Bright Start TN Clearinghouse


Filial Family Therapy

What is it?

Filial Therapy is a parent-child play therapy program designed to strengthen families and treat children experiencing social, emotional, or behavioral issues. The program aims to empower parents so that children’s attachments become more secure. The four basic techniques that are taught in Filial Therapy are structuring, empathic listening, child-centered imaginary play, and limit setting. The program starts with the therapist demonstrating a play therapy session and training parents in basic techniques. Afterward, the parent conducts the play sessions with their child while the therapist supervises and provides feedback to the parents. Filial therapy is most often conducted in group settings. 

What is the evidence base?

Parents and children who participated in Filial Therapy demonstrate stronger relationships. In particular, parents are more able to effectively respond to their children. Parents also demonstrate lower parental stress and greater parental empathy. For children, behavioral problems decrease and self-esteem increases. 

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