Parent Child Therapies involve both parent and child allow for the healing process to be focused on the attachment relationship. If a parent is the primary agent of change rather than the therapist the results are enduring and the relationship is strengthened through the process. The two primary modalities for parent child therapy used by A Child’s Song are Watch, Wait, Wonder and Child Parent Relationship Therapy.
Watch, Wait and Wonder is a child led psychotherapeutic approach that specifically and directly uses the infant’s spontaneous activity in a free play format to enhance maternal sensitivity and responsiveness, the child’s sense of self and self-efficacy, emotion regulation, and the child-parent attachment relationship. The approach provides space for the infant/child and parent to work through developmental and relational struggles through play. Also central to the process is engaging the parent to be reflective about the child’s inner world of feelings, thoughts and desires, through which the parent recognizes the separate self of the infant and gains an understanding of her own emotional responses to her child. Because of the central role of the infant/child in the intervention and the relationship focus, Watch, Wait and Wonder differs from other interventions which tend to focus primarily on the more verbal partner, the parent.
Child Parent Relationship Therapy is a special 10 session parent training program to help strengthen the relationship between a parent and a child by using 30 minute playtimes once a week. Play is important to children because it is the most natural way children communicate. Toys are like words for children and play is their language. Adults talk about their experiences, thoughts and feelings. Children use toys to explore their experiences and express what they think and how they feel. Parents are taught to have special structured 30 minute playtimes with their child using a kit of carefully selected toys in their own home. Parents learn to respond empathically to their child’s feelings, build their self esteem, help their child learn self control and self responsibility, and set therapeutic limits during special play times.
In special playtimes you will build a different kind of relationship with your child and your child will discover she is capable, important, understood and accepted as she is. How your child feels about herself will make a significant difference in her behaviour. Other demonstrated positive outcomes from CPRT are increased parent satisfaction, decreased parent frustration and improved communication between parent and child.
A new research study looking at this method its effectiveness for adoptive families demonstrated that CPRT could be adapted to meet the specific needs of adoptive families.
An adoptee or adoptive parent may decide they would like to receive individual counselling for their own trauma or relational difficulties both past and present. If the adoptee is a parent of an adopted child they may find that they need to work through their own experience of being adopted in order to be responsive and emotional available to their adopted child.
Parents may wish to speak with an adoptions counsellor about how to best support their adopted children with a variety of concerns such as attachment, anxiety, early trauma, behavioural difficulties or issues that arise around their child’s birth family or early history. Parents may find that they are being triggered by certain behaviours that their child is exhibiting and wish to work through their own reactions with a therapist who can guide them in making the best parenting choices.