Filial Therapy

What is Filial Therapy? 

Filial Therapy is a type of family therapy. It is a structured, time-limited intervention. This type of therapy helps families with children who are experiencing social, emotional, and behavioral difficulties. It can also be used as a preventative approach to strengthen parent-child relationships in families where there are no serious problems present.

How Does Filial Therapy work? 

This type of therapy works best when the entire family system is involved. Filial Therapy consists of structured phases of treatment that allow the family to practice and apply learned skills in sessions, then integrate these skills into their daily lives, resulting in stronger attachment bonds and the resolution of conflicts and/or problems. 

Therapists first meet with the family to learn about their concerns and difficulties. The therapist then observes the family play together, which allows the therapist to identify growth areas and develop a unique treatment plan for the family. After that, parents attend sessions in which the therapist trains them in child-centered play therapy skills. Once the parent training phase is complete, it is time to transition to supervised play therapy sessions. During these sessions, the therapist observes the play between parent and child, then provides the parent with feedback, encouragement and discussion of themes and dynamics that arose during the play. Lastly, the family transitions to home play sessions, where the parents meet with the therapist during scheduled check-in sessions to review results, generalize their skills and phase out of treatment when ready.

How Does it Help? 

Filial Therapy assists children in becoming more conscious of their feelings and learning to regulate them. It also helps children learn to communicate their needs, build confidence in themselves and make informed decisions. Through the process, children build trust in their parents, such as gain trust in their parent’s ability to meet their social and emotional needs.

Parents who participate in Filial Therapy increase their understanding of their child’s feelings and behaviors as well better understand their child’s overall development. Parents receive help by trying new skills in play sessions with their children in a safe, supportive therapeutic environment. Most importantly, Filial Therapy helps strengthen the parent-child relationship and build closer bonds by using parents as the primary change agents for their own children.

Who benefits from Filial Therapy? 

Filial Therapy has been successful in working with the following child/family problems:

  • Anxiety
  • Perfectionism
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder
  • Depression
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Attachment disruptions
  • Attention deficit problems
  • Anger/aggression issues
  • Self-esteem problems
  • Dysregulation issues
  • Relationship problems
  • Social difficulties
  • Traumatic events
  • Abuse/neglect
  • Chronic medical illness
  • Divorce
  • Step-parenting/blending families
  • Single parenting
  • Adoption/foster-care
  • Pervasive developmental disorder/autism spectrum disorders

Why Filial Therapy? 

Since its creation by Drs. Bernard and Louise Guerney in the 1960s, Filial Therapy has over 50 years of research and development that prove it to be an effective and empowering therapeutic intervention for families. Filial Therapy can eliminate presenting problems, enhance parent-child relationships and strengthen the family system. Research results on this type of therapy indicate improvements in parenting skills, child/adolescent issues, caregivers’ acceptance of their children, and parental satisfaction. Studies also show Filial Therapy can decrease therapy drop-out rates, decrease parents’ stress and prevent excessive use of therapy services.

Where can I find a therapist who does Filial Therapy? 

  • Contact our Practice Administrator to be matched with a filial therapist that fits your needs.
  • Schedule an intake appointment to discuss your concerns and goals
  • Allow your therapist to create an individualized treatment plan for your family.
  • Work together to meet your goals.
  • Enjoy your happier home.

To learn more about how Filial Therapy may benefit your family, visit https://risevanfleet.com/parents/.

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Therapists who work at Creative Family Counseling, LLC are committed to providing culturally competent and affirming care. This includes ongoing conversations on issues of power, privilege, and oppression, as well as dedicated focus and education on these issues, with the goal of supporting anti-racism, anti-discrimination, & anti-hate to foster growth, love, change, and social justice for all.