Free Filial Therapy for families

Hannah Elms – Play Therapist at Kindred Art Space is offering a form of family therapy known as Filial Therapy.  This is available as a first-in-best-dressed offer to two suitable families. 

Hannah is currently undertaking study in filial therapy (a form of family therapy) and is looking for two families to work with who would be willing to engage in filial therapy over 12 sessions commencing asap. This is a free service (however it is valued around $2000!).

“It’s such a great opportunity for families to strengthen family bonds and develop deeper parent-child relationships!” Hannah Elms – Play Therapist

Below is some of the information about what the therapy is and what it involves.

Definition and goals:

Filial therapy is about giving parents the skills they need to therapeutically engage with their children to facilitate growth and healing. It focuses on the parent- child relationships and involves the whole family at different points throughout the process. Parents are trained in therapeutic skills and taught to use these skills within therapist supervised special play times with their children.

Goals/ outcomes:

  • symptom reduction in child
  • personality growth in child – capacity for self-expression, increased frustration tolerance, impulse control, self-mastery, self-responsibility, positive realistic views of others
  • improved parent-child relationship
  • improved parenting skills that can be generalized beyond the context of filial play sessions and integrated within their everyday parenting
  • personality growth for parent
  • improvement in functioning of family system – providing the environment needed for this
  • ability to foster flourishing beyond just symptom reduction

How it works:

There are four different phases in FT:

Phase 1:
Intake meeting (Parents)
Family Assessment (Whole family)
Demonstration session (Whole family)

Phase 2:
Training sessions x 3 (Parents/carers) (structuring, limit setting, empathic listening, role play/playfulness)
Supervised Filial Play Sessions (Whole family) x4

Phase 3:
Generalisation meeting & termination (parents/carers) – discussing how to use these therapeutic skills beyond special play times
Final Assessment (Whole family)


Can be helpful for fostering new capacities for parents who:

  • find it hard to set limits
  • or set too many limits and tend to be over controlling
  • or find it difficult to be receptive to the emotional lives of their children
  • or who want to improve their parent-child relationship


  • high level of commitment
  • openness to learn and change on behalf of the parents/carers
  • parents/carers to be stable enough to take on new learning and focus on the needs of the child
  • consistent in attending sessions
  • involvement of whole family at different points throughout the therapy
  • ideally children (or at least one) between the ages of 3-12 – however some flexibility

If you or someone one you know may be interested I’d love to hear from you!

Warm regards,

Hannah Elms
Child Play Therapist

Sunrise Play Therapy

Phone: 04 5990 3878
Kookaburra Room, Kindred Art Space
22 Kookaburra Street, Frankston VIC 3199