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Child Parent Psychotherapy


Child-Parent Psychotherapy (CPP) is a proven treatment for young children, birth to six years old, that can help children and their caregivers cope with the negative impact of adverse/traumatic events such as:

  • witnessing domestic violence, violence, natural disasters
  • child abuse/neglect
  • separation/loss

Child-Parent Psychotherapy can help children and their caregivers to reconnect and heal.  This focus on the child-parent relationship will lead to less anxiety and more confident and trusting relationship.  This will allow children and caregivers to learn new ways to cope with difficulties and help them experience a safe and nurturing relationship.

The CPP therapist may use some variation of these approaches with you:

  • Work together to understand child’s behaviors and to come up with ways to respond to these behaviors. (Find effective coping skills and calming strategies)
  • Discover has the trauma impacted you both and learn how to process it together. (emotional support)
  • Learn about child development and concrete assistance with problems of everyday living.
  • Find the words to explain and talk about what happened.


The CPP therapist meets regularly with caregiver and child together.  There may be times when it will be necessary for the therapist and the parent to meet without the child to enable the therapist to support the parent’s capacity to meet the needs of their child when working through their own trauma responses.


CPP sessions will focus on the caregiver and the child’s play together.  Young children use play to express their feelings, to tell us what their experiences is like, to master feelings and events that distress them.  The therapist can help the parent understand the meaning of their children’s behaviors to improve understanding, communication, and the ability of the caregiver to respond to their child more effectively.

Help the parent and child talk about difficult things that happened to them.  When children feel more relaxed, listened to, important and safe they will then “process” their trauma/adverse events. Playing together will bring child and parent closer together which creates safety and trust in the relationship.


Laurie Dotten LCSW is certified in Child Parent Psychotherapy. Click here to read more about her.

Laurie Dotten LCSW Family Ties Counseling Center