Parenting is just hard. While it comes naturally to some, it doesn’t come naturally to all. Luckily, there are a ton of great books out there to give you hand. Very few of them, however, actually give you ways to apply what you are reading. You have to be intentional in your actions in order to see change and that can be the hardest thing of all. Haven’t you heard? Old habits die hard…
Child Parent Relationship Therapy (or Filial Therapy) is a play-based treatment program that equips parents to use many of the same skills used by Registered Play Therapists in order to help children experience healing from social, emotional, and behavioral problems. Within the past 6 months, SAMHSA (the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration) listed CPRT in their registry of evidenced based practices and it’s about time. Over the past 10 years, I have seen countless families changed for the better through this program. After all, parents are the #1 influence in a child’s life. So why not put them in the driver’s seat to foster positive change for their child? CPRT does just that. This program does not make the parent a therapist, but it does give them more influence to effect change, build stronger relationships, and helps to lay a foundation to prevent future struggles.
Parents will learn how to have specialized play times with their children during which many new skills will be practiced and perfected while the parent-child relationship is enhanced. Parents will learn how to listen and respond to their child in a new way, thus opening the door for children to share more and, most importantly, feel heard and understood. Parents will also learn how to minimize power struggles with their kids through a highly effective method of limit setting. Children will learn to understand and express their feelings more appropriately and parents will feel more connected with their child and more in control as a parent. And this is just the beginning.
CPRT really is a powerful tool for parents. When your child is born, the hospital doesn’t send you home with instructions on how to raise your child. There are as many different ways to parent as there are children and while some ideas are better than others, there isn’t a one stop shop parenting option out there. However, CPRT offers parents a set of skills and techniques that can be applied to almost every situation and provides a positive starting point for a positive parent-child relationship that will only grow stronger over time.