10:39 -0700

Tickets for a charity raffle for the Theraplay Organization will be sold on site for $2 each with the grand prize being a twin-sized Pikachu bed. “When we started this event we kept it free to the public because it was meant to be an event for Pokémon ...

Evanston Now

Evanston Now
Thu, 13 Aug 2015 04:15:00 -0700

The Theraplay Institute hosts an all-day workshop for adoptive and foster parents on managing the challenges unique to adoptive and foster families on Sept. 19 in Evanston. Dafna Lender, LCSW, Certified Theraplay Therapist, Trainer and Supervisor ...

Jakartakita.com (Siaran Pers) (Blog)

Jakartakita.com (Siaran Pers) (Blog)
Tue, 25 Aug 2015 20:22:30 -0700

Terapi yang kedua adalah theraplay. Theraplay adalah terapi bermain yang dilakukan oleh orang tua bersama anak. Tujuannya untuk mendekatkan hubungan emosional antara anak dan orang tua melalui aktivitas bermain yang menyenangkan.
BBC News
Wed, 09 May 2012 01:39:41 -0700

Parents of children with special needs in Sussex have raised concerns that a support service could be closed down. West Sussex County Council is reviewing its contribution to Theraplay, a service which provides physiotherapy and speech and language ...
Science 2.0
Fri, 26 Jun 2015 06:30:00 -0700

Examples of interventions include the use of emotion coaching (a way of communicating during behavioural incidents), nurture groups and theraplay, a form of family therapy designed to reinforce attachment between parents and children. These pilot ...
Havelock News
Mon, 22 Jun 2015 06:46:18 -0700

The first time Gabriel Gatto went to Lick This, a new play place for special needs children in Havelock, he was a little shy. When he goes now, he takes off his shoes and heads right for the block table filled with interesting, colorful and fuzzy play ...

PsychCentral.com (blog)

PsychCentral.com (blog)
Sun, 24 May 2015 17:32:20 -0700

Maybe you are a parent of a child with a diagnosis, such as an Autism Spectrum Disorder or a learning disability. Maybe you are a professional working with this type of population. Maybe you are a parent struggling with getting your child (typically ...

Nevada Herald

Nevada Herald
Tue, 24 Feb 2015 22:56:15 -0800

Baker is now a licensed therapist at Heartland Behavioral Health Services, where he participates in art therapy and "theraplay" for individuals and families, treating behavioral issues and disorders. "I wouldn't trade my job for the world," Baker says.

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