212, 312 – Who’s Afraid of Children in Family Therapy?

How Therapists Can Help
Parts 1 & 2
Phyllis Booth & Dafna Lender

Unlike teens, young children can’t readily talk about feelings, don’t sit in one place, and often can’t follow rules and directions, even when you’re playing a game. So how can you incorporate these crucial family members into your sessions in a way that’s both manageable and productive? This workshop will demonstrate how to apply the principles of Theraplay, a model based on affective neuroscience and attachment theory, to increase a sense of caring and trust between family members. You’ll explore:

  • How to assess the child’s needs to feel safe, trust, connect, and experience joy through the Four Dimensions of Relationship
  • How to become a more effective communicator with children using G.R.E.A.T. (gesture, rhythm, eye contact, affect, and tone of voice)
  • Specific tips for optimizing children’s involvement in therapy, including ways to implement calming activities when they become
    overwhelmed or overstimulated and to highlight their contribution without relying on words
  • Effective methods for using rhythmic movement and touch to create connection


Continued with workshop 312

Phyllis Booth, MA, is clinical director emeritus of The Theraplay Institute in Chicago. She’s the primary author of the third edition of Theraplay: Helping Parents and Children Build Better Relationships Through Attachment-Based Play.

Dafna Lender, LCSW, is the program director for The Theraplay Institute in Evanston, IL. She’s certified as a trainer and supervisor in both Dyadic Developmental Psychotherapy and Theraplay.

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