Filial Therapy is a method that is used to help a child and parent build upon their relationship together. This can be helpful where parents feel the bond with their child isn’t as good as it could be and they want to develop this. It can also help where parents feel they want to assist their children with their emotional development and be instrumental in helping them change. It can also be helpful with long-term fostering and adoptive parents. The therapist will usually coach a parent through the process. There are two options:
Child Parent Relationship Training – This is a 10 week programme which can be individual or group-based. Parents attend classes over a 10 week period. Techniques are learnt then they start to hold special play sessions which they video so we can explore how they are progressing as the weeks go by. It can feel a bit sensitive to show the video sessions to others but the therapist understands this and the parents are supported to feel secure about this.
Filial Therapy – Parents are shown some special play skills then trained to offer this in their own homes. Initially the therapist will show this with the child, then meet parents alone to develop skills, before parents then start to offer special play sessions to their children initially in the clinic room then at home. These sessions are overseen by the therapist who highlights strengths and guides them in further skill development to make the best of these special play times. There is a gradual decrease in therapist involvement until parents are confident to move forwards without this.
The focus of both of the above methods isn’t on being a perfect parent but rather on improving on existing skills a parent has. It is possible for multiple parents/children to be involved in both of these processes.