PCAP (Parent Child Attachment Play)
PCAP (Parent-Child Attachment Play ) a form of therapeutic parenting, offers parents / carers the relational context, tools, ideas, resources and support that are universally needed to ensure the best outcomes for children; which are often a result of a cycle of:
Often, parents/ carers will use behavioural techniques in a way that do not appear to affect positive change and sometimes can seem to make things worse, as the focus stays on the child's behaviour, not their internal motivations and needs. PCAP on the other hand helps parents/ carers to become more conscious and skilled in responding to their children on a positive relational basis, fostering mutual understanding and improved reciprocal relationships.
PCAP was developed by Debi Maskell-Graham, and is a gentle play-based approach which aims to improve the attachment quality of the parent-child relationship using child-centred non-directive play.
The PCAP practitioner works directly with the child’s parent(s)/carer(s) for around 12 weeks (individually or in groups), and involves sharing three skills with parents and carers which facilitate the development of a secure attachment by learning about, practicing, and then implementing these attachment mechanisms which underpin the session content and involves looking at reflective functioning, child-led play and containment (boundaries) and enabling parents to do this in their own homes.
The approach came about through new and groundbreaking research into what we now know about how parents change and how a secure attachment is operationalised in the earliest relationship. This research has identified a key parental skill, know as reflective functioning, which is associated with secure attachment in children; parents can be helped to develop this skill through PCAP, and this is essentially the parent’s ability to think about their child, empathise with their feelings and respond sensitively, consistently and predictably to them.
For those that have adopted there may be funding available from the ASF (Adoption Support Fund).
- The parent(s)/carer(s) are encouraged to share any difficulties or worries alongside successes with the PCAP practitioner each week
- The parent(s)/carer(s) will learn 3 key play skills, based on the latest attachment research
1. Child-led play.
2. Containment: exploring rules and agreed boundaries.
3. Head, heart and hands – attachment mechanism.
- The practitioner will share the concept of ‘You and Me Time’; 20 minute play sessions with their children each week and will support the parent(s)/carer(s) in setting these up at home.
- Learning is supported, playful and experiential, with demonstrations from the facilitator.
Who is PCAP suitable for?
What are the benefits of PCAP?
Useful Documents / Links
We hope you find our PCAP postcard handout useful; It explains what PCAP is, how we work with parents / carers, and the benefits of PCAP.