Filial Therapy

Filial therapy can help parents and children to form closer and happier relationships.
Filial Therapy: EIGHT sessions of Child-Parent-Relationship Training (Guerney, 1964; Landreth, 2002)

Session One

Parents introduce themselves and describe their families. Parents have to choose one child (most in need of help) to focus on. This session will focus on developing sensitivity to the child and how to give empathetic response. Also, the parents take turns to play a role of the child and practise. Homework assignment will be given to identify emotions in the child of focus.

Session Two

Home assignments are reviewed and empathic responding is elaborated on. Parents are taken to the playroom, where they role play in pairs taking turns being the parent and the child, and practice making tracking statements and emphatic responding. The home assignment will require to put the toy kit together and to select a consistent time and an uninterrupted place in the home suitable for play session.

Session Three

Play therapy skills are taught with a brief demonstration of limiting setting. Role playing in the play room is utilized and a videotape is shown of the therapist with a child in a play session. The major focus of this session is preparing parents for their first 30-minute play session at home. The homework assignment Is to help the child make a "Play session-Do not Disturb" sign to hang on the door and to have the first of their weekly play session.

Session Four

Reports are given by each parent on the first play session with their child, noting areas of difficulty. The therapist gives suggestions about how to respond in view of parents' feedbacks. Besides, a videotape or live demonstration of a parent play session is viewed, with feedbacks given from the others in the group.

Session Five to Seven

Sessions 5 through 7 follow the same general format reporting of home assignments and brief reporting by parents of their play session, interspersed with suggestions and instruction from the therapist, along with group interaction on common problems and attention to parents' feelings. Generalization of skills outside the play sessions typically occurs and exercises of this are given, e.g. giving parents an assignment to make three therapeutic limit-setting responses to typical happenings outside the play session. An objective is that each parent will be videotaped and receive focused feedback at least once and preferably twice during the 10 weeks of training. The therapist helps parents to see that they are not alone in their childrearing by referring to or linking experiences shared by several parents.

Session Eight

Parents report on their play sessions and basic filial therapy principles are reviewed, and parents are asked to share what part of the training has been most helpful to them. Parents share their perceptions of changes they have observed in other parents. The therapist shares her notes of parents original descriptions of their children (noted in session one), as points of reference for parents to evaluate progress. Parents are encouraged to continue the special play times.

Guerney, G. (1964). Filial therapy: Description and rationale. Journal of Consulting Psychology, 28, 304-310.
Landreth, G. (2002). Play therapy: The art of the relationship, Routledge.