The impact of Theraplay® therapy on parent-child interaction and child psychiatric symptoms: a pilot study

Saara Salo, Marjo Flykt, Jukka Mäkelä, Lotta Lassenius-Panula, Riikka Korja, Sandra Lindaman, Raija Leena Punamäki

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

Abstract

Theraplay® is a short-term parent–child interaction therapy combining structured, attachment-based, joyful and adult-led playful sessions with reflective guidance work with the parents. This pilot study evaluates the impact of Theraplay® therapy in improving the quality of parent–child interaction and decreasing the internalizing and externalizing symptoms of children diagnosed with emotional and/or behavioral disorders. Participants were eighteen 4–8 year-old children (M = 4.42, SD = 1.54) from two outpatient child psychiatric clinics whose mothers, and in 13 of those cases fathers also participated in the Theraplay® therapy together with the child. Pre- and post-treatment measures included videotaped observations of parent–child interaction quality, and child psychiatric symptoms (CBCL). The results showed improvements in parent–child interaction quality as well as decreases in children's internalizing and externalizing symptoms. The results of this pilot study indicate that Theraplay® therapy may be an effective treatment among children diagnosed with emotional and/or behavioral psychiatric disorders.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)331-352
Number of pages22
JournalINTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF PLAY
Volume9
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2020
Publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

Keywords

  • child psychiatry
  • externalizing symptoms
  • internalizing symptoms
  • Parent-child interaction
  • parent–child interaction
  • Theraplay® therapy

Publication forum classification

  • Publication forum level 1

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology

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