Filial Therapy


Assessment, Counseling and Consulting Associates

Specializing in Educational and Mental Health 
Assessment, Counseling and Consulting Services




Denton M. Kurtz, M.ED., LSP, LMHC

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Filial Therapy

Filial therapy was developed in the 1960's by Drs. Louise and Dr. Bernard Guerney and  is recognized as an effective approach to strengthening parent, child and family relationships. 

Filial therapy uses two important strategies:
Play therapy for children and parent education through direct involvement. 

Play is very important in a child's development.   Through play, children express their feelings, learn new skills, develop social skills and judgments and they learn and practice problem-solving abilities.  In filial therapy, parents are trained to conduct child-centered play sessions with their children with the goal being to develop positive interactions between parents and their children and to increase communication, coping and problem-solving skills. In this way, families are better able to successfully manage future problems independently.

Therapeutic goals for children include the following: 

  • To be able to recognize and express feelings 
  • To develop effective problem-solving and coping skills 
  • To increase self-confidence and self-esteem 
  • To increase trust and confidence in their parents 
Therapeutic goals for parents in filial therapy include the following: 
  • To increase understanding of child development 
  • To increase understanding of their own children 
  • To recognize the importance of play and emotion in children's lives 
  • To decrease feelings of frustration with their children 
  • To increase confidence in their ability to parent 
  • To help open the doors of communication with their children 
  • To enable parents to work together better as a team 
  • To provide a non-threatening atmosphere in which parents may deal with their own issues as they relate to their children and parenting

Research on filial therapy has shown it to be effective in reducing child problems and in increasing parental acceptance. 



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