Filial Therapy

Training, Supervision, And Certification Programs
Family Therapy With Young Children: The Filial Family Therapy Model
MO 21For over 25 years, NIRE has been training mental health professionals in an approach to family therapy with young children known as the Filial Family Therapy Model. The Filial Family Therapy model was developed by Bernard Guerney, Jr., Ph.D. and Louise Guerney, Ph.D. and involves parents in conducting play therapy sessions with their own children following initial training and with on-going supervision by a mental health professional. This innovative and effective child and family therapy has been developed, refined, and well researched over the past 30 years. NIRE is the leading national training center for Filial Family Therapy and provides skills training workshops, supervision, and certification in the Filial Family Therapy model. NIRE is fortunate to have both Dr. Bernard Guerney and Dr. Louise Guerney as members of its training staff and faculty.
The Filial Family Model
Filial Family Therapy (FFT), also known as Child Relationship Enhancement® Family Therapy, represents an extension of the principles of the Child-Centered Play Therapy Model to the entire family unit. FFT is designed for instances where children between ages 2 and 12 present with problems where inclusion of their parent(s) would be advantageous. Essentially, parents are systematically trained to conduct therapeutic play sessions with their children and receive on-going supervision and support from the FFT-trained professional to reach four goals:
  1. to reduce child symptoms
  2. to enhance the parent-child relationship
  3. to improve child competence and self-esteem
  4. to improve parenting skills.
Supported by a wealth of research, FFT has been empirically demonstrated to be a highly effective approach and has demonstrated the attainment of goals for both children and parents across a wide variety of problems from parent-child relationship enhancement in divorce situations to parental abuse of children. Short (10 week) and longer formats with individual parents and their child(ren), or couples and groups of unrelated parents can be used.
Filial Family Therapy Skills Training Workshop
The purpose of this two-day training program is to provide participants who have had previous training in Child-Centered Play Therapy with a comprehensive introduction to the Filial Family Therapy Model and to teach participants the principles and techniques for conducting all aspects of Filial Family Therapy (FFT), from intake through termination. The workshop emphasizes the building of participants’ therapeutic skills through the use of lecture, video examples, and supervised skills training. Participants will practice via role-plays the methods of training, supervising, and supporting parents as they learn to conduct therapeutic play sessions with their children. Attention will also be given to the specifics of organizing and initiating FFT in participants’ own settings.
The ratio of participants to workshop leader(s) is kept small so as to ensure ample opportunity for skills training and individual supervision.
Completion of this workshop is a prerequisite for application to NIRE’s:

Certification Program in Filial Family Therapy

Workshop Objectives
Upon completion of this workshop, participants will be able to:
  • Utilize the rationale for and the apply the process of FFT effectively
  • Utilize the research on FFT to support your effective implementation of FFT
  • Determine when the method is appropriate for families
  • Conduct an FFT intake effectively
  • Train and supervise parents to conduct therapeutic play with their children
  • Utilize supervised role-plays to deepen parents’ effectiveness in using FFT
  • Evaluate the attainment of therapeutic goals and appropriatness of termination
  • History, development and supporting research for FFT
  • Rationale, methods and principles of FFT
  • Deciding for whom FFT is appropriate
  • Intake procedures and structuring for FFT
  • Sequences and stages of FFT
  • Teaching parents play therapy skills and supervising parent/child sessions
  • Addressing common problems parents encounter in home play sessions
  • Video tapes of parents playing at various therapy stages; discussion of tapes
  • Individual versus group formats and brief (10 sessions) versus longer formats
  • Adaptations for special populations
  • Termination issues
  • Transferring FFT to participants’ settings
A two-day training workshop in Child-Centered Play Therapy (or its equivalent in course work) offered by IDEALS, NIRE, Penn State, Guerney, Nordling, North Texas State, Landreth, Andronico, Ginsburg, Lay, Levinger, Norton, Sywulak, VanFleet, or someone else who uses, as a strict guide, writings by Axline, Moustakas, Ginott or by the people listed above. Otherwise, it is recommended that those interested in this workshop first take a two-day workshop in Child-Centered Play Therapy.
CE Information
13 hours of CE credits are provided to psychologists, social workers, counselors, and play therapists. For further information, see Continuing Education Information.
William Nordling, Ph.D.
On-Site Training Opportunities
This and all other NIRE professional training workshops can be offered on-site and tailored to meet your organization’s or group’s distinctive needs. For more information on this potentially cost-saving alternative, please see

On-Site Training

Schedule, Cost and Registration Information
Please check our Professional Training Schedule for the dates of current year workshop offerings.
Cost of the FFT Workshop is $265.
A discount of $25 is available for each person attending from the same site and registering together.
Please see the Professional Training Schedule for information on additional discounts.
The workshop meets from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day. Lunch is on your own.
To Register:
Via the website:
4400 East-West Highway #24
Bethesda, MD 20814
If you register by fax or mail, please include your name, address, home and work phone numbers, and the dates for which you are registering.
Payment may be made either by check or credit card. Registrations by fax must be accompanied by a credit card number.
If payment is made with a credit card number, please write your name exactly as it appears on the card, the expiration date and your signature. Please include the zip code associated with the credit card.
Additional Training Opportunities
Participants completing this workshop may also wish to attend NIRE’s:

Advanced Child-Centered Play Therapy Training Workshop

Other references on this website for Filial:  (see buttons at the side)

Certification in Filial Therapy

Professional Resources/Bibliography  for Filial Family Therapy
Supervision and Certification Program
Certification in Filial Family Therapy
Other Resources
Professional Resources for Filial Family Therapists
Bibliography on Filial Family Therapy