The information in this program outline is provided by the program representative and edited by the CEBC staff. This program has been rated by the CEBC in the following Topic Areas:

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About This Program

Target Population: Children ages 0-18 who exhibit behavioral problems and their caregiver (biological, adoptive, or foster)

For children/adolescents ages: 0 – 18

For parents/caregivers of children ages: 0 – 18

Brief Description

Theraplay is a structured play therapy for children and their parents. Its goal is to enhance attachment, self-esteem, trust in others, and joyful engagement. The sessions are designed to be fun, physical, personal, and interactive and replicate the natural, healthy interaction between parents and young children. Children have been referred for a wide variety of problems including withdrawn or depressed behavior, overactive-aggressive behavior, temper tantrums, phobias, and difficulty socializing and making friends. Children also are referred for various behavior and interpersonal problems resulting from learning disabilities, developmental delays, and pervasive developmental disorders. Because of its focus on attachment and relationship development, Theraplay has been used for many years with foster and adoptive families.

Program Goals:

The goals of Theraplay are:

  • Increase child's sense of felt safety/security
  • Increase child's capacity to regulate affect
  • Increase child's sense of positive body image
  • Ensure that caregiver is able to set clear expectations and limits
  • Ensure that caregiver’s leadership is balanced with warmth and support
  • Increase caregiver's capacity to view the child empathically
  • Increase caregiver's capacity for reflective function
  • Increase parent and child's experience of shared joy
  • Increase parent's ability to help child with stressful events

Contact Information

Catherine Tucker
Agency/Affiliation: The Theraplay Institute
Phone: (847) 256-7334
Fax: (847) 256-7370

Date Research Evidence Last Reviewed by CEBC: May 2017

Date Program Content Last Reviewed by Program Staff: March 2016

Date Program Originally Loaded onto CEBC: December 2009