chapter  4
33 Pages

Relationship Enhancement® Enrichment and Problem-Prevention Programs: Therapy-Derived, Powerful, Versatile

D Introduction Relationship Enhancement® (RE) traces its roots to the early 1950s (see Guerney, 1990) when the second author of this chapter noticed difficulty with retaining parents in an otherwise effective child-therapy program. He reasoned (Guerney, 1964) this might be due to parents' "jealousy" of the therapist's special healing role with the child, and/or to a perceived threat to the parents' self-esteem from feeling placed in the role of "bad" parents who had "messed up" their child. It seemed likely that both of these factors could be dealt with by enlisting the parents as the therapist's helpers or "psychotherapeutic agents" (see Guerney, 1977) . It was reasoned that if parents could be trained to behave in a therapeutic manner with their children, the change in the family system would greatly increase the effectiveness of the child's therapy. This led to the creation of Filial Therapy, now also called Child RE Family Therapy, or Filial Family Therapy, in which parents are taught to conduct play sessions, identical to Rogerian Child-Centered Play Therapy, with their children. They then learn to transfer and generalize these skills to use in daily life when it is appropriate to do so. They also learn behavior modification skills to use at

home. They work through their own emotional difficulties as these are related to their attempts to use and transfer the therapeutic methods into the play sessions and into their daily interactions with their children. The method can be employed with single families or with groups of families.