Filial Play Therapy

Filial Play Therapy works with the parent/carer and child or young person. It can provide a way to form a closer and happier relationship whereby they both understand each other better.

family jumping with home in the clouds

Please see the testimonials webpage to read what parents, carers and schools say about both Filial Play Therapy and Play Therapy. This type of therapy, works well with both mothers and fathers. Also, it can work well with foster/adoptive carers/parents and their foster/adopted children. This is because it works on the child’s attachment to their parent/carer as well as provides a means of helping the child to explore any traumatic or abusive memories or worries through play. It is suitable for children or young people who have multiple problems.

Filial Play Therapy can also be used with children on the autistic spectrum as well as with those who have learning disabilities as the play is at the child’s or young person’s pace and developmental level (ie. Physical, emotional and cognitive).

How is Filial Play Therapy Different to Individual, Child Centred Play Therapy?

In Filial Play Therapy the child and parent are present in all the sessions, whereas in Play Therapy, the child and the Play Therapist are the only people present in the session (please see “What is Play Therapy?” page for a more detailed explanation of Play Therapy).


The themes and meanings in the play are explained to the parent in a follow up session after the Filial Play Session. The combination of the emotional and physical experience of the child playing with the parent and the follow up discussion with the Play Therapist helps the parent/carer to understand the issues and emotions that their child is struggling with. This is often different to what the parent had originally thought. Then the parent starts to focus on playing rather than “parenting”. Whilst at the same time, the child also starts to see their parent differently and the two parties start to “tune in” emotionally to each other. This helps the relationship to become closer and happier where they can each begin to understand the other.

The Benefits of Filial Play Therapy

  • The parent is able to understand their child’s difficulties both emotionally and socially.
  • The parent sees more clearly what their child has understood about a negative incident, experience or relationship.
  • The parent starts to understand what their child has experienced. Often this is different to what the parent had originally thought.
  • The child starts to understand their parent differently as they experience their undivided attention.
  • The emotional warmth between the parent and the child increases, which makes both feel closer and happier to the other.
  • Improved behaviour is reported at both the home and the school.
  • The child becomes more confident and able to say what they like and what they don’t like.
  • The parent becomes more confident to help as the child seeks their help more easily.
  • Both the parent and child develop a more secure relationship that makes each of them feel better about their selves.

Filial Play Therapy usually takes 3-6 months to complete in a case with minor disruption, although it may last longer depending on the complexity of the child’s needs and relationship difficulties.

Please contact Debra at for a detailed filial play therapy quotation.