Child Parent Psychotherapy
ABOUT CHILD PARENT PSYCHOTHERAPY
Child Parent Psychotherapy, or CPP, is an evidenced based treatment intended to support both the child and their parent or caregiver after experiencing a traumatic event in the family. Child Parent Psychotherapy is a dyadic, relationship-based treatment for parents and young children, meaning that the majority of sessions include both the child or children and their parent or caregiver, as a means to restore the attachment relationship that may have been negatively impacted by the traumatic event, or continue to foster a healthy attachment relationship after the trauma has occurred. This treatment is not individualized in focusing on just the child, as it is understood that trauma affects the entire family unit and that healing requires the containment of a safe and empathic relationship.
An objective of Child Parent Psychotherapy is to restore normal developmental functioning of the child, as well as to restore safety within a potentially ruptured relationship in the wake of a traumatic experience. The most important aspect of this form of treatment is to build empathy and understanding within the child/parent relationship as a means of fostering familial safety, acceptance and resilience.
Often times, adults think that children are “too young” to understand trauma they may have endured, or believe that because the traumatic event may not have occurred directly in front of the child’s eyes, that the child is therefore unaffected by the trauma. However, while a child may in fact not cognitively understand a traumatic event, we know that children are greatly impacted by their surroundings and that healing begins when the trauma is allowed to be acknowledged and processed within the safety of a loving relationship. The type of trauma experienced and the child’s developmental stage will determine the structure of therapy sessions. Child Parent Psychotherapy is play therapy based, and supports developmentally appropriate communication and understanding between the child or children and parent or caregiver.