Child Parent Relationship Therapy
Child Parent Relationship Therapy (CPRT) is a play-based treatment program for young children between 3 and 8 years who have behavioral, emotional, social, and attachment disorders and for their parents. CPRT aims to fully involve parents in the therapeutic process through group sessions in which parents learn skills to respond more effectively to their children’s emotional and behavioral needs. In turn, children are expected to learn that they can count on their parents to reliably and consistently meet their needs for love, acceptance, safety, and security. The program is based upon the premise that a secure parent–child relationship is the essential factor for children’s well-being.
The goal of CPRT is to strengthen the quality of the parent–child attachment bond as a means of reducing child behavior problems and stress in the parent–child relationship. In CPRT, parents are taught skills grounded in the principles of Child Centered Play Therapy (CCPT), which focuses on helping them establish or enhance a secure attachment with their child and respond to their child’s underlying needs rather than focus on their child’s symptoms. Parents learn attitudes and skills to help them respond to their child in ways that soothe and help their child move from reactive to receptive states, facilitate their child’s self-regulation, and help their child develop internal resources and coping abilities. Parents learn to effectively limit their child’s misbehavior, while demonstrating empathy and respect.
CPRT is typically administered in 10 weekly, 2-hour group sessions with five to eight parents. Sessions include a didactic component, a supervision component, and a group process component. During weeks 1–3, parents learn child-centered play therapy skills, concepts, and attitudes. In weeks 4–10, parents practice these CCPT-based skills in video-recorded play sessions with their children under the supervision of a CPRT facilitator/practitioner who is also trained in CCPT. The therapist reviews play-session videos to provide focused supervision and feedback for parents during weekly groups.