Training, Supervision, and Certification Program
Filial Family Therapy

For 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 Therapy 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:

  • to reduce child symptoms
  • to enhance the parent-child relationship
  • to improve child competence and self-esteem
  • 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.

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 Workshops.

Filial Family Therapy Skills Training Workshop:

Teaching Parents To Utilize Play Therapy Techniques with their Children

Now offered as an Interactive Webinar

Whether the 13 CE credits for this offering will be treated as contact or non-contact hours will be dependent on the respective state licensing boards for psychologists, social workers, counselors, or marriage and family therapists. Please contact your respective licensing board(s) to obtain a clear answer to this question.


The purpose of this two-day training workshop is to provide participants who have had previous training in Child-Centered Play Therapy with a comprehensive introduction to the Filial Family Therapy Model from intake through termination. The workshop emphasizes the building of participants’ therapist skills to be able to teach the techniques of play therapy to parents and support parents as they learn to conduct therapeutically oriented play sessions with their children. These goals are accomplished through the use of lecture, video examples, roleplay by the presenter, and participant practice in dyads via the use of virtual “breakout” rooms.

Completion of this workshop is a prerequisite for application to NIRE’s:

  • Certification Program in Filial Family Therapy

For information, please visit Certification Programs in RE Therapy, CCPT and FFT

Schedule for Day 1
9:00 a.m.  Overview of the workshop
                    Review of Child-Centered Play Therapy
                    The development of Filial Family Therapy
                    Research on Filial Family Therapy
                    The continuum of therapeutic interventions with children
                    The 5 goals of FFT and the stages of the FFT process
                    Didactic and Dynamic elements
                    Therapist as educator, trainer, and group therapist
                    Logistics: individual vs. group formats, rationale for
                    inclusion/exclusion of children,
                    rationale for inclusion/exclusion of parents
10:30 a.m. Break
10:45 a.m. Filial Family Therapy video: discussion; questions
Noon          Lunch
1:00  p.m.  Intake process
                    Demonstration of making recommendations of FFT to parents
                    The initial session: overview of skills; responding to parents’          questions
                    Discussion of the teaching paradigm
                    Teaching 7 play therapy skills
2:50 p.m.   Break
3:05 p.m.   Demonstration of teaching play therapy skills & practice continues
                     Therapist demonstration play sessions with parents’ children
                      Parents’ mock play sessions
5:00 p.m.    Adjournment
Schedule for Day 2
9:00 a.m.     Questions; Discussion
                     Parent demonstration session
                     Demonstration of Parent feedback (on early session) in group format
                     Feedback model
                     Workshop participant practice in dyads: Practice exercise 1
10:45 a.m.  Break
11:00 a.m.  Workshop participant practice in dyads: Practice exercise 2
                     Preparing parents for home sessions
                     Deciding on time and place; creating a therapeutic space
                     Selecting toys
                     Alternatives to home sessions
Noon           Lunch
1:00 p.m.    Questions and Discussion
                      Additional practice of various Filial therapy skills
3:00 p.m.    Break
3:15 p.m.     Discussion of generalization phase – informal and formal approaches
                      Filial Family Therapy – individual and group formats
                      Variations: standard and not so standard
                      Discussion: Adapting Filial Family Therapy for your setting
                      Questions; Evaluation
5:00 p.m.    Adjournment


Workshop Objectives
Upon completion of this workshop, participants will be able to:

1) List the five major therapeutic goals of Filial family play therapy

2) Describe the inclusionary and exclusionary criteria relating to children when utilizing Filial family play therapy

3) Describe the inclusionary and exclusionary criteria relating to parents when utilizing Filial family play therapy.

4) List the six major underlying principles and attitudes needed for success in training parents during the Filial therapy process

5) Identify the 5 major steps and activities associated with the basic play therapy skills training phase of the Filial therapy process

6) Describe the 4-step parent feedback process used in supervising parents’ play sessions with their own children

7) Discuss the 4-level hierarchy of supervisory issues that is used to prioritize what feedback to give to parent’s after demonstration play sessions

8) Identify three major areas that must be discussed with parents while preparing them for home sessions

9) Compare the commonalities and differences between individual family, small group, and large group formats of Filial Therapy


  • 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
Distribution of Hours to Meet RPT Credential through APT
  • Play Therapy History – 1 hour
  • Play Therapy Seminal or Historically Significant Theories – 3 hours
  • Play Therapy Skills and Methods – 9 hours


A two-day training workshop in Child-Centered Play Therapy (or its equivalent in course work) offered by IDEALS, NIRE, Penn State, Guerney, Nordling, Scuka, SUNY-Oswego, 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 on CE credits, please see Continuing Education Information

Completion of this workshop counts toward the 150 hour requirement to become a Registered Play Therapist (RPT) through the Association for Play Therapy under their category of “Live Webinar.” The maximum number of Live Webinar hours that can be applied to APT’s RPT status is 75 hours.


  • William Nordling, Ph.D.
  • Mary Ortwein, M.S., LMFT
  • Sharon Bryant, MA, LMFT, RPT-S, CCPT-S, FT-S, EMDR

Schedule, Cost and Registration Information
Cost of the Filial Therapy Workshop is $315.
Graduate Student rate is $195.
The workshop meets from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day. Lunch is on your own.

Cancellation Policy:

Full refund (minus a $25 cancellation fee) is available up to one week prior to the beginning of the workshop.

Thereafter, no refund is permitted, but the money paid can be applied to a future workshop offering.

To Register:
Via the website: please click on the Registration Workshop link at the top of this page.
Phone: 301-680-8977
Fax: 240-491-5956

Additional Training Opportunities
Participants completing this workshop may also wish to attend NIRE’s: