Filial Family Therapy

What is Filial Family Therapy?

Filial Family Therapy is the chance to involve one of the most important people and teachers into the child’s inner world ….. you.

The term “filial therapy” comes from the Latin words meaning “son” or “daughter” and essentially refers to the parent-child relationship. Over the past 40 years, there has been a great deal of research and clinical experience with Filial Therapy, with studies showing that it consistently helps reduce children’s problem behaviors, helps parents feel less stressed and more confident, and improves the understanding parents have for their children.

Filial Therapy is a psycho educational intervention that is designed to strengthen families through the use of play. It is a combination of family therapy and play therapy to improve parent – child relationships. Parents are trained and supervised to conduct a special type of play that is non-directive in nature.

We find this approach is more efficient and it directly improves and strengthens the parent-child relationship.

That’s why we love teaching it! As parents learn the skills, they can eventually hold these 30 minute play sessions at home. The therapist will provide supervision and coaching to parents in follow up sessions when they have commenced their 30 minute weekly special play time sessions at home.

The Filial Family Therapy program is suitable for families with children between the ages of 3 and 12 years old who have problems with their own feelings and/ or difficulty in relationship with others. Typically, children love having “special play time” with their parents. Parents also find that the time spent together in play is so valuable and special that they are happy to do this. As long as the essentials are taught to parents/caregivers and they follow through, the program can be adapted in various ways to meet the circumstances of the family.

We have found this amazing program to be successful with many child and family problems, such as: oppositional behaviours, anxiety, depression, perfectionism, abuse/neglect, single or step-parenting, traumatic events, attachment/adoption/ foster care, relationship problems, divorce, family substance abuse, family reunification, attentional problems, toileting difficulties, chronic illness, and others.

The program can be delivered 1:1 or as a group in person or via zoom.

Does Filial Family Therapy benefit the entire family?

Filial Family Therapy is also beneficial for parents, helping them to learn why their child is behaving in a certain way.

This allows greater warmth and sensitivity instead of misunderstanding it for “bad behaviour”. Resulting in a gentler approach to setting limits, which in turn are more effective.

Filial Therapy strengthens the parent-child relationship directly, and everyone in the family benefits. Read on further to learn how it can help the entire family….

Filial Therapy helps parents/caregivers…

  • Understand their child’s worries and other feelings more fully
  • Learn new skills for encouraging co-operation from their children
  • Enjoy playing with their children and giving them positive attention
  • Increase their listening skills and develop open communication with their children
  • Develop self-confidence as parents
  • Become more able to trust their children
  • Deal in new ways with frustrations in family life
  • Filial therapy can help parents and children to form closer and happier relationships

    Filial Therapy helps children…

  • Understand their own feelings better
  • Become able to express their feelings more appropriately
  • Be more able to tell parents what they need, what is worrying them
  • Become more confident and skilled in solving problems as well as asking for help when they need it
  • Build their feelings of trust and confidence in their parents/caregivers.
  • Reduce their problem behaviours
  • Feel more secure and trust their parents more
  • Have a healthier self-esteem & confidence in themselves

Do you want to know a bit more?

Get in touch with us to book an initial consultation or request more information.

Therapy that includes play can calm the storm in your child’s inner world and bring some well-deserved harmony to your home.

Get In Touch


Here’s what our clients had to say about their children and our Play Therapy Melbourne:

Children’s therapy centre

We began play therapy hoping that it would be an effective way of breaking the difficult cycle that I was in with my son. Our play therapist, Mardi, has a beautiful manner with our son and we have valued her insightful observations about what may be underlying his behaviours.

Danielle (Mother)
Filial Therapy Melbourne Testimonial

The combination of the play therapy and implementing her simple strategies has been very effective in changing things at home. We have found play therapy to be very beneficial for our family and are now undertaking filial therapy to continue to reap the rewards of the play therapy approach.

Karen & Rob (Parents)
Play Therapy Melbourne Testimonial

Natalie is fun, bright and bubbly. Through Play Therapy, she was easily able to connect with my child and we cannot believe how much he has transformed from being an anxious and unsure little boy, into the settled, confident and social child he is now.

Emma (Parent)

My child has a trauma background. He’s getting the Play therapy for about 9 months now. I can’t not thank Helen enough for her help and support . It’s been a very hard journey but the result is amazing. He has got great control on his emotions. He is a happy boy now 🙂

Mark & Linda (Parents)
Child Therapy Melbourne Testimonial

Donna’s play therapy & animal assisted therapy work has been instrumental in supporting & developing an understanding of the underlying issues of our disengaged refugee students. Her expertise has also been welcomed by staff who needed insight in engaging & developing strategies to meet the needs of our highly challenging students.

Ivan Araujo (Dandenong West Primary Youth Worker)

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