Copyright 2018 Time2Shine Play Therapy Service. All rights reserved.


Play Therapy Service


Theraplay Informed Practice?

Theraplay is a proactive, intensive, relationship focused parent-child treatment model.  The emphasis is on the natural patterns of interaction between parent and child, the kind of interaction that leads to secure attachment and lifelong mental health.  Parents are actively involved in the treatment to enable them to take home the new ways of interacting with their child.  The therapist and parents work together to engage the child in a healthier relationship.  The treatment involves respectful, emotionally attuned, interactive physical play.  The principles of Theraplay are based on attachment theory, intersubjectivity (shared state of action and behaviour in a face to face encounter), brain research and the importance of play.  

The Treatment model

​The Theraplay treatment model aims to replicate the interactions that occur within a healthy parent-infant relationship, as much as possible.  Therefore the range of activities that make up the daily interactions between a mother and her baby can fall into four dimensions.  These include:

'Structure: Parents are trustworthy and predictable, and provide safety, organisation, and regulation.

Engagement: Parents provide attuned, playful experiences that create a strong connection, an optimal level of arousal, and shared joy.

Nurture: Parents respond empathically to a child's attachment and regulatory needs by being warm, tender, calming, and comforting.  They provide a safe haven and create feelings of self-worth.

Challenge: While providing a secure base, parents encourage the child to strive a bit, to take risks, to explore, to feel confident and to enjoy mastery' (Theraplay, 3rd ediction, 2010 p.21).

​Who would benefit from Theraplay?​​

There are a wide variety of children who may benefit from participating in Theraplay and these include children who experience

  • ​Attachment insecurity 
  • Complex trauma
  • Loss and separation
  • ​ Developmental delay
  • ​Withdrawn, depressed, fearful, shy
  • ​Acting out, angry, non-compliant
  • ​Impulsive, hyperactive

Adopters, foster carers, SGO Carers would benefit from this approach, as well as parents experiencing blocked care 

​MIM (Marschak Interaction Method) Assessment

​This is an assessment tool that is unique to Theraplay and is the basis of the treatment planning process.  It is a structured technique for observing and assessing the relationship between two people (their interactions NOT their attachment).  The assessment involves the participants interacting and following a number of tasks which are comprised of the four dimensions mentioned above.  This assessment is video taped and lasts between 30-45 minutes.  The analysis of this will focus on strengths and needs of the adult, the child and their relationship.  This is an essential tool when planning treatment and helping to determine how to help families strengthen their relationships.

​Other Uses of a MIM

  • ​​They can aid in helping to determine appropriateness of custody arrangements, reunifications, adoption/fostering placements.
  • Help parents to reflect and understand their relationship with their child, and increase empathy.

For more information call 07717660810, or send an email to