Theraplay Level One

Level One Theraplay & Marschak Interaction Method (MIM)

Step #1, required for Theraplay certification
CEs:  25* except where noted
Register On-Line
Note: Occasionally other trainings such as Group Theraplay are offered in conjunction with this training.
Please check the master schedule.

Trainings outside the U.S have different costs and arrangements. Please contact us for more information.

Do I qualify for a Discount? 

Financial assistance is available on a limited basis for community mental health professionals who focus on underserved areas, are employed at a not-for-profit or work with foster/adoptive parents. Click here to see if you qualify!



$1035 for non-members • $985 for Theraplay Association members
$980 Early registration (60 days prior) • $930 Early Registration for Theraplay Association members
$765 Student Registration (limit two per training; To register as a student submit proof here!)
$150 Optional fifth day of Group Theraplay when available (discounted price for Level One trainees)


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Theraplay® is a child and family modality of play therapy for building and enhancing attachment, self-esteem, trust in others, and joyful engagement. Rated as “effective” by the SAMHSA National Registry for Evidences – Based Programs and Practices, it is based on the natural patterns of playful, healthy interaction between parent and child and is personal, physical, and fun. Theraplay play therapy interactions focus on four essential qualities found in parent-child relationships: Structure, Engagement, Nurture, and Challenge. Theraplay play therapy 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. Theraplay helps you create a playful atmosphere where children are happy to come to therapy and become quickly and fully engaged in the therapeutic process. Theraplay also involves the parents in an immediate and positive way, giving them experiences of success and pride in their children so they can feel motivated to support them. With the child, the parent and you, the therapist, all on the same team, you have a winning combination for positive and lasting change. This four-day training is designed to teach participants the fundamentals of the Theraplay model to begin using Theraplay informed practice in their play therapy work with existing and new clients.

Learning Objectives for Level One Theraplay & MIM:

  • Identify three play, attachment-based theories and how they support the work of Theraplay
  • Explain the benefits of using the MIM in your play therapy practice
  • Administer the MIM and analyze it at a beginning level to benefit families in play therapy
  • Utilize the MIM as a guide for treatment planning in play therapy
  • List three play therapy goals to be achieved during a MIM feedback session with parents
  • Describe the four dimensions of Theraplay, a modality of play therapy
  • Demonstrate one play-based activity from each dimension: Structure, Engagement, Nurture and Challenge
  • Describe 3 possible ways of adapting Theraplay into play therapy treatment to meet the needs of a child with complex trauma
  • Descrive how to guide parents to participate in a Theraplay, a modality of play therapy, in treatment session
  • Prepare parents to use Theraplay play therapy techniques at home to further therapeutic goals
  • Demonstrate adapting Theraplay play therapy techniques to three different populations of families
  • Apply Theraplay techniques to work through resistance in play therapy sessions

Program Content:

  • Principles of attachment theory on an intellectual and experiential level
  • The Four Dimensions of Theraplay  
  • The Theraplay protocol
  • An introduction to the Marschak Interaction Method (MIM): administration, analysis and as a guide for treatment planning
  • Adapting Theraplay for working with children and families impacted by complex trauma and other populations
  • Managing resistance throughout the treatment process
  • Managing countertransference in your work  with children and families
  • Implementing Theraplay into your practice

Level One training prepares participants to begin using Theraplay Informed Practice in their work.  We recommend beginning with an easier case to get practice and confidence before trying to work with complex families or trauma.  Professional development opportunities to improve Theraplay skills are available, including Level Two training with its modular options.

Daily Schedule:

8:00 a.m. Check-in on first day; coffee service available each day

8:30 – 4:30 Start and end times for days 1-3

8:30 – 3:30 Start and end times for day 4

A one hour lunch and two 15-minute breaks will be offered

Download a detailed agenda

Download Bibliography

Theraplay Level One