Child-Parent Relationship Therapy

What is Child-Parent Relationship Therapy?


Child-Parent Relationship Therapy (CPRT) is a unique counselling approach where you and your child work together to improve child and family problems. You are taught basic play therapy skills so that you can become involved in the therapeutic process with your child. This empowers you to become the primary support for your child.

CPRT has been successfully used with many child and family problems including:

  • Anxiety and depression
  • Anger and aggression
  • Relationship problems
  • Trauma
  • Abuse/neglect
  • Single parenting, step-parenting
  • High conflict divorce
  • Adoption/foster care
  • Family substance abuse
  • Chronic illness

CPRT has been researched a significant amount. This approach has wide applicability with very consistent research results indicating significant improvements in children’s problems and parents’ skills as well as significant decreases in parents’ stress levels.

What are the Benefits of Child-Parent Relationship Therapy?

  • You will learn basic play therapy skills so your child will be able to benefit from the therapeutic aspects of play long after professional services have ended
  • Your child will develop a more positive perspective of you as a parent
  • You will be able to understand your child better
  • Your child’s problem behaviors will be reduced or eliminated
  • You will learn new parenting skills
  • Communication with your child will be opened up and improved
  • You will develop self-confidence with your child, thus reducing your stress and frustration levels
  • Your relationship with your child will be strengthened
  • You will learn about the importance of play for your child
  • Your family’s ability to have fun together will be enhanced
  • You will develop coping skills for future problems

How does it work?

With CPRT, one parent and one child work together in therapy. You, as a parent, learn basic play therapy skills for use with your own child.

CPRT follows a 3-step process:

  1. You and I meet together for one or two individual sessions, without your child present, where I teach you basic play therapy skills.
  2. You and your child come to my playroom and have a 30-minute play session together under my supervision. After the supervised play session, you and I have a brief telephone consultation debriefing the supervised play session. This is repeated until you feel comfortable holding a play session with your child, usually for 2 to 6 supervised sessions.
  3. You hold a 30-minute play session at home with your child once every week. Between these home play sessions, you and I would again consult by telephone. At this point, you would also begin to use your new play therapy skills in interactions with your child outside of the 30-minute special play session. Specific child behavior problems would also be discussed.