Theraplay is a child and family therapy for building and enhancing attachment. It’s directive – activities are directed by the adults (at first by the therapist and then by the parent). The parent is always involved in the therapy and the aim is to tailor specific activities and play to regulate the child and strengthen the parent/child relationship. Theraplay is a short-term, attachment-based intervention utilizing non-symbolic, interactional play to re-create experiences of secure attachment formation between parent and child. The interactive sequences are carefully structured by the therapist to make possible the pleasure of being together and shared enjoyment in the child's mastery. These elements of shared positive emotions may be crucial in restructuring the attachment relationship towards greater organisation and security. Theraplay’s Core Concepts consist of interaction, here and now experience, adult guidance, attunement, right brain language, multi-sensory experience, and playfulness as well as the Theraplay Dimensions of Structure, Engagement, Nurture and Challenge.

Theraplay interventions promote secure attachments and therefore increase emotional literacy and self esteem.Theraplay is an approach to therapy that addresses the attachment relationship between children and their caregivers. It is an adult-lead approach and works on the principle that caregivers can help children develop secure attachments through structured playfulness and careful guidance. Play that sends the message that the adult is a safe and caring example encourages feelings of stability, and helps to free children from anxiety and mistrust. This in turn, develops children’s ability to self-regulate feelings, and positively impacts on self-esteem and confidence. The Theraplay model is centered around the four primary dimensions of Structure, Engagement, Nurture, and Challenge. It is a responsive and attuned way of playing with children that develops upon the caregiver’s strengths. Younger children in particular seem to thoroughly enjoy the different aspects that Theraplay has to offer, and parents often also find it a fun and refreshing way of re-engaging with their child.