Theraplay Therapy

As this is a service reliant on touch, connection and soothing as a key part of its concept you will understand that with current guidelines and restrictions in place it is very difficult to offer at this time. We will resume the service as soon as restrictions are eased. In the mean-time do please get in touch to find out about our ‘Pre- attachment package – for families waiting for Theraplay’.

About Caroline Ovens

Caroline started her career as a nurse and then moved on to work in therapeutic residential care with young children, where she developed a therapeutic living environment for children who had experienced trauma. Her training in counselling/psychological therapy started in 1983 when she worked in a Family Support Centre. She completed the Advanced Diploma in Therapeutic Counselling in 1996 at Manchester University. Since then she has attended many other courses related to work with children, including a Post Graduate Diploma in Family Practice (Family Therapy) from the University of Reading and has completed Thera-play Level 2 and is now working towards accreditation by completing a set number of hours of intervention.

She is a member of the British Association of Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP) and also the Association of Family Therapy (AFT) – working within their ethical guidelines. She works with children and families in a creative, therapeutic way, along with play, story work etc, as well as talking therapy.

She always endeavours to create a warm and accepting environment in which children and families can feel safe and supported and can therefore explore their concerns, fears, worries, and feelings. In addition to her work at Total Children’s Therapy, Caroline also works for CAMHS in East Dorset.

Caroline feels that attachment is the foundation of all our relationships, and if we have a difficult attachment with our main carer whether from birth or perhaps there has been disruption for some reason, this will have an impact on how we express ourselves and in our communication. Attachment difficulties have often been thought to be with adopted children, however, they are being increasingly recognised as happening in birth families. In her experience, this often gets overlooked and what gets seen is the behaviour that happens as a result of difficult attachment. She works by not just thinking about children’s behaviour, but by looking at why they are needing to exhibit negative behaviour in the first place, because children’s behaviour is their voice.

Theraplay Therapy

Theraplay is a therapy that works with children, parents or carers of the child. It is a play-based treatment, which promotes attachment bonding.

It is a way for adults and children to be together and deepen the relationship between them. It draws on a wide range of simple activities that create ‘in the moment’ connections between two people and develops closeness. It is based on a natural pattern of playful, healthy interaction. The aim is to strengthen the relationship/connection between child and their caregiver.

Theraplay benefits and helps parents to understand what may be causing their children’s behaviours and learn different approaches to interacting with their children. This will improve their relationship and lead to an improvement in self-confidence, emotional regulation and help the parent to feel more confident about meeting their child’s needs.

Theraplay is an evidence-based therapy which was which was first published in 2009 and is included in the NICE guidelines.

Who is it designed for?

Theraplay is for children

  • Where it is recognized that there is an attachment difficulty.
  • Where children have been separated from their parents and need to re-build their relationship(s).
  • Have been fostered or adopted.
  • Have experienced a breakdown in attachment or connection with their main care giver(s).

How will this service be offered?

Sessions take place on a weekly or fortnightly basis; this work will start with assessments. The therapy is usually delivered over a year and can go on longer to consolidate the attachment if required. There is however a defined start and end to this support.

thera-play - mum and toddler fun
thera-play - dad son and trains
thera-play - dad toddler and fun