top of page


Go to Stephanie's page

Authored by Stephanie Maharaj
Canadian Certified Counsellor (CCC)

The parent-child relationship is the primary focus in Theraplay. Our model for treatment is based on attachment research that demonstrates that sensitive, responsive caregiving and playful interaction nourish a child’s brain, form positive internal representations of self and others, and have a lifelong impact on behavior and feelings. The goal of treatment is to create (or fine-tune) a secure, attuned, joyful relationship between a child and his or her primary caregivers. In all cases, we bring child and parents together in sessions to develop and practice the playful, attuned, responsive interaction that characterize a healthy, secure relationship.


We prepare parents for their active role in treatment by establishing a safe and collaborative relationship with them as well as by helping them reflect on and come to terms with those aspects of their own experiences and attitudes that might get in the way of being able to respond sensitively to their child’s needs. Through discussions, observation, and role play, we help them gain more empathy for and understanding of their child. At the same time, we work with the child to help her experience a different kind of relationship—one that is non congruent with, and therefore challenges, the problematic one that she has come to expect. A distinctive aspect of the Theraplay method is that we bring parents and child together to practice a new and healthier way of interacting. The goal of treatment is to establish or fine-tune a trusting emotional relationship between the child and her parents; this will involve a positive change in the child’s internal working model of herself and what she can expect in interaction with her parents

What Is Theraplay?

Our services. Theraplay. (2021, August 11). Retrieved February 16, 2022, from

History + Research of Theraplay

Our services. Theraplay. (2021, August 11). Retrieved February 16, 2022, from

Theraplay is a dyadic child and family therapy that has been recognized by the Association of Play Therapy as one of seven seminal psychotherapies for children. Developed over 50 years ago, and practiced around the world, Theraplay was developed to support healthy child and caregiver attachment. Strong attachment between the child and the important adults in their life has long been believed to be the basis of lifelong good mental health as well as the mainstay of resilience in the face of adversity. Modern brain research and the field of neuroscience have shown that attachment is the way in which children come to understand, trust and thrive in their world.

Who is Theraplay Appropriate For?

Our services. Theraplay. (2021, August 11). Retrieved February 16, 2022, from

Theraplay is appropriate for children of all ages, including babies, and when combined with other techniques, it is a great therapy for teenagers too. With Theraplay, family interaction patterns have improved and school professionals and pediatricians have reported positive changes in children’s behavior, self-esteem, and connections with others. Theraplay can help children who have experienced trauma begin to heal, can help children with developmental disorders feel more comfortable with social interaction, and can help families to experience happiness and connection.

Theraplay specializes in helping children with:

  • Shy, withdrawn, or clingy behavior

  • Acting-out, angry, or disruptive behavior

  • Defiant, oppositional or controlling behavior

  • Behavioral problems at school or with peers

  • Attention Deficit Disorder or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder

  • Developmental disorders such as Asperger’s Syndrome and Autism Spectrum Disorders

  • A history of trauma, abuse, or neglect

  • Attachment disorder due to adoption or multiple changes in living arrangements

  • A history of social deprivation due to living in an institution

  • Psychological trauma due to medical care or serious illness

Process of Theraplay

Our services. Theraplay. (2021, August 11). Retrieved February 16, 2022, from

Your first appointment is an information-gathering interview, preferably with both parents. Next, we ask you and your child to complete a set of simple tasks together, such as make two toy animals play with each other. This is called the Marschak Interaction Method (MIM) assessment. The MIM is videotaped, and your therapist will look at the video in preparation for your next appointment at which you and your therapist will discuss the interaction between you and your child and the therapist’s recommendation for treatment.

For more information about Theraplay contact our client relations team.

bottom of page