Parent-Child Play Therapy
The cornerstone of the Chances for Children-NY program is parent-child play therapy. In session, the parent and child play together while the parent and therapist collaborate as “babywatchers.” CFC sessions focus on moments of mutual pleasure. In a subsequent session, parents and therapists watch the video and reflect on the communications hidden within play. Therapists provide parents with information about child development, discuss questions parents may have about their children’s behaviors, help parents work through the inevitable bumps in the road of parenting, and reflect with parents on the parents’ own childhood memories that may influence the way they think and act with their children.
A central component of the CFC practice is the use of video recording of parents and children at play. Video feedback allows the replaying of pivotal moments when things are going well as well as other moments when disruptions occur and parents struggle to set appropriate limits or tempers flare. Pinpointing these moments can be transformational in helping parents understand reactions and expand choices of response.
In parent-child playgroups, CFC provides parents with a safe space to play with their children, meet other parents in the neighborhood, talk about parenting challenges, explore solutions other parents have found helpful, and learn about their children’s development. Parents discuss such themes as early fears, separations, the need both for security and independence, and the challenges of regulating strong feelings.
Each week, we encourage child-focused play and exploration of each child’s unique personality and interests. Children are able to socialize with peers, as well as practice taking-turns, following routines and engaging in group activities.
The training provided by CFC was a true blessing. It has been at times, intense, challenging and demanding but extremely rewarding at the same time. It has presented me with a solid knowledge base and has taught me skills that truly support the work that I do and have now internalized.”
Trainee, 2008, Florida
Chances for Children-NY trains social service professionals to implement programs in their own organizations using a strength-based protocol that has been shown to be effective.
“You helped transform my thinking about my profession, and my professional practice slowly unfolded into a rich, intelligent, workable practice.”
Trainee, 2005, New York
Training includes group training sessions, weekly individual case consultation for the social service providers, extensive readings, and guest lectures from preeminent scholars in the field of parent-child research. Training covers developmental theories of infancy and early childhood and adolescence, attachment theory, and the impact of trauma and depression on parent-child relationships. In addition, training exposes practitioners to some of the many ways that parent-child therapy is practiced and gives participants the opportunity to apply what they have learned to their own cases. Through readings and discussion, participants deepen their understanding of transference and counter-transference in the field of parent-child work. Central components of training are video feedback techniques and interventions. After completing CFC training, practitioners should feel confident in their abilities to use video as a therapeutic tool in their own practices. CFC training has allowed individuals and organizations to implement dyadic play therapy programs where none existed and confidently meet the needs of parents with babies and young children in their communities.
CFC Clinical Projects to Date
- CFC Teen Parent-Infant Project
- CFC Kingsbridge-Highbridge Project
- CFC Hunts Point Project in collaboration with Hunts Point Alliance for Children
- Chances for Children Institute at Riverdale Mental Health Association
CFC Training Programs to Date
- New York City Department of Education LYFE Program social work staff
- Riverdale Mental Health Association Early Childhood Team
- Sarasota Partnership for Children’s Mental Health