Filial Therapy

Topics: Family, Family therapy, Play Pages: 9 (3486 words) Published: January 29, 2014
Family counseling approach paper: Filial family therapy
Liberty University- 2013

Filial therapy is commonly known as a type of play therapy used to help create a bond between a child and their parents in creating different skills the family may be struggling with. In this paper the writer will go over different ways this therapy can be effective, when this therapy may be best used and for what ages that are most receptive to this form of therapy. In this paper the reader will also explore a little bit of why it is important to the writer on a personal level while also exploring the writer’s perspective in implementing filial therapy. This integrative approach was developed in the 1960’s by a Bernard Gurney and Michael Andronico who based the therapy off of a psycheducational framework. Rather than a problem being viewed as an illness, filial therapy is seen as more of a bridge to aid in a lack of skill or proper communication between a parent and child to overcome the problem. VanFleet,R. Scott. R, & Smith,K (2005). Filial therapy is a technique that utilizes parents as the therapeutic agent for their child. The Filial therapy is typically intended for emotionally disturbed children and the parents but also helps with mentally handicapped and autistic children as well. One thing that makes filial therapy so great for families is it allows the parent to become the agent as opposed to taking the child away from home and they come back changed without the parent changing with them which recreates problems. According to Fletcher-Janzen, D.(2007), with the parent being the agent allows the parent and child to bond through the emotional trauma in learning to cope with the issues at hand. APA,(2013) states, filial therapy has been researched for over 45 years, helping families around the world with a large range of issues such as substance abuse, divorce, attachment problems, anxiety, depression, adoption/foster care, anger and aggression, along with many other issues that may arise in a family system. Regardless of the reason a family is there, filial therapy is there to help the family feel like they are in a safe environment to learn one another through play and having a therapist observe triggers for both the parent and child that may need to be addressed. Where it began

According to Goldenburg and Goldenburg (2013), the contributors to filial therapy were Bernard Gurney and Michael Andronico. Gurney and Andronico, based their theory off of Gurney’s psycho-educational endeavors go back to the filial therapy program developed in the 1960’s to help encourage parents to understand communicating with mentally disturbed children, which now has turned into almost in communicating with any child. This therapy originally was constructed in groups of six to eight different parents and used Rogerian principles that applied to parent and child relationships. Rogerian principles was based off of Carl Roger’s research that indicated that therapy could be empathic, warm, and centered on the person rather than centered on just the problem. McLeod, S.(2008) Through the structuring of the sessions and principles the parents would start to develop techniques for structuring consistency and setting limits with the child while also acknowledging when something was wrong and good. This approach has helped parents in developing more realistic expectations, in becoming more receptive to the child and their feelings and needs. Another contributor to filial therapy is Dr. Rise Vanfleet has at least 35 years of clinical work and has helped thousands of families through play therapy. She has served and advocated on the importance of the family relationships and effective communication through play therapy. Fleet is the founder and the president of the Family Enhancement and Play Center in Pennsylvania. APA, (2013) The purpose of filial therapy

The purpose of filial therapy is to...

References: 3. Sparks,V.(2010) Filial therapy with Adolescent parents: The effect on parental empathy, acceptance, and stress. Liberty University
Reddy, Linda A. (Ed); Files-Hall, Tara M. (Ed); Schaefer, Charles E. (Ed), (2005). Empirically based play interventions for children. , (pp. 241-264). Washington, DC, US: American Psychological Association, xviii, 310 pp. doi: 10.1037/11086-012
7. APA,(2013) Filial Play therapy, APA.ORG retrieved 12/13/2013 from
9. McLeod, S.(2008) Person centered therapy. Simply Psychology. 12/13/13 retrieved from
11. Glass, B. (1986). Parents as therapeutic agents: A study of the effects of filial
12. Landreth, G. L. (1991). Play therapy: The art of the relationship. Munice, IN:
Accelerated Development Inc., Publishers.
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