Theraplay®  is a child and family therapy for building and enhancing attachment, self-esteem, trust in others, and joyful engagement. It is based on the natural patterns of playful, healthy interaction between parent and child and is personal, physical, and fun. Theraplay interactions focus on four essential qualities found in parent-child relationships: Structure, Engagement, Nurture, and Challenge. Theraplay® sessions create an active, emotional connection between the child and parent or caregiver, resulting in a changed view of the self as worthy and lovable and of relationships as positive and rewarding.

In treatment, the Theraplay® therapist guides the parent and child through playful, fun games, developmentally challenging activities, and tender, nurturing activities. The very act of engaging each other in this way helps the parent regulate the child’s behavior and communicate love, joy, and safety to the child. It helps the child feel secure, cared for, connected and worthy.

We call this “building relationships from the inside out.”

As a Not For Profit Health Service focused on meeting the needs of our diverse Communities, Nexus Primary Health is excited and proud to be driving the expansion of Theraplay in Australasia. Our involvement in Theraplay grew from the ashes of the 2009 Black Saturday Bushfires. Our work in the recovery space identified that there were some children and families that were struggling to recover using the more available interventions. We were lucky that Kate Lewer had joined our recovery team, and she added Theraplay to the repertoire of evidence based interventions with remarkable results. Based on these results and Kate’s commitment and drive, we have slowly increased the number of Theraplay trained people in the country. We believe in maintaining the integrity of the approach so we continue to establish and expand access to local supervision and other supports with the goal of a dynamic network of Theraplay providers “down under.”

-Suzanne Miller, former CEO


Participating in the Theraplay supervision cohort in Broadford, Australia, has been a valuable learning experience. The cohort ticks all the boxes in terms of the Theraplay Dimensions, so it feels safe yet challenging, and absolutely congruent with the work. The format and content are engaging, the sessions are effectively structured, there are plenty of challenges, and we all contribute to a nurturing environment by bringing genuinely collegial warmth to the discussions, and yummy treats too! I highly recommend Kate Lewer as a Theraplay Supervisor, for her enthusiasm, thoughtful insights, and attention to process.

-Counselor/Social Worker

The encouragement and support provided by peers was invaluable especially when trying to navigate around IT issues.

Having planned supervision dates and tasks kept me on track and assisted me to to achieve my goals – it would have been easy to just give up and let the skills of Theraplay fade away.

-Cohort Participant

Theraplay Australia is an affiliate of The Theraplay® Institute. Theraplay® is a registered service mark of The Theraplay® Institute in the United States, Australia, Canada, the European Union (with the exception of Germany, Austria, Switzerland, and Benelux), Hong Kong, Japan, Norway, South Korea and Chile.  For more information about Theraplay service mark guidelines click here.