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What is Therapeutic Parenting?

Image by Kelli McClintock

Please note: Therapeutic Parenting does NOT mean parents are practising psychological therapies on their child!

Therapeutic Parenting is a highly nurturing parenting approach, with empathy at its core.

Therapeutic Parenting is a nurturing parenting style developed from consistent, empathic, insightful connected responses to a child’s distress and behaviours, allowing the child to begin to self-regulate and develop an understanding of their behaviours, and ultimately form secure attachments and minimise the impact of childhood trauma.

Therapeutic Parenting differs from ‘Traditional Parenting’ in that it does not use time out/any form of corporal punishment, shame the child, use reward charts, or expect the child to self-regulate or feel empathy and remorse.


Therapeutic Parenting uses firm but fair boundaries and routines to aid the development of new neural pathways in the brain so children may gain trust in adults. And so their lower brain (survival brain) may connect with their higher brain (prefrontal cortex/thinking brain) so they can link cause and effect.

Using boundaries and routines helps children to understand there is consistency and predictability in their lives (they know they will have breakfast, lunch, and tea plus snacks). Therapeutic Parenting advises you to use visual timetables to support your children with this.

Respond with empathy using the PACE model (playfulness to connect and diffuse a situation, acceptance of the child whilst not accepting of aggression, curiosity to detect your child’s need, all steeped in empathy).​

Therapeutic Parenting is effective for ALL children, not only those who have suffered trauma. It simply works more quickly with neurodiverse and securely attached children.

 Watch the below video by Therapeutic Parenting Expert and Best Selling Author, Sarah Naish, to further your understanding of Therapeutic Parenting. 

Watch more videos today

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