Building Healthy Parent-Child Relationships through Attachment-Based Play

Course will be taught in both English and French.


Children come to us from different backgrounds and environments, but they all need to feel safe in order to develop and connect to others. Play-based methods and playful engagement tap into children’s natural medium to provide moments of learning, joyful connection, regulation, and positive connection.
The quickest and most powerful way to get to transformative moments with children is through play— meaning interactive, face-to-face, reciprocal, cooperative interactions that rely on movement, rhythm, touch, a prosodic voice, and eye contact.

Children learn to regulate, connect and share joy with others through play. The more the child learns that it’s pleasurable and safe to be completely caught up in a moment of shared joy or attention with another person, the deeper sense of connection. That is why facilitating safe, engaging play between children is so important for their overall development. We will use embodied play activities combined with mindfulness exercises to enhance connection, safety and trust between parent and child.

In this highly interactive workshop, presenters will actively engage the participants in learning: (a) the powerful and transformative role of play in child development; (b) the therapeutic core underlying playful design and play-based activities often used with youth; and (c) critical child resilience-building factors and ways to playfully engage these in intervention (d) including parents as active partners and agents of healing.

  • Describe the role of play in developing a sense of connection between children
  • Describe the role of play in developing the capacity for regulation in children
  • Learn tools for titrating the intensity of interaction between parent and child to maintain optimal arousal
  • Learn ways to help parents stay open and engaged
  • Learn gentle ways to intervene and redirect a misattuned or critical parent
  • Describe interventions for guiding parents in helpful responses within a session


Dafna Lender

Dafna Lender is an international trainer and supervisor for practitioners who work with children and families. She is a certified trainer and supervisor/consultant in both Theraplay and Dyadic Developmental Psychotherapy (DDP).

Dafna’s expertise is drawn from 25 years of working with families with attachment in many settings: at-risk after school programs, therapeutic foster care, in-home crisis stabilization, residential care and private practice. Dafna’s style, whether as a therapist or teacher, is combining the light-hearted with the profound by bringing a playful, intense and passionate presence to every encounter.Dafna is the co-author of Theraplay the Practitioner’s Guide (2020). She teaches and supervises clinicians in 15 countries in 4 languages: English, Hebrew, French and Spanish.

Molly Buist

Molly Buist is an occupational therapist with over 30 years of experience.  She owns and directs three clinics in the West Michigan area which provide occupational, physical and speech therapies and partner with mental health providers.  She loves working as an OT and is very passionate about engaging with parents and caregivers as part of their child’s therapeutic process.  She has experience in working with children from a wide range of backgrounds and developmental profiles.

Molly recently completed her Theraplay foundational certification and is in the process of completing the intermediate level to work towards full certification.  She is lucky to have met great mentors, like her good friend Dafna, throughout her professional journey. 


November 9 and 10th, 2023

Day 1

AM 9:00 – 12:00 (registration opens at 8:30)

PM 1:15 to 4:00 

Day 2

AM 8:30 – 11:30 

PM 12:45 to 3:00  


In-person workshop in Montreal, Quebec

Centre St-Pierre: 1212 Panet Street, Montreal, QC H2L 2Y7


Early bird registration fee before October 1st 2023: $675.00 CDN add $50 CDN to the registration fee after October 1st, 2023.

Upon payment, Paypal will immediately issue you a receipt.

The registration rate includes the printed PowerPoint and two healthy snacks per day. Coffee/tea/herbal tea will be available upon arrival on both days.

Lunch and parking fees are not included.


Cancellations must be in writing and received before October 1st,  2023. A $50.00 CDN administration fee will be charged. No refunds after this date. Choose to Learn reserves the right to cancel the conference and will refund registration fees.


Caroline Hui, Occupational Therapist, 
Choose to Learn +1 (450) 242-2816,


Registration – Building Healthy Parent-Child Relationships