Working With Families

“It is not enough to love the children, it is necessary for them to be aware that they
are loved.” – St John Bosco.

Filial Therapy

Filial Therapy was developed from the Play Therapy model to help parents and carers build more satisfying and healing relationships with their  children. Like Play Therapy, Filial Therapy is effective for a wide range of difficulties.

It is especially beneficial in building strong attachment relationships, particularly in adoption and foster care. It is a flexible approach easily adapted to the individual needs of the family. The therapist works directly with the parents, supporting and empowering them in new ways to interact with their child and building their confidence as they practice their new knowledge at home.

Children respond to having the parent or carer’s undivided attention for a significant period of time, and parents and carers find renewed joy in their relationship with their child.

Filial Therapy Brochure


To be able to have support and understanding from such a wonderful place has been amazing. It has given me the skills to really help my children and to continue that after our sessions finished.
We found that our relationship and understanding of each granddaughter improved, as did their behaviour towards us... There was, and remains, a positive development of love between us.

“The best toy for a young child is the invested, caring adult – someone to pay attention, to engage and to play with the child using words, song, touch and smile.” – Bruce Perry.

The Nurturing Families Programme

The Windfall Centre’s Nurturing Families Programme is an early intervention service based on Filial Therapy. It is a 16 week supportive programme especially designed for parents and caregivers who want to strengthen the relationship with their babies or young children. The programme is delivered by qualified and accredited Play Therapists specially trained in Filial Therapy and Infant Mental Health. The focus of the programme is the relationship between caregiver and child, particularly the early interactive behaviours between mother and infant, sometimes referred to as a ‘conversation’.
For most mother / baby dyads, this ‘conversation’ develops naturally forming the foundation of a secure attachment relationship and healthy child development. However, a wide variety of challenges can undermine the parent-child relationship and create the need for additional support and guidance. This attachment-based approach can also assist maternal bonding in the perinatal period, in preparation for parenthood. In this sense, the Nurturing Families Programme is both reparative and preventative. The Nurturing Families Programme is effective across families with diverse needs, not least in promoting sensitive fathering. It can be especially effective in strengthening family relationships where a child has been diagnosed with autism, disability or chronic illness.
Its non-judgmental ethos reflects the core elements of unconditional acceptance and positive regard at the heart of Play Therapy and Counselling. Parents are collaborative partners in the process. Their natural capabilities to work together ensures their individual and cultural approach to parenting is valued and respected.
We are happy to discuss the programme more fully to explore how it might meet your needs.
Baby and mother cuddling.
Father and child playing with blocks.

The Hand in Hand Programme

The Hand in Hand Programme is a relational approach to meeting some of the challenges of parenting children and young people on the Autistic Spectrum. The programme is based on the tenets of Filial Therapy with a focus on Attachment and Bonding but takes into account the very specific sensory and neurological factors associated with autism. 

Hand in Hand offers families who have received diagnoses of Autism Spectrum Conditions for their children the opportunity to develop therapeutic play skills to use in their interactions. This approach encourages a non-directive and contingent stance on the part of the adult in their engagements with their children. When caregivers have developed their skills and confidence the therapist supports them in setting up and then observing them in special therapeutic play sessions at home between caregiver and child, giving feedback on their skills development and providing support with strategies for effective parenting.

Extensive research has highlighted that a child-led and attuned approach underpins better prosocial behaviour and overall developmental outcomes for autistic children (e.g. Siller and Sigman, 2002). Additional contributions through psycho-education on the facets of autism alongside ongoing parental support offers families a robust support system at what can be a very confusing and challenging time following a diagnosis.