Theraplay® is heavily informed by John Bowlby’s attachment theory. One of Bowlby’s foundational ideas was the concept of internal working models.
In a nutshell, a child’s experiences with their primary caregivers in the early years of life provide a template for interpreting and understanding their world.
Sensitive and responsive caregiving (along with playful interactions) teach children that they are worthy of care, that they can ask for their needs to be met and that they can count on their caregivers to meet those needs.
The focus of treatment in Theraplay® is the bond between parent and child.
The therapist functions as a coach to help “create or fine-tune a secure, attuned, joyful relationship” between a child and his/her primary caregivers that can have a positive, lifelong impact on emotions and behavior (Booth & Jernberg, 2010, p. 4).
Guided by the therapist, parent and child experience interactions in session designed to build momentum toward and become the basis of a healthier and more secure relationship for both. It’s a win- win situation.
Here at The Refuge Center for Counseling, we are committed to journeying with parents and cheering them on as they strive to do their very best to raise happy, healthy and secure children. Please call us if you have any questions about this effective form of therapy.
Booth, P. B., & Jernberg, A. M. (2010). Theraplay: Helping parents and children build better relationships through attachment-based play (3rd ed.). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.