PCAP – Parent Child Attachment Play Leicestershire

PCAP (Parent Child Attachment Play)

PCAP Parent Child Attachment Play Logo

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).

Family bonds attachment
Mother and Son
paper family picture
PCAP Practitioner License - David Corry-Bass
What happens over the PCAP sessions?

- 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?

Parents/Carers who can commit to attend weekly sessions.
When the difficulties are felt to be attachment based.
Foster carers / adoptive parents interested in establishing & strengthening attachment relationships with children who have experienced attachment disruption
Children who are presenting with emotional or behavioural difficulties.
Children who show a borderline level of difficulty on the SDQ completed by the child's parent/carer & teacher (where relevant).

What are the benefits of PCAP?

Secure attachment in infancy is associated with positive growth and development later in life holistically including emotional resilience, regulating behaviour, ability to develop relationships, ability to learn and succeed.
Attachment(s) can be repaired and reworked.
Parent(s) / carer(s) feel they have become more confident with their children & enjoy a happier relationship
To strengthen the parent-child relationship through the use of play
To enhance parent’s natural abilities and allow their confidence to flourish
The children feel more secure & become better at communicating their needs
Parent(s) / carer(s) learn new skills to encourage positive relationships & co-operation with their children.
To support parents embed key skills into their daily family life
It can complement & further enhance the benefits of therapeutic work (such as Play Therapy) done with the child.

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.