Filial therapy is a family counseling technique treating children by utilizing a parent or caregiver as a therapeutic agent. During stressful or challenging times children need more assistance understanding their emotions and experiences. Many parents or caregivers may not know how to empathize with their children or may mistakenly think that expressing empathy equates to condoning the child's inappropriate behavior. Filial Therapy teaches the caregiver the skills necessary to promote empathy and problem-solving with healthy boundaries and non-punitive limit-setting. It is also an excellent intervention for parents or caregivers who seek to strangthen their bond with their child.
The natural language and learning tool of children is play. In Filial Therapy sessions, child centered play therapy techniques are taught to parents. The caregivers are coached in the following skills:
- Boundaries - designating the physical area where the session is to take place as well communicating to the child they are largely in charge, and can play with toys in most any way choose.
- Tracking and Reflecting - caregivers are taught empathetic listening skills. Caregivers reflect verbally what the child is doing and feeling throughout the session.
- Non-Directive Play - letting the child direct all aspects of the play.
- Limit Setting - personal safety and protection fo property are the focus of the limits. Two specific techniques are taught and can be implemented effectively outside of sessions as well.
In office sessions, these skills are taught through role play and demonstration by the counselor and subsequent coaching in parent/child play sessions. Home play sessions can be recorded for feedback and discussion.
At our center, we have successfully provided fillial therapy for 14 years. It is an effective tool that enhances your relationship with your child and promotes emotional coping skills. Please give us a call for more information or to schedule an intake appointment.