Child Attachment and Play Assessment

The Child Attachment and Play Assessment (CAPA) is a developmental approach informed by Crittenden’s Dynamic Maturational Model of Attachment and Winnicott’s potential space. It looks at two discrete but connected behavioural systems, attachment, and play/exploration through the use of Narrative story stems. Story stems are a doll play assessment procedure in which the interviewer gives the child and the beginning of a story, and then, using a few simple props, ask the child to ‘show me and tell me what happens next’. They are not simple imitative copies of reality but provide a window into the child’s basic scripts for human relationships and internal world. The session is video recorded and content, nonverbal behaviour and discourse is then coded in terms of the child’s attachment strategy, unresolved loss and trauma, modifiers and mentalising ability.