Filial Therapy For Families
Filial Therapy Overview
Filial Therapy usually takes 6 months to complete, and may last longer with follow-up sessions. It is suitable for children between the ages of 3 and 12 years old. Filial therapy is a very flexible model: providing that the essentials are taught to parents and followed through, it can be adapted in various ways to meet the circumstances.
The therapist’s role is to be a combination of trainer, supervisor and coach who assists parents in learning how to conduct “special playtime” sessions with the child. Each parent/caregiver has a different relationship with their child, so each play session is conducted one parent to one child, and is conducted with multiple children in the household.
Filial therapy can be taught through a group model (usually a minimum of 15-25 sessions) or offered as an individual Filial therapy intervention.
Filial Therapy Process
The initial stage is an assessment of the family, which includes an interview with parents/caregivers, a family play observation session, and parental observation of the therapist conducting a non-directive play session with their child/ren. The rationale for using Filial therapy is explained at the end of this stage and parental consent to this process is acquired.
For 4-6 weeks
In the therapist office, the parent gets to conduct 1:1 play sessions with their child as the therapist observes. After each session, the therapist meets alone with the parent to talk about what happened in the session (use of skills, play themes) and the therapist provides positive and detailed feedback and highlights maybe 1 or 2 difficulties to work on.
After the transfer to home
The therapist initially meets with parents once a week, to discuss the sessions, exploring the themes in the child’s play, and helping parents generalize the basic parenting skills used n the Filial sessions to real life problems in the home. As the parents progress and positive changes are seen in the family relationships and the behavior of the child, sessions becomes less frequent (every two weeks, one time a month, to several months) and are followed by a final “check up” with parent and therapist to conclude the therapy.
This is the training phase; parents are taught how to conduct “special play time” sessions. and then carry out sessions with their child under the therapist supervision. In the therapist’s office, parents are trained how to conduct “special play time” sessions using the basic Filial skills of structuring, empathic listening, limit setting, and imaginary play. The therapist spends two or three weeks training the parents in the basic Filial skills through a playful, supportive method using lots of positive feedback to support effective learning.
The parent-child Filial Therapy sessions are transferred to home. The parent conducts a 30-minute Filial session with their child every week at the same time, on the same day, and in the same place. Parents continue to hold a weekly 30-minute Filial session with their child for as long as necessary or as long as the child wants to for a minimum of 6 months.
Typically children love having “special play time” with their parents. Parents also find that the time spent together in Filial Therapy play is so valuable and special that they are happy to do this. Filial Therapy helps parents develop a consistent parenting style. Parents usually find that their relationship and attachment to their child is greatly improved.
Enhance your play therapy skills!
I would be glad to hear from you and to share information about my services: psychotherapy, general supervision for pre-licensed therapist, specialized supervision for therapists working becoming Registered Play Therapists, consultations for experienced therapists and trainings in play therapy and sandtray therapy.