Filial Therapy is a child and family therapy.
The therapy aims to improve mental health in children and strengthen the attachment relationship between the child and the parents.
The broad principles of Play Therapy apply: play is an essential form of communication and healing for children, providing a medium through which the child can express difficult feelings and work through challenging experiences in the presence of a trusted adult.
The therapy can be tailored to the needs of the individual family, which may shift over time. The therapist offers at least one demonstration therapy session with the child, which offers parents an opportunity to observe play therapy skills in action and assesses the suitability of a parent-child model.
The therapy builds the skills of the parent, in order to strengthen the child-parent relationship and once regular sessions are established the child is able to explore their experiences and feelings through play alongside an empathic attuned adult.
Filial Therapy can be used as a first response intervention; to strengthen families both as a preventative measure or in response to a specific issue.
Filial Therapy is also considered to be an effective follow-on step from a child’s individual therapy; strengthening their attachment with their parents/carers and also to enhancing parents/carers’ capacity to respond to their children.
Filial Therapy can be used as a small group intervention model.
Research indicates that Filial Therapy has a high satisfaction rate from parents who report that their skills, understanding and empathy for their child improves alongside a decrease in their own stress levels.
Filial Therapy Sessions
Filial Therapy usually takes about 20 sessions to complete, though it can sometimes be extended up to 30 sessions in more complex circumstances.
Filial Therapy is split into five distinct phases:
• The engagement and assessment stage.
• The Psycho-educational and practice stage.
• The Parents carry out sessions with their child at home. The Therapist continues to offer guidance and supervision.
• The skills that are learned in Filial Therapy can be generalised- effectively used in day-to-day parenting to support children’s ongoing development, maintain effective communication skills and to diffuse conflict.