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Digital Seminar

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

Dafna Lender, LCSW
5 Hours 57 Minutes
Nov 30, 2018
Product Code:
Media Type:
Digital Seminar
Never expires.


Do you struggle with children who:

  • Are aggressive and defiant?
  • Wreck your treatment room and waste your materials?
  • Act chaotic, silly and/or will not sit still?
  • Refuse to talk and are disengaged?
  • Behave inappropriately (oppositional, controlling, avoid eye contact)?

Are you also frustrated with parents who are angry and won’t listen to your advice? Parents who are resentful and dissatisfied with you, as well as their own child? If you answered YES to any of the above then you need to watch this seminar! I will show you evidence-based activities to break through resistance and harness the power of the child-parent relationship to make rapid and dramatic changes.

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

Theraplay also involves parents in an immediate and positive way, giving them experiences of success and pride in their children, so they can feel motivated to support them. With the child, the parent and you, the therapist, all on the same team you have a winning combination for positive and lasting change.


- PESI Australia, in collaboration with PESI in the USA, offers quality online continuing professional development events from the leaders in the field at a standard recognized by professional associations including psychology, social work, occupational therapy, alcohol and drug professionals, counselling and psychotherapy. On completion of the training, a Professional Development Certificate is issued after the individual has answered and submitted a quiz and course evaluation. This online program is worth 6.0 hours CPD for points calculation by your association.



Dafna Lender, LCSW's Profile

Dafna Lender, LCSW Related seminars and products

The Theraplay Institute

Dafna Lender, LCSW, is an international trainer and supervisor for practitioners who work with children and families. She is a certified trainer and supervisor/consultant in both Theraplay and Dyadic Developmental Psychotherapy (DDP) and an EMDR therapist. Dafna’s expertise is drawn from 25 years of working with families with attachment in many settings: at-risk after school programs, therapeutic foster care, in-home crisis stabilization, residential care and private practice. Dafna’s style, whether as a therapist or teacher, is combining the light-hearted with the profound by bringing a playful, intense and passionate presence to every encounter. Dafna is the author of Integrative Attachment Family Therapy (2023) and co-author of Theraplay® - The Practitioner’s Guide (2020).


Speaker Disclosures:
Financial: Dafna Lender maintains a private practice. She is a published author and receives royalties. She receives a speaking honorarium and recording royalties from PESI, Inc. She has no relevant financial relationships with ineligible organizations.
Non-financial: Dafna Lender is an author for Psychotherapy Networker.


  1. Describe the purpose of each of the four Dimensions of Relationship: Structure, Engagement, Nurture and Challenge.
  2. Assess child behavior to determine which of the four dimensions a child is in need of.
  3. Demonstrate one activity from each dimension.
  4. Compare and contrast interventions to focus and calm an overactive/chaotic child.
  5. Discuss interventions that turn a child’s resistance into cooperation.
  6. Implementation techniques for effectively capturing a child’s attention.
  7. List methods for reengaging an angry/discouraged parent.


The 4 Dimensions of Theraplay®
  • To Address Behavioral Problems and Gain Connection Cooperation
    • Structure: organization and safety
    • Engagement: connection, joy, co-regulation of strong emotions
    • Nurture: calming, emotional nourishment, secure base
    • Challenge: recognition, ride, celebration of self
Calm an Overactive/Aggressive/Oppositional Child
  • Strategies to prevent outbursts and trauma-based aggression (The P.R.O.M.P.T) method)
    • Proximity
    • Rhythm
    • Optimal movement
    • Touch response
  • Techniques to identify non-verbal signs of stress
  • Activities for turning resistance into a connecting experience
  • Video case examples: transformation from aggressive & uncooperative to focused & relaxed
Engage the Disconnected Child
  • Strategies to capture and keep a child’s attention (The G.R.E.A.T. method)
    • Gesture
    • Rhythm
    • Eye contact
    • Affect
    • Tone communication
  • Activities that children can’t resist getting involved in
    • Cotton ball war
    • Shaving ball pass
  • Interventions to turn passivity into cooperation
    • Aluminum foil print
    • Paper punch
  • Techniques to make sense of non-verbal communication & get child to start talking
    • Cotton ball blow
    • Balloon pass
  • Video case example: before and after of clients ages 1-17
Promote Positive Parent-Child Relationship
  • Activities to strengthen the parent-child attachment
    • Cotton ball hockey
    • Mirror mirror
    • Measuring
  • Techniques to increase empathy by using eye contact, touch and turn-taking
    • Eye signal dance
    • Slippery slip
  • Activities that create and solidify connection by fostering moments of joy
    • Balancing pillows
    • Feather decorate
  • Interventions to decrease arguments and gain cooperation
    • Identify a child engaging in a power struggle before they do
    • Identify when oppositionality is really a trauma reaction
    • Empathy to melt oppositional behaviors
    • Know when to cool it
  • Strategies to increase self-esteem and make a child feel unique
    • Special snack
    • Twinkle song
    • Favorite things
    • Powder prints
  • Video case example: high and low functioning clients

Target Audience

  • Counselors
  • Social Workers
  • Psychologists
  • Psychotherapists
  • Occupational Therapists
  • Speech Language Therapists
  • Physical Therapists
  • Case Managers
  • Marriage & Family
  • Therapists
  • Other Mental Health Professionals

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