Filial Play Therapy


Filial Play Therapy

Your child’s behavior leaves you feeling overwhelmed and frustrated. You feel like you have tried everything but the temper tantrums and meltdowns persist. Your child ’s emotions feel larger than life, and you have no idea how to decode them. You’re afraid of other parents judging you as you try to help your child. You wonder to yourself:

Is it me?

Is it my child?

What am I doing wrong?

You’re tired of feeling stressed, helpless, and guilty about not being a “good enough” parent. You know you’re strong, flexible, and loving and you’re wondering how to tap into this part of yourself when your child is struggling. 

We know you are the key to your child’s success. We will help you get your confidence back, feel positive about your parenting, and see your child thrive. We will teach you to tap into your inner strengths while learning new skills to help your child navigate their world. Through our work together, you and your child will feel more connect and happy.

In Filial therapy, you will learn techniques that have a powerful impact on improving your relationship with your child. We will help you do this by educating you on child development, help you decode the messages of tantrums, and learn how to set clear boundaries.

Process of Filial Play Therapy

Filial: pertaining to a son or daughter

Filial therapy provides caregivers with training in basic play therapy techniques and practices using these techniques with their children. Parents have a uniquely powerful impact on children, which leads to meaningful change. Even when the parent-child relationship is problematic, Filial therapy aims to both empower parents and improve the relationship between parent and child. Filial therapy strengthens the parents’ bond with their child, therefore resulting in a reduction of a variety of presenting issues. The therapist educates primary caregivers in the methods and then provides supervision and guidance as families begin to navigate and resolve challenges. Over the course of therapy, the parents have the opportunity to learn a variety of methods for engaging the child while setting limits.


Filial therapy is a well-studied, evidence-based treatment. Research shows Filial therapy can benefit both parents and children by facilitating improved relationships and often leading to marked improvement when children face behavioral, emotional, and social challenges. Filial therapy may also be effective in the prevention of future difficulties, as it addresses problems within the family system and gives parents tools they can use to more effectively respond to their children. Filial therapy may even be more beneficial than traditional play therapy, as it is often possible to see positive results in fewer sessions.


Filial therapy was initially designed to treat children ages 6-11 experiencing social, emotional, or behavioral concerns such as:

  • Anxiety

  • Concerns related to adoption or foster care

  • Chronic illness or disability

  • Depression

  • Inattention and hyperactivity

  • Trauma

  • Oppositional behaviors

  • Aggression


  • Taught in 10-12 sessions

  • 60-minute sessions

  • Biweekly/Monthly check-ins are available to clients per request after initial Filial sessions to support your family’s growth

Interested in starting filial therapy for your family? Give us a call today at 866-600-8440 for filial play therapy in Royal Oak, Michigan.



Bratton, S.C., Jones, L., Ray, D., & Rhine, T. (2005). The efficacy of play therapy with children: A meta-analytic review of treatment outcomes. Professional Psychology: Research and Practice, 36(4), 376-390.

VanFleet, R. (2012). An overview of filial therapy. Retrieved from

VanFleet, R. (2011). Filial therapy: Strengthening family relationships with the power of play. In C.E. Schaefer (Ed.), Foundations of play therapy. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, Inc