School-based filial therapy in regional and remote New South Wales, Australia.

School-based filial therapy (SBFT) programs are training programs for teachers, school learning-support officers, and teacher’s aides (paraprofessionals) working in regional and remote primary-school settings. The program educates paraprofessionals in the therapeutic foundations and skills involved in facilitating child-centered play therapy (or, “special play sessions”) with children who have mild to moderate emotional and behavioral disturbances. The program is delivered in regional or remote locations over 3 days in a didactic and experiential format. When paraprofessionals become competent with therapeutic protocols involved in facilitating special play sessions, they design program implementations in their school settings to ensure the specific needs of each community are being met, in collaboration with their local school communities. This involves the use of local resources and abilities that take into consideration the unique cultural aspects of each school and community. Where children’s mental health treatment is limited by access, culture, stigma, low socioeconomic status, and/or isolation, the SBFT program provides one possible solution: prioritizing and supporting locally determined, rather than prescriptive, implementation of the program. This specific program aims to address the many barriers people living in rural communities face when they attempt to access specialist mental health care, thus potentially delivering better health outcomes. As such, this program can be adapted anywhere around the world where health-care delivery and accessibility are challenging, especially for young children. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2018 APA, all rights reserved)