CPRT Overview

Child Parent Relationship Therapy (CPRT, Landreth, 1991; Landreth & Bratton, 2006) is a play-based treatment program for young children presenting with behavioral, emotional, social, and attachment disorders. At the heart of CPRT is the premise that a secure parent child relationship is the essential factor for children's well-being.  In a supportive group environment, parents learn skills to respond more effectively to their children's emotional and behavioral needs. In turn, children learn that they can count on their parents to reliably and consistently meet their needs for love, acceptance, safety and security.

The goal of CPRT is to strengthen the quality of the parent-child attachment bond as a means of reducing child behavior problems and stress in the parent-child relationship. CPRT was developed for children ages 3- 8, but has been adapted for use with toddlers and preadolescents.  In CPRT, parents are taught specific skills grounded in the principles and procedures of Child Centered Play Therapy (CCPT) that focus on establishing or enhancing a secure attachment with their child and helping parents attune to and respond to their child's underlying needs rather than focus on symptoms. Parents also learn to effectively limit their child's misbehavior, while demonstrating empathy and respect for their child.  In CPRT, parents implement the CCPT-based skills in weekly videorecorded play sessions with their child under the direct supervision of a certified CPRT facilitator/practitioner who is also trained in CCPT.

CPRT is typically administered in 10 weekly, 2 hour group sessions with 5-8 parents. CPRT includes three key components: a didactic component, a supervision component and a group process component.  During sessions 1-3, parents learn child-centered play therapy skills, concepts, and attitudes.  In weeks 4-10, parents practice their new play skills in play sessions with their child and the therapist reviews the videos of parents' play sessions to provide focused supervision and feedback for parents in the small group format.  The CPRT treatment manual (Bratton et al., 2006) contains all materials that the therapist needs to conduct the 10-session CPRT model, including parent handouts, homework, and worksheets, organized by training sessions.  The treatment manual is accompanied by a CD-ROM of downloadable and reproducible CPRT training materials. 

In the 1980s and 1990s, Garry Landreth was instrumental in developing skills and training methods for CPRT, including the unpublished CPRT training protocol. Landreth and Bratton formalized the CPRT model in a text (Landreth & Bratton, 2006) and Bratton et al. (2006) published an expanded CPRT protocol and treatment manual to allow for replication and treatment fidelity. Since the first published study almost two decades ago (Bratton & Landreth, 1995), the evidentiary-base for CPRT has grown to include an impressive 20 controlled outcome studies following the CPRT protocol (Landreth, 1991; Bratton et al., 2006). Of these 20 studies, 15 are RCT and additional 5 studies employed quasi-experimental design. Four of these studies investigated the effects of a teacher-adapted CPRT model and one study trained mentors in the CPRT model to use with young children. CPRT has been successfully implemented with culturally and ethnically diverse populations and with a wide range of presenting issues and special populations including adoptive families and families who have experienced domestic violence and sexual abuse

CPRT Effectiveness

CPRT is a well-researched therapeutic group parenting model with numerous studies investigating its effectiveness.  Since the first published study almost two decades ago (Bratton & Landreth, 1995), the evidentiary base for CPRT has grown as studies' methodological rigor increased. An impressive 36 studies, involving almost 1,100 participants, employed a control group design to examine CPRT's effects.  Of these 36 studies, 19 employed experimental designs regarded as the “gold standard with regards to questions of treatment efficacy” (Nezu & Nezu, 2008, p. vii).  The remainder of the studies used quasiexperimental designs largely due to limitations in conducting research in real-world settings that interfered with random assignment.  As an indicator of the high level of treatment fidelity in CPRT research, 32 of the 36 controlled studies were conducted by investigators who were directly trained and supervised in the CPRT protocol (Bratton et al., 2006).

Bratton and colleagues (2010) provided the most comprehensive review of CPRT research to date.  Although the majority of outcome studies focused on the effects of training and supervising parents as therapeutic agents, almost one-third of CPRT research examined the benefits of the CPRT model delivered by teachers and mentors.  The vast majority of studies showed statistically significant results and moderate to large treatment effects for the superiority of CPRT over control groups.  Given the quantity of studies and comprehensive numbers of participants, several conclusions can be drawn from reviewing the findings from the body of research.  Overall results indicate that CPRT is effective in reducing children's behavior problems, decreasing parental stress, and increasing parental empathy (Bratton et al., 2010).  Specifically, studies show CPRT's efficacy across a variety of issues and populations. CPRT's wide applicability and transportability are further demonstrated by its successful use in a variety of real-world settings.

Meta-analytic research supports and strengthens the findings from CPRT studies (Bratton, Ray, Rhine, & Jones, 2005; LeBlanc & Ritchie, 2001). Researchers found stronger outcomes for studies in which caregivers were trained and supervised in filial therapy methodology to use with their children than play therapy studies in which professional play therapists provided treatment. Using the meta-analytic data from Bratton and colleagues (2005), Landreth and Bratton (2006) analyzed only those studies using the CPRT model to calculate an overall effect size.  CPRT demonstrated a very large effect size of 1.25 (Cohen, 1988), meaning that the average child-caregiver dyad receiving CPRT performed more than one and a quarter standard deviations better on outcome measures compared to the average child-caregiver dyad not receiving the treatment (Bratton et al., 2010).  

For more detailed information about CPRT outcome research studies, please visit Evidence Based Child Therapy, an online searchable database for play therapy research.

Child Parent Relationship Therapy (CPRT) Certification

Levels and Requirements

Level 1 - Certified CPRT Associate/Parent Educator

Certified to use didactic content in the CPRT manual, not to conduct full CPRT protocol

1. Educational/Training Requirement - minimum 24 hours

  • Prior education/training in Child-Centered Play Therapy (CCPT) equivalent to CCPT 101 12-hour workshop
  • Workshop series from an approved trainer: CPRT 101: Foundations in CPRT (12 hours) - 2 days toward CPRT certification AND CPRT 102: Advanced CPRT Practice and Application (12 hours) 2-day intensive workshop training on application of CPRT protocol.

2. Completion of CPRT Certification Exam

3. Application Fee of $95

4. Completed Application

Level 2 - Certified CPRT Practitioner

Certified to conduct the Evidence-Based CPRT 10-session protocol

1. Child-Centered Play Therapy Certification*
   * applicant can begin process of Level 2 CPRT certification prior to completing CCPT certification

2. Educational/Training Requirement - minimum 24 hours

  • Formal university 3 credit hour course in the Child Parent Relationship Therapy (CPRT)/Filial Therapy model using an approved syllabus and the CPRT text (Landreth & Bratton, 2006) and CPRT protocol/treatment manual (Bratton, Landreth et al., 2006); course credit in the last 10 years and documented ongoing practice of CPRT OR
  • Workshop series from an approved CPRT trainer: CPRT 101: Foundations in CPRT (12 hours) AND CPRT 102: Advanced CPRT Practice and Application (12 hours) intensive training on application of CPRT protocol

3. Completion of CPRT Certification Exam

4. Supervised Clinical Experience

  • Completion of three CPRT groups under supervision with approved CPRT supervisor; minimum of 8 hours of supervision per group (two groups can be conducted simultaneously with a minimum of 12 hours of supervision). Although face to face supervision is preferred, distance supervision may be approved to accommodate those in locations where approved supervisors are not available.
  • Facilitation of supervised CPRT groups may begin following completion of CCPT 102 and CPRT 102.

5. Cumulative Self-Evaluation Paper

6. Licensed mental health professional at time of certification

7. Application Fee of $95

8. Completed Application

In order to maintain certification status, CPRT certification must be renewed every 5 years. Requirements for renewal include 18 continuing education hours specific to CPRT.

Level 3 - Certified Advanced CPRT Practitioner/Supervisor

1. Hold Level 2 CPRT Certification or meet requirements for Level 2

2. Hold mental health professional license as a supervisor (or determined qualified as CPRT supervisor)

3. Educational/Training Requirement - minimum 24 hours

  • Workshop (6 hours)- CPRT Supervision and Advanced Application- taught by an approved trainer

4. Supervised Clinical Experience

  • Completion of 2 additional CPRT groups under supervision with approved CPRT supervisor; minimum of 8 hours of supervision per group (two groups can be conducted simultaneously with a minimum of 12 hours of supervision)
  • Supervisor assessment of supervisee's adherence to CPRT protocol and process for the 2 groups
  • Provision of 8 1-hour supervisory sessions for a beginning CPRT practitioner, while participating in weekly supervision from approved CPRT supervisor, preferably the same supervisor of supervisee's clinical CPRT experience, for a minimum of 5 supervision of supervision hours
  • Self-evaluation/reflection of the supervision of supervision experience (cumulative reflection paper due with application)
  • Supervisor assessment of supervisee's adherence to CPRT protocol during provision of the required 8 supervisory sessions.

Additional Level 3 requirements will include educational and exam components. Further details will be forthcoming.

Steps to Certification

Welcome to Child Parent Relationship Therapy (CPRT) Certification!

We are so happy that you have chosen to promote quality mental health interventions for children by becoming recognized as a provider of Evidence-Based CPRT. On this site, we will take you through the steps to become certified in CPRT. Requirements for CPRT certification can be found here.

If you are pursuing certification as a CPRT Practitioner, please pursue the following steps:

Step 1: Review the educational requirements for CPRT certification here. Review the Education/Training Review form.

Step 2: Send an email to Kirsten.Kram@unt.edu with the subject title “Initiate CPRT Certification”. In this email, please provide your name and contact information. See the options below for other information that should be included in your email.

  1. If you have not received any training in CPRT or CCPT, indicate “no CPRT or CCPT Training” in your email.
  2. If you have not received any training in CPRT, but you have begun or completed CCPT certification, indicate “no CPRT training, but I have begun or completed CCPT certification” in your email.
  3. If you are a graduate of University of North Texas Counseling Program, click here.

    If you are a graduate of the University of North Texas Counseling Program, we are very pleased that you have decided to pursue CPRT certification. For UNT students, your COUN 5000 Filial Therapy graduate course which followed the Child-Parent Relationship Therapy text and treatment manual/protocol may count toward the curriculum requirements for CPRT 101 and CPRT 102 if completed in the past 10 years and you have continued to practice CPRT. If you ran a group under supervision as part of your graduate course, these hours count toward your supervised hours of experience under the supervised experience requirement for CPRT certification. For graduates who did not complete the supervised experience requirement, but you believe that you have since gained additional training or supervised experience equivalent to these requirements, please provide a rationale and/or evidence to demonstrate your qualifications in your email to initiate the Education/Training Review Form. Remember that you would have needed to gain education or experience in all curriculum components of CPRT 101 and CPRT 102 and remained current in CPRT to be certified.

    Note: Please attach your UNT transcript and documentation of CPRT experience/training since completion of COUN 5000 to your email.

  4. If you have completed a university course specific to CPRT, click here.

    We are pleased that you have decided to pursue CPRT certification. If you are have completed a formal 3 credit hour university course in CPRT/Filial Therapy using CPRT text (Landreth & Bratton, 2006) and treatment manual (Bratton, Landreth, et al., 2006) within the last 10 years and have continued to practice CPRT, we ask that you take the time to carefully review the Education/Training Review Form to check the curriculum requirements for CPRT 101 and CPRT 102. If you believe that your Filial/Child-Parent Relationship Therapy graduate course covered these component areas, please provide a justification statement to explain how you believe your meet requirements and attach your course syllabus, transcript, and documentation of CPRT experience/training since completion of university coursework to your email to initiate the Education/Training Review Form.

    Note: It is possible that you may have received the educational equivalent of CPRT 101 and be required to complete CPRT 102

  5. If you completed a 2-day Foundational CPRT training with Garry Landreth and/or Sue Bratton between June 2014 and June 1, 2017, click here.

    If you completed a 2-day Foundational CPRT training with Garry Landreth and/or Sue Bratton between June 1, 2014 and June 1, 2017, we are pleased that you have decided to pursue CPRT certification. You are eligible to fall under the certification requirements you received at the time of your training. If you believe that you completed a 2-day Foundational CPRT training (now referred to as CPRT 101), please attach evidence of your attendance and dates of the training (i.e., continuing education certificate) in your email to initiate the Education/Training Review Form. Note: In order to remain eligible for these original requirements, you must complete CPRT 102 by July 2018.

Step 3: The Center for Play Therapy will provide a completed Education/Training Review Form to you within 3 weeks. This form will stipulate what level of education is still needed, if any, to complete the educational requirements for CPRT certification.

Step 4: Complete all education required for certification as stipulated on the Education/Training Review Form completed by CPT staff.

Step 5: Upon completion of educational requirements, complete the CPRT Certification Exam, purchasable here ($25.00).

Step 6: Secure a CPRT certified supervisor. A list of supervisors is available here.

Step 7: Begin conducting 3 supervised CPRT groups. Please refer to Supervised Experience Requirements for details related to supervision of direct hours.

Step 8: Upon completion of all education and supervised requirements, pay $95 application fee.

Step 9: Submit completed CPRT application and Self-Evaluation Paper to Kirsten.Kram@unt.edu.

Self-Evaluation Paper

The purpose of the self-evaluation is to provide a comprehensive review of experience related to being a CPRT practitioner. As the paper is meant to be an integration of personal and professional experience, we do not require a specific page length but we anticipate the paper to be a minimum of 5 pages. We ask for the following areas to be explored: A) What have you learned about parents and parenting during this certification process? B) What have you learned about yourself during this process? and C) What have you learned about the process of CPRT and parents ability to apply CCPT attitudes, principles and skills with their children ? We anticipate that you will support your statements with specific experiences and literature.

Step 10: The Center for Play Therapy will review all materials and submit a decision regarding certification within 4 weeks.

Step 11: Receive confirmation of CPRT Certification and become a CPRT-Certified Practitioner!

CPRT Certification Training

CPRT 101: Foundations in CPRT, 2-Day Foundational Training: September 21 & 22, 2017 (12 hours)

CPRT 102: Advanced CPRT Practice and Application, 2-Day Foundational Training: July 20 & 21, 2017 (12 hours)

***To determine which training is right for you, see the CPRT certification requirements guide.