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Who’s Afraid of Children in Family Therapy?: How Therapists Can Help

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. 


Product Details
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Dafna Lender, LCSW |  Phyllis Booth, MA
3 Hours 55 Minutes
Audio and Video
Mar 24, 2017
Product Code:
Media Type:
Digital Recordings



This online program is worth 4.0 hours CPD.



Dafna Lender, LCSW's Profile

Dafna Lender, LCSW Related seminars and products

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 is the founder of Dafna Lender Psychotherapy Training and Consulting. 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 has no relevant non-financial relationships.

Phyllis Booth, MA Related seminars and products

Phyllis Booth, Clinical Director Emerita of The Theraplay Institute in Chicago. Along with Ann Jernberg , she created the Theraplay method for helping children and families with attachment and relationship problems. Primary author 3rd edition of Theraplay: Helping Parents and Children Build Better Relationships Through Attachment-Based Play (Jossey-Bass, 2010).

Additional Info

Program Information

Access for Self-Study (Non-Interactive) Access never expires for this product.


  • Welcome
    • Introduction to Objectives
    • Obstacles of Including Children in Therapy
    • What is Theraplay?
  • The Beginning of Theraplay
    • Head Start
    • Importance of Play
    • Attachment
    • Regulating
  • Family Therapy and Play
    • Relationship Building
  • Theraplay Parental and Therapist Aspects & Dimensions
    • Modeling by Therapist for Parents
    • Structure Dimension
    • Engagement Dimension
      • Safety
      • Attunement
    • Nurture Dimension
      • Down Regulating
    • Challenge Dimension
    • Theraplay Case Examples
  • Theraplay Sessions
    • Who to Include and When to Include Them
    • Who to Start With
  • Theraplay and DDP
    • Nonverbal Communication
    • Rhythm
    • Eye Contact
    • Affect
    • Touch
    • Focus of Therapies
    • SCNC & PACE
    • Case Examples
      • Maintaining Window of Arousal
      • Monitoring Nonverbal Communication
    • Questions and Comments


  1. Describe a child’s needs to feel safe, trust, connect, and experience joy through the Four Dimensions of Relationship
  2. Articulate how to become a more effective communicator with children using G.R.E.A.T. (gesture, rhythm, eye contact, affect, and tone of voice)
  3. Summarize specific strategies to help optimize children’s involvement in therapy
  4. Articulate effective methods for using rhythmic movement and touch to create connection and help improve client engagement

Target Audience

Psychologists, Physicians, Addiction Counselors, Counselors, Social Workers, Marriage & Family Therapists, Nurses, and other Behavioral Health Professionals



Overall:      4.2

Total Reviews: 151


Sharon M

"Excellent learning experience"

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