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Parenting is not easy...

"We need resilience and hope and a spirit that can carry us through the doubt and fear. We need to believe that we can effect change if we want to live and love with our whole hearts"

                                                                                                                            Brené Brown

Filial Therapy

What is filial therapy?

Filial therapy is a blend of person-centred play therapy and family therapy. Filial therapy, like play therapy, works on the assumption that children are able to communicate their feelings more easily through play rather than words. Parents or carers are taught how to hold weekly therapeutic play sessions with their children. Over time, the relationship between parent and child becomes more harmonious and the family bond is strengthened.


All of our filial therapists are fully qualified and experienced play therapists who have undergone the additional specialist intensive training required to be competent in this wonderful approach.

filial therapy improves parent-child relationships
Big emotions tell a story, listen to the story
Big emotions tell a story, listen to the story

Why is filial therapy useful for families?

For various reasons the relationship between children and their parents/carers can at times become strained. The dysregulated behaviours of their children can leave parents feeling exasperated, and their own ability to stay calm and connected to their child becomes challenged. Quite often parents feel out of touch with how their child is thinking or feeling and a chasm of misunderstanding can begin to emerge between them.


The closely monitored and therapist-supported therapeutic play sessions that parents hold with their child provide a means of expression for the thoughts and feelings their child is struggling to communicate verbally. As the parent/carer becomes more skilled at understanding the 'language' of their child's play they begin to feel more connected to their child and are better able to attune, and respond to, their needs. Levels of dysregulation and the associated behaviours reduce over time as the child feels heard and understood by their parent/carer. 

Big emotions tell a story, listen to the story
Big emotions tell a story, listen to the story

What changes can I hope to see?

Filial therapy is a wonderful therapy that can have a positive impact on all members of the family. The changes you could see would be noticed in parents/carers, children and the family as a whole. 


Through filial therapy parents and carers can begin to feel calmer, more in control of their own emotions and reactions and more connected to their children. Stress levels fall and relationships become more positive. Parents are able to more easily attune to their children's emotional state and respond appropriately. The ability to set fair and consistent boundaries becomes a much longed for outcome for parents.


Children begin to feel calmer and less stressed as their parents learn a different way of really understanding them. Dysregulated behaviours naturally subside over time as a consequence of being heard and understood by their parents. Their too big emotions become more manageable over time and they are more able to engage positively in their relationships with parents, siblings, peers, teachers and the wider community. As a result of feeling calmer they are better able to access education, with all the positive benefits that holds for the future.


The family as a whole becomes more loving and cohesive as family bonds are strengthened and enhanced.


How do I make a referral?

Child in Mind accepts referrals for filial therapy from regional adoption agencies, local authority teams, fostering and adoption agencies, and health professionals. We do not currently accept private referrals from parents. 


To refer a family please complete our referral form and return via secure email to

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