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Compassion-Focused Parent Therapy


Compassion-focused parent therapy or CFPT combines the most evidence-based positive parenting strategies for child anxiety and behavioral issues with compassionate, parent-centered therapy drawing from CFT, CBT, DBT, ACT, Schema Therapy, Shame Resilience and Attachment-Based Work. Most parenting programs offer a series of didactic skills that focus exclusively on the child as the “identified patient”, and the parent as the expected agent of change, without intention or regard for the therapeutic relationship between parent and therapist. For many parents, this approach may feel blaming and judgmental, triggering our own often deep-seated shame, trauma, anxiety, resistance, and perfectionism. CFPT understands that each parent brings their own psychological and cultural histories, including intergenerational trauma, into the therapy room which is deeply connected to their personal views on parenting, their strengths and limitations as a parent, and their desire, readiness, and ability to implement evidence-based parenting techniques to enact lasting change in the parent-child dyad. CFPT focuses on deepening connection, insight, and trust between the parent/s and therapist, actively breaking down both emotional and pragmatic roadblocks to skills implementation, while re-shaping and strengthening the parent/s’ own attachment style and identity as a parent. In this way, the parent-therapist relationship, and processes including empathy, trust, compassion, structure and consistency, non-judgmental validation, normalization/destigmatization, and therapist modeling of imperfection and humility, become foundational to engendering parent safety and empowerment which enables parents to empower their children via these same processes, building confidence, safety, and self-esteem leading to lasting change within the interconnected parent/s, child, and family system. In a sense, the therapist-parent relationship serves as a microcosm  for rebuilding the parent-child relationship, providing structure, safety, perceived control, skills to manage difficult or unwanted emotions, and clear paths toward (imperfect) progress for both parent/s and child alike.

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