December 8, 2017

Integrative Attachment Informed Cognitive Behavioral Play Therapy (IAI-CBPT) was a topic in the 2017 Play Therapy Summit presented by Dr. Angela Cavett.  Dr. Cavett created this model out of her love for play therapy and out of her desire to help her clients achieve even more powerful results.  If you don’t know Dr. Cavett, don’t let the title intimidate you.

What do you need to know about IAI-CBPT?

Dr. Cavett is the first to admit that, “First of all, it’s a mouthful”

But she reminds us that “all of those components are important.”

If you are intimidated by the title of this course (I was too!), don’t be.  Dr. Cavett does a great job of explaining the how (and why) of this theoretical model.

Very simply, she says that Integrative Attachment Informed Cognitive Behavioral Play Therapy is like:

(TF-CBT + Theraplay)²


Well, I don’t know about you but that makes me feel completely overwhelmed.  In her course, she breaks it down for you.

IAI-CBPT is  a 3 Tier System

Basically, children with severe attachment issues start at Tier 3 and work their way down. Tier 1 is a lot of TF-CBT or Cognitive Behavioral Play Therapy. And Tier 2 is the scaffolding in between.

That wasn’t so complicated, was it?  In her course, she explains what types of assessments she does at each tier and what the course of mental health treatment looks like for clients in each tier.  She describes more on how and when parents are involved at each tier as well.  And as she talks about each part of the system, it all starts to make more sense.

Play Therapy Techniques from IAI-CBPT

Dr. Cavett understands that not everyone has all of the foundational training.  However, she still gave us a bunch of great interventions that you can start using right away.  She shares so many of her favorite interventions in her course, but the three that I love the most are:


This Theraplay intervention is good for Tier 3 type clients and is my favorite game to play with my kids while waiting on food at a restaurant.  I tap a beat (slap the table) and then the child repeats it. Add to it each time (slap the table, slap with other hand), etc.  Super fun and easy. It costs nothing and requires no materials.  But it’s also really fun with drums!


Dr. Cavett uses this CD from Dr. Amy Salzman, MD and if you have Amazon Prime, then you can stream it FREE.  Listen to it and test it out (even if you don’t have the otter puppet).


You need a dry erase board, some different colored/shaped magnets and some markers.  Take the CBT triangle to a whole new level by giving your clients something to touch and move around while you are dissecting those thoughts, feelings and behaviors.  And if you are interested in learning more about this model, Dr. Cavett is working on a book with all of the details.  And play therapists or other mental health professionals can take her course from the 2017 Play Therapy Summit.

About the Author

Jen Taylor, LCSW-C, RPT-S is an EMDR Approved Consultant and Certified Journal to the Self Instructor.  She is a therapist specializing in complex trauma, an international play therapy teacher and a published writer of multiple play therapy chapters.  Jen is the creator of the original 2017 Play Therapy Summit and many other innovative programs for mental health professionals.  Jen uses writing therapy, play therapy and expressive arts for her clients and for other mental health professionals so they can lead more joyful and meaningful lives.  Jen encourages people to try new things and create daily habits that allow for incremental progress towards previously unimaginable results.   Jen is a travel enthusiast, an avid reader, and a girl who lifts weights and runs for fun.  

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