THERAPLAY® is an Attachment-Based therapeutic approach using structured play to help children and their families. It has been used effectively since it was first developed in the late 1960s by Ann Jernberg and others at the Theraplay Institute in Chicago. Theraplay has been utilized in schools, day care centers, child guidance clinics, speech clinics, and in private practice in the United States, Canada, Australia, Austria, England, Finland, Germany, Japan, South Korea, Sweden, and other countries around the world. Its primary applications have been with children who have behavior problems (particularly withdrawn and overactive children), speech and language problems, physical challenges, children with Autism Spectrum Disorders, and children experiencing difficulties related to adoption. In recent years, Theraplay principles have also found applications in geriatric settings.
THERAPLAY looks to healthy parent-child interaction as a guide for helping
understand children's needs and potentials for positive emotional
development. Theraplay sessions are active, intense,
physical, nurturing, and fun. Parents usually are included
in the process from the beginning, and often join in the play
sessions later. In school settings, Theraplay can be incorprated in individual and group counseling as well as in typical clasroom settings to promote prosocial behavior. Theraplay experiences are structured,
nurturing, engaging and challenging. For professionals as well as clients, theraplay can be refreshing and rewarding because of its emphasis on engaging, healthy and constructive social interactions.
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Jernberg, Ann. (1982). Therapeutic use of sensory motor play. In C. Schaefer, & K. O'Connor (Eds.). Handbook of Play Therapy. NY: John Wiley, 128-147.
Booth, P. and Jernberg, A. (2010). Theraplay: Helping Parents and Children Build Better Relationships through Attachment-Based Play(3rd edition) CA: Jossey-Bass.
Jernberg, A. & Jernberg, E. (l993). Family Theraplay for the family tyrant. In T. Kottman & C.E. Schaefer (Eds.), Play Therapy in Action: A Casebook for Practitioners. New York: Jason Aronson.
Koller, T.J. (1994). Adolescent Theraplay. In K.J. O'Connor & C.E. Schaefer (Eds.), Handbook of Play Therapy, Volume Two: Advances and Innovations. New York: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
Myrow, D. L. (2000) Applications for the attachment-fostering aspects of Theraplay. In E. Munns (ed.), Theraplay: Innovations in Attachment-Enhancing Play Therapy. Northvale, NJ: Jason Aronson, 55-77.