Sunday, August 30 , 2015, 1:02 pm | Fair 79.0º




Family Service Agency Announces New Parent-Child Play Therapy Program

From left, Filial Therapy clinical staff members Tara Burnley, Natalia Alarcon, Priscilla Perez and Megan McClintock.

From left, Filial Therapy clinical staff members Tara Burnley, Natalia Alarcon, Priscilla Perez and Megan McClintock.  (Family Service Agency photo)

By Melinda Johansson for the Family Service Agency |

Thanks to funding support from Dori and Chris Carter, the Family Service Agency is pleased to announce the launch of its new Parent-Child Play Therapy Program in Santa Barbara.

Families best served by the program, which is also called Filial Therapy, are those with children ages 3 to 12, who struggle with behavioral and emotional issues, such as anxiety, depression, anger and aggression. By training parents, or other caregivers, about the techniques utilized in Filial Therapy’s child-centered play sessions, parents are able to help their children gain a feeling of control over their lives. As children begin to develop trust in their parents or caregiver, problematic behaviors are alleviated.

“Education works from the top down,” Dori and Chris Carter said. “Smart parents raise smart kids. We’ve seen Filial Therapy work, and it’s why we support Family Service Agency and this excellent program."

Created in the 1960s by Drs. Bernard and Louise Gurney, Filial Therapy helps children recognize and express their feelings in a safe and constructive manner. Studies confirm improved communication skills and relationships between parent and child, as well as increases in children’s self-esteem.

“We are grateful to the Carters for their investment in this life-changing program," FSA Executive Director Dr. Lisa Brabo said. “Community support like theirs allows us to offer Filial Therapy and other programs on a sliding fee/donation basis, so that no one is ever turned away because of an inability to pay."

For more information on the Filial Therapy program or to schedule a free consultation, please call 805.965.1001 x231.

— Melinda Johansson is the marketing manager for the Family Service Agency.




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