Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Theraplay - Enhancing the Bond Between Mother and Child

This week’s guest blogger is Thada Pulliam, one of Hope House’s Child Therapists.

When women arrive at Hope House with their children, there is often a disconnect between them. Mom may have been distancing herself from her child in order to keep her abuser's attention off the child and focused on her.

One of our goals when working with our clients is to enhance attachment, trust, self-esteem and joyful engagement between a mom and her child. To accomplish this, we use Theraplay.

Theraplay is a structured play therapy that focuses on attachment and relationship development.

Theraplay treatment can involve:

• Structured activities such as 1) the 3-legged race where the mom is providing direction; 2) mom directing the child to copy her eye or hand movements.

• Engaging activities:  1) the child hides a cotton ball within their clothes and mom must find it; 2) hand games such as creating a special hand shake, or playing patty cake.

• Nurturing activities:  1) mom checks the hands, arms, legs and feet for hurts, and then applies lotion with soft strokes while singing a lullaby; 2) while applying lotion to feet, mom recites “this little piggy”.

• Challenge activities: 1) mom places an item such as a book or pillow on the child for the child to balance; 2) thumb wrestling.

As a result of these activities, we hope to re-establish a sense of specialness, togetherness and fun between mom and her child.


  1. Can i use that picture for my poster??

    1. MaryAnne MethenyJune 29, 2012 at 8:05 AM

      Glad you liked the picture. It is a purchased stock photo. You can get the hi-res version at or - not sure which we used for that pic.