Therapy Spotlight: Theraplay®

Theraplay® – Play Therapy for Adolescents

Recently Hillside began its newest undertaking in therapeutic treatment. Our continuing mission to provide innovative and effective care led us to seek and host training in Theraplay®, an interactive treatment for children and their families.

What Is Theraplay®?

Theraplay® is a promising clinical treatment that has been shown to be extremely effective in working with children, adolescents, and families. Theraplay® is an engaging, playful, relationship-focused treatment method that is interactive, physical and fun.

Theraplay® involves parents and children playing together under the guidance of a trained therapist. The playful activities they engage in are designed to build self-esteem and provide challenges while enhancing the emotional connection between parent and child. Theraplay® is divided into nurturing activities and challenging ones for the child.

A child gains self-confidence and a feeling of security through Theraplay®. He or she learns by experience that parent-child relationships can be rewarding and positive. Parents gain new insights into the child’s emotional state and learn new ways to demonstrate their nurturing.

Benefits of Theraplay®

The model is based on attachment theory and the goal is to facilitate healthy, attuned interactions between parents and children — the kind of interaction that leads to secure attachment and lifelong mental health. It is an intensive, relatively short-term approach that involves parents actively in sessions with their children to create or fine-tune the parent-child relationship.

All children can benefit from Theraplay® — especially if they are withdrawn, depressed or passive. Theraplay® is a safe way to draw children out in the context of their relationship with a parent and help them form a healthy attachment.

Children who are overactive and aggressive also benefit from Theraplay® by focusing on the positive nature of their parent-child relationship. Improvements in this relationship can help calm behaviors and reduce emotional turmoil. The emotional turbulence of trauma is also soothed by Theraplay®. Children do not need to understand what happened to them, or why, to benefit from the emotional healing this model can provide.

The fun and engaging activities in Theraplay® help young children and those who are resistant to other therapy models. Language development is not an important factor in the success of Theraplay®. It can change perceptions and behaviors in children who are non-verbal.

Is Theraplay® the Right Choice?

A strong, healthy relationship with a parent can be the basis of a child’s development of self-esteem and emotional balance in adulthood. While it cannot cure everything, there is no harm associated with improving the parent-child relationship. Theraplay® is a treatment modality that is accessible to children of all ages and levels of cognitive functioning.

Children who are recovering from the emotional scars of trauma can be especially vulnerable in relationships. Theraplay® is a good way for the non-involved parent to help heal the child from trauma that may have been inflicted by the other parent or another adult relative.

When children are dealing with serious problems, fun activities in daily life are often eliminated. Theraplay® can help add some joy back into life and show children and parents that it is okay to play sometimes. Happiness provides some healing.

Theraplay® at Hillside

Hillside includes Theraplay® as part of our mental health services in Atlanta, Georgia. It is one of the unique and innovative features we include to provide children and families with the best possible outcomes for the mental disorders they face. Hillside mental health centers in Georgia are exclusively focused on behavioral issues in children and adolescents aged 7-21.

An interactive therapy such as Theraplay® gives us another opportunity to bring parents and children together in the healing process. Contact us to learn more about Theraplay today!

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