Journal of Child and Family Studies

, Volume 27, Issue 10, pp 3117–3131 | Cite as

A Case-Series of Reflective Family Play: Therapeutic Process, Feasibility, and Referral Characteristics

  • Diane A PhilippEmail author
  • Kristina Cordeiro
  • Christie Hayos
Original Paper


Evidence-based interventions for infants and preschoolers, and their families, have largely focused on the mother-child dyad. In response to the increasing need to diversify treatment approaches in the under six population and include the whole family system, we have developed a new treatment approach called Reflective Family Play (RFP). A manualized, whole-family therapy, RFP allows for the involvement of two parents and siblings when working with infants or young children. In this case-series, we used a qualitative chart review to examine the therapeutic process, acceptability, and feasibility of RFP for 22 families with children ages 0–6, who participated in RFP. We also sought to better understand the referral characteristics of those families who participated in RFP by comparing them to families who were referred to and participated in an established dyadic approach during the same time-period. Session-by-session coding of clinician chart notes revealed evidence of positive shifts throughout the RFP process, including more whole-family play, improvements in coparenting, and better parental mentalization. Parents reported improvements in presenting concerns in all but one case. Improvements in coparenting, sibling relationships, and family alliance were also reported by parents after RFP. Clinical implications and directions for future research are discussed.


Family Therapy Intervention Infant Preschool Lausanne Trilogue Play 


Author Contributions

D.P. collaborated with the study design and wrote the paper. K.C. collaborated to develop the study’s coding system, completed data analyses, wrote the methods and results sections, and collaborated in editing the final manuscript. C.H. collaborated with the study design, writing, and editing the manuscript.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical Approval

Ethics approval was obtained from a committee of the Ethics and Review board of SickKids Centre for Community Mental Health (CCMH), formerly the Hincks-Dellcrest Centre.

Informed Consent

Informed was not required for this retrospective chart review.

Supplementary material

10826_2018_1192_MOESM1_ESM.docx (19 kb)
Supplementary Material


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Diane A Philipp
    • 1
    Email author
  • Kristina Cordeiro
    • 2
  • Christie Hayos
    • 3
  1. 1.SickKids Centre for Community Mental Health (SickKids CCMH) and the University of TorontoTorontoCanada
  2. 2.Department of Psychology, York UniversityTorontoCanada
  3. 3.SickKids Centre for Children’s Mental Health (SickKids CCMH)TorontoCanada

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