An exploratory study of facilitator adherence to a School-Based Filial Therapy programme

Jane Cooper, Mong lin Yu, Ted Brown, Linda MacKay

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Filial therapy is a play therapy intervention where significant individuals who are not clinicians facilitate therapeutic play sessions with children. In School-Based Filial Therapy (SBFT), the direct treatment role is performed by specially trained education professionals. Concerns about fidelity in filial therapy have been raised historically; however, investigation has been limited. This mixed-methods study explored factors impacting facilitator adherence to SBFT. The qualitative component involved semi-structured interviews with eight facilitators. Quantitative data were gathered from: a visual analogue scale of facilitator stress and discomfort, the Differentiation of Self–Short Form and a SBFT observation form rating adherence. Overall, relationship processes occurring within the therapeutic system of the facilitator-child dyad were found to impact facilitator adherence via factors both internal and external to the facilitator. Practice implications include enhancing training and supervision processes for facilitators.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)145-163
Number of pages19
JournalInternational Journal of Play
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 3 Apr 2022


  • Bowen’s family systems theory
  • Differentiation of self
  • fidelity
  • filial therapy
  • mixed methods
  • school-based play therapy

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