STARTTS, Cronulla, Australia
War atrocities impact vulnerable children, adults and communities. Children though have significantly limited capacities to protect themselves. Families flee their Country in search of hope and safety, a journey often fraught with additional trauma and dangers.
Complex Trauma has substantial impact on Asylum Seeker and Refugee Families often impacting the relational functioning of the Family in Exile, with generational transmission. Research and theory on Trauma and Attachment have developed and focused along somewhat autonomous lines leaving gaps in knowledge in the association between traumatised parents and the wellbeing of their children. There are various studies on traumatised parent’s perception of the parent-child relationship, but so little of this dyadic relationship observed.
UNICEF states that play is a fundamental right of every child, whose emotional and physical wellbeing depends on it. Healthy child development requires healthy parent-child attachment relationship bonds, foundational to healing the impact of complex trauma. However, unavailability of traumatized parents due to the multiple complexities of being in exile, distorted parental mental representations, emotional distance from and negativity towards the child, are negative relationship themes often observed during parent-child dyadic play.
Filial Play Mentoring is a short-term intervention, designed to support and improve the parent-child relationship through non-directive play. Observation and assessment of the parent-child interaction/play form a baseline regarding each unique parent-child dyad, from which useful aids, modalities, and psycho-educational tools are determined. The FPM teaches the parent therapeutic play skills and techniques, with Parent being the agent of relationship change.
Filial Play Mentoring helps repair not only the parent-child attachment bond, but also repairs the internal child part of the parent.