Child-Parent Psychotherapy

What is Child-Parent Psychotherapy (CPP)?

CPP is therapy for young children from birth through age 5 and their parents that

  • Helps you and your child reconnect and heal from stressful experiences.
  • Respects family  and cultural values– including your language.
  • Promotes mutual healing as a path to a stronger and healthier relationship.
Click here to listen to an interview with Family Center clinician, Kaitlin Zura, M.A., about CPP.

What Happens During CPP?

We work together in three stages:

1. Getting to know the Child & Family

We spend time meeting alone with parents/caregivers to understand the family’s

  • Needs and challenges
  • Strengths and values
  • History and experiences

If needed, we connect families to resources and services.
We make a plan for how CPP will help your family.

2. Addressing Families’ Needs

We usually meet once a week with a parent/caregiver and child.

If old enough, we first help children understand

  • Who we are
  • Why they are coming
  • What we will do together

We often use toys because young children show feelings and thoughts through play.

We may meet alone as adults.

We help parents/caregivers and children to

  • Understand each other
  • Talk and play about difficult feelings and behaviors
  • Create a family story that leads to healing
3. Wrapping Up & Planning for the Future

We celebrate changes families have made.

We talk about how parents/caregivers made changes happen.

We consider how endings and goodbyes may bring up different feelings.

We talk about what will be needed in the future.

What can participants expect?

  • Parent/caregiver(s) and infants together: Sessions focus on the parent’s experience as a way to grow closer to the baby. Infant/toddlers are present for most of the sessions and the parent/child relationship is the focus.
  • Parent/caregiver(s) and toddlers or preschoolers: Sessions focus primarily on the present and the child’s growing needs. Play is an important part of these sessions. There will also be individual sessions with the parent and the CPP Clinician to have time for “grown up talk.”

What might the child experience?

  • Infants will experience being cared for and soothed by their parent or caregiver during the sessions. Your baby will experience comfort, joy, and learning new things with your support and encouragement. Your baby will learn from your comforting and modeling, how to manage emotions and cope with stress.
  • Toddlers and preschoolers will experience using pay, words, or art to express their feelings. The parent or caregiver can hold, play, and attend to their child’s needs through the parent-child sessions. Before child-parent sessions begin the CPP clinician will help introduce CPP to the child.

What might participants learn?

CPP helps parent/caregiver to learn how their child is developing and  expressing feelings and needs.

  • To increase skills in managing their child’s behaviors
  • To help their child begin to recover from experiences that felt scary, sad, or worrisome
  • To communicate with their child in new ways
  • To understand the feelings that caregiver and their child have about what they both experienced and learn how their child is expressing his/her feelings

CPP Studies Involving Diverse Families Show:

Improvements in Children’s

  • Mood
  • Problem behaviors
  • Learning
  • Trauma symptoms
  • Biological stress response (cortisol)

Improvement in Parent’s

  • Mood
  • Parenting stress
  • Trauma symptoms
  • Partner relationship
  • Improvements in Parent-Child Relationship Quality


Phone: (802) 951-0450
Fax: (802) 652-2008
45 San Remo Drive, South Burlington, VT, 05403