9. Filial Therapy for Maltreated and Neglected Children

Integration of Family Therapy and Play Therapy

  1. Athena A. Drewes,
  2. Sue C. Bratton and
  3. Charles E. Schaefer
  1. Ris̈e VanFleet and
  2. Glade Topham

Published Online: 16 JUN 2011

DOI: 10.1002/9781118094792.ch9

Integrative Play Therapy

Integrative Play Therapy

How to Cite

VanFleet, R. and Topham, G. (2011) Filial Therapy for Maltreated and Neglected Children, in Integrative Play Therapy (eds A. A. Drewes, S. C. Bratton and C. E. Schaefer), John Wiley & Sons, Inc., Hoboken, NJ, USA. doi: 10.1002/9781118094792.ch9

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 16 JUN 2011
  2. Published Print: 8 JUL 2011

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9780470617922

Online ISBN: 9781118094792



  • filial therapy;
  • maltreated children;
  • neglected children;
  • interpersonal violence;
  • trauma reactions


Children who have been maltreated, neglected, or exposed to other forms of family or interpersonal violence often present challenges to therapists because of the complex nature of their trauma and the negative impact on their attachment processes. Without effective treatment, these children and their families or caregivers are likely to suffer in significant ways. Filial Therapy (FT), an empirically supported therapeutic intervention that blends family therapy and play therapy, offers considerable assistance to maltreated children and their families. This paper briefly covers the difficulties commonly experienced by maltreated children and their families, the implications of the parenting style and emotion socialization literatures for their treatment, and ways in which FT can be implemented to help them. An overview of the integrative nature and methods of FT is followed by a discussion of its unique contributions to abused and neglected children and their families. Its use in combination with other modalities is also outlined, along with a transition model that bridges the gap between foster care and adoption, as well as foster care and reunification, for these children.