Blue Star Counseling provides child counseling services in Austin, Texas
Blue Star Counseling,
8701 Shoal Creek Blvd Ste. 403, Austin, TX 78757
Call Pat Today: 512-922-1847
Call Kathryn Today: 512-497-2177
Blue Star Counseling provides theraplay services in Austin, Texas

Services by Kathryn Zentner, LCSW

Kathryn Zentner provides family counseling services Austin, TX

Contact Kathryn Zentner, LCSW

Much of Kathryn’s work with younger children and their families is based on a short-term, intensive, structured type of family therapy called Theraplay® Theraplay is a treatment approach that focuses on enhancing attachment between parent and child, and in that process helps the child develop a sense of belonging, trust in others, self-awareness and self-esteem.


Attachment-based play therapy such as Theraplay uses playful, attuned responsiveness of caregivers to facilitate a more secure attachment. Because the roots of the development of the self, of self-esteem, and of trust lie in the early years, Theraplay uses engaging play activities to return to earlier stages of development and “re-do” some of those experiences. These activities help restart the healthy cycle of interaction, leading the child to the capacity for emotional regulation, the capacity to understand and empathize with others, and to feelings of self-worth.


Many of the activities used in Theraplay are typical “baby games.” Theraplay divides these playful activities into four categories. In general, children who are more aggressive and controlling need to experience more nurturing and structuring play. Children who tend to be withdrawn need more engaging and challenging play. However, all children benefit from play in all four categories.













It is important to remember that attachment is a reciprocal dance between the parent and the child. Both have certain behaviors and roles that make the attachment process work smoothly. Emotionally healthy parents/caregivers typically provide for the child’s needs in all areas (physically, socially, emotionally)--the challenge comes when the child does not reciprocate that relationship. Theraplay helps parents know how to respond to that resistance. The goal is to help the child experience the “felt safety” that is the foundation of a secure attachment.


The Theraplay Institute has an excellent video that will give you a clear idea about this type of therapy.


Theraplay Youtube Video


Is Theraplay an "evidenced based practice?"  It has been evaluated and rated a “promising practice” by the California Evidence Based Practice Clearinghouse for Child Welfare:


Kathryn has been providing family therapy based on Theraplay principles since 2005. She became a Certified Theraplay Therapist in April 2013.


Nurturing Play


  • Singing and Rocking
  • Positive, soft eye contact
    • smiling, gazing into

                 their eyes

  • Butterfly kisses
  • Dancing on parents' feet
  • Back rubs or massage
  • Applying lotion to hands, arms and feet
  • Manicure


Structuring Play


  • "Mother may I"
  • Copy me or be my mirror
  • Stack of hands
  • Follow the leader train
  • "Red Light, Green Light"
  • Ring-around-the-rosy
  • Patty-cake


Engaging Play


  • "I'm gonna get you" chase
  • Swinging in the air or in a circle
  • Beep the child's nose
  • Hand clapping games
  • Piggy-back rides
  • "This is the way the baby rides"
  • Pop cheeks


Challenging Play


  • Straight Face Challenge
  • Pick something up with toes
  • Crawling race
  • Balloon bop
  • Tug-of-war
  • Thumb Wrestling


8701 Shoal Creek Blvd. Ste 403, Austin, TX 78757