What is PCIT?
PCIT is a parent-training program for young children (ages 2-8 years old) who have disruptive behaviour problems including trauma.  PCIT is based on research which aims to help parents manage difficult children and help children to be more compliant, less disruptive and have less severe problem behaviour in the home and at school.

In PCIT therapy , parents and their child have weekly one-hour therapy sessions where parents learn and practice specific skills with their child. The duration of PCIT varies case by case until parents feel they have mastered the skills and their child’s behaviour improves.   Read more about PCIT at:

https://www.childwelfare.gov/pubs/f interactbulletin/ or the attached copy of PCIT factsheets here f_interactbulletin[1] copy; and 14b.-PCIT-for-anxiety-Pincus[1].

What is Child Centred Play Therapy? 
Child Centred Play Therapy (CCPT) was originally labelled by Virginia Axline as non directive play therapy. CCPT is a therapy for children ages 3-12 years old who are struggling with behavioural/emotional difficulties. As its name suggests, CCPT focuses on the child and not on his or her problems.   Hence, the choice of issues and activity in the playroom are determined by the child rather than the adult.   Gary Landreth (1991) summarised the focus of CCPT as :

  • Person rather than problem.
  • Present rather than thoughts and acts.
  • Understanding rather than explaining,
  • Accepting rather than correcting.
  • Child’s direction rather than the therapist’s instruction.
  • Child’s wisdom rather than therapist’s knowledge.

Some Examples of CCPT Treatment Goals:
Family problems

  • Child will demonstrate improved communication skills with parents;
  • Child will demonstrate relational skills with parents;
  • Child will respect boundaries and limits set by family members within normal limits for age and developmental ability.
  • Child will demonstrate pro-social skills;
  • Child will demonstrate problem- solving skills.

Educational problems

  • Child will demonstrate improved communication skills with teachers and educational staff;
  • Child will respect boundaries and limits set by teachers and educational staff within normal limit for age and developmental ability;
  • Child will emotionally contain in the classroom;
  • Child will seek appropriate support services in the school.

Mental Health Problems

  • Child will begin to express feeling verbally;
  • Child’s acting out behaviour (e.g., anger, depression, anxiety) will abate;
  • Child will be able to demonstrate insight;
  • Child’s mood will stabilise;
  • Child will share his or her perspective of the experience of trauma.
  • Child will express a complex variety of feelings.

Why play therapy? 
Play is the primary way of children learn about their world,   express themselves, develop new physical and mental skills, understand how things around them work and develop social skills and bond with others (Dr Rise Van Fleet, 2006).

How is play therapeutic? 
Play therapy creates a safe atmosphere in which the children can explore and express themselves. In that safe atmosphere, they can learn more about how the world works and the restrictions it imposes from their personal perspectives and they can work through their feelings.   Play therapy provides the materials and the environment to promote the children’s learning, expression, rehearsal, self discovery and growth (Dr. Rise Van Fleet, 2006) in the same way adults mentally problem – solve when they encounter a problem in their daily living.

Are there rules in Child Centred Play Therapy? 
CCPT has “Limit Setting” which aims to help the child learn to take self control. The limits set are minimal and they are not aimed to change the child but ensure that the child and others are safe and toys and materials are cared for.

How long is a play session? 
A therapeutic session for CCPT usually takes 45 minutes.   Therapy is a unique journey for individual child.   In most cases 15 – 20 sessions are sufficient.   It is important that the child attends these therapy sessions regularly.

How do I know Child Centred Play Therapy (CCPT) works?

  • Symptom reduction;
  • Child developing desirable capacity;
  • Personal change and wellness overall;
  • Child flourishing;

What is Filial Therapy? 
Filial therapy is about developing strong and secure attachment and family relationships through the power of play.   The aim is to strengthen the relationship between parents/carers and children using CCPT.

Goals for Filial Therapy are:

  • to enable children to express their feelings and fears through play with their parents/ carers;
  • to allow children to understand their own feelings  more appropriately with support from significant people in their lives;
  • to promote children’s self confidence;
  • to reduce children’s problem behaviours.
  •  to enable children to develop the feelings of security and trust towards their parents/carers so that they can break down barriers in the relationships;
  • to help parents and carers become more confident in their caring roles.