What is Filial Therapy?

Filial Therapy was created by Drs. Bernard and Louise Gurney.  It is a psychoeducational intervention in which a therapist trains parents or other caregivers to hold special child-centered play sessions with their own children. Parents learn beginning expressive and listening play therapy skills and effective limit setting techniques.


Filial Therapy can lead to improved parent-child relationships and successful resolution of a variety of child and/or family problems.


Filial Therapy begins with a parent training phase. Following the initial training phase, therapist supervised parent-child play sessions are held in the therapist's office. During the next phase, the play sessions are held at home with the parents who periodically process the sessions with the therapist. Eventually, child-directed play sessions are phased into "special times" as the problems are resolved.




VAn Fleet, R. (1994). Filial Therapy: Strengthening Parent-Child RElationships Through Play. Sarastosa, Florida: Professional Resource Press.