Icon: Facebook Page    Icon: Twitter    Icon: Vimeo    Icon: Mailing List

Attachment Focused Play Therapy



Available on backorder

SKU: RNV052365 Categories: ,


Attachment Focused Play Therapy: Theraplay® Techniques to Transform Your Most Challenging, Resistant & Dysregulated Children

Are you at a loss with how to work with children who don’t respond to traditional treatment? Have you already tried behavioral approaches, CBT, praise, sticker charts, consequences, coping skills and just about everything else? If what you have been doing isn’t working – it’s time to try Theraplay and get to the root of the issue. The playful, fun interventions are engaging and effective, revealing how children really feel about themselves and allowing for self-expression in a safe and age appropriate manner.

Theraplay reaches your most resistant, dysregulated and hard to manage children and rapidly transforms them into calmer, more cooperative kids so you can get the important therapeutic work done! You can create an atmosphere where children are happy to come to therapy and become quickly and fully engaged in the therapeutic process.

By using the natural patterns of playful, healthy interactions between parent and child you will:

  • Strengthen attachment
  • Create joyful engagement
  • Increase self-esteem
  • Build trust in others

Theraplay also involves parents in an immediate and positive way, giving them experiences of success and pride in their children while repairing broken relationships. With the child, the parent and you the therapist all on the same team, you have a winning combination for positive and lasting change. Theraplay works where most other approaches fail.

Learn evidence-based activities to break through resistance and harness the power of the child-parent relationship to make rapid and dramatic changes. Take home strategies that will immediately transform children from aggressive and uncooperative to focused and relaxed.

End the frustration… reach kids with Theraplay!

Appropriate for children of all ages from infants through teenagers.

Format: DVD Video – 4+ hours

Length: 5 hr 57 min

Details: Multi-disc DVD recording with electronic manual and instructions.


  1. Establish the purpose of each of the four Dimensions of Relationship to improve treatment outcomes.
  2. Assess behavior to determine which of the four dimensions a child needs help with to best inform your choice of treatment interventions.
  3. Implement one activity from each dimension to improve client engagement.
  4. Explore interventions that focus and calm an overactive/chaotic child in a clinical setting.
  5. Recommend interventions that turn a child’s resistance into cooperation and can be put to practical use in-session.
  6. Utilize techniques to effectively capture a child’s attention in-session.
  7. Specify methods for reengaging an angry/discouraged parent to improve child’s level of functioning.


  • Look at problematic behavior through a new lens
  • Respond to the emotional needs underneath the behaviors
  • Address behavioral problems, gain connection and cooperation
  • Build and enhance attachment, self-esteem, trust & engagement
  • Build a positive parent/child relationship
  • Build relationships from the inside out
  • Assess for needs of structure, engagement, nurture & challenge

Relationship Building Interactions That Really Work for Children with:

  • Aggressive/defiant behavior
  • Anxiety
  • Shame
  • Trauma/Abuse/Neglect
  • Attachment disorders
  • Autism Spectrum Disorder
  • Low self-esteem
  • Withdrawn behavior
  • Hyperactivity

Building Structure for the Overactive Child

  • Decrease arguments and gain cooperation using playful strategies
  • Help children feel calmer using movement & touch
  • Organize a chaotic child through the use of rhythm and voice tone
  • Help child stay focused by eliminating distractions
  • Video case example: Transformation from a disruptive, controlling, intense child to a very cooperative child

Engaging the Disconnected Child

  • Capture and keep a child’s attention
  • Make sense of non-verbal communication & get kids talking
  • Turn passivity into cooperation by accepting
  • Create and solidify connection by fostering moments of joy
  • Increase empathy through eye contact, touch and turn taking
  • Video case example: Watch an angry, rejecting 13 year old child turn into a giggling, enthusiastic participant

Nurturing Self-Worth for the Insecure Child

  • Strengthen the parent-child attachment
  • Tend to the child’s underlying needs
  • Increase self-esteem and make a child feel unique
  • Prevent outbursts & trauma-based aggression with calming & soothing activities
  • Video case example: Witness a severely neglected, dysregulated 4 year old relax and feel open to her parents care

Building Confidence in the Child with Low Self Esteem

  • Techniques that allow the child to feel accomplished
  • Activities to make a child feel proud and admired
  • Experiences that allow child to feel comfortable taking appropriate risk
  • Develop resilience
  • Video case example: Watch as a 16 year old with low self-esteem shifts to feeling strong, proud and confident

Special Populations/Circumstances

  • Complex trauma
  • Foster care
  • Abuse & neglect

Limitations of the Research and Potential Risks


Dafna Lender, LCSW, is a licensed clinical social worker who has worked in the field of child welfare and child mental health for 20+ years. Dafna serves as the program director at The Theraplay Institute in Evanston, IL and is certified as a practitioner, supervisor and trainer in both Theraplay and Dyadic Developmental Psychotherapy (DDP). Dafna trains psychotherapists internationally in these methods and trains in three languages.

Dafna’s focus is children’s development of a secure attachment with their caregivers while resolving issues in their traumatic history. Early in her career, Dafna worked in treatment foster care and witnessed child after child “fail” out of foster placements due to difficult behavior. Children were disruptive, unsettled and unhappy, and their caregivers felt defeated. Dafna’s sense of discouragement went way after taking the Theraplay training and learning direct, concrete ideas and interactions that she could apply in home with her treatment families to promote healthier, stable relationships. Dafna has successfully treated children with a variety of backgrounds, including children raised in orphanages, with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder, exposed to domestic violence and community violence and children of parents with chronic mental illness.

Speaker Disclosures:

Financial: Dafna Lender has an employment relationship with The Theraplay Institute. She receives a speaking honorarium from PESI, Inc.

Non-financial: Dafna Lender has no relevant non-financial relationship to disclose.

There are no related products at this time.