Family Play Therapy Research Techniques

Family Play Therapy Research Techniques




Mirroring Activity

This family play technique is found in the Assessment and Treatment Activities for Children, Adolescents and Families Vol One. This publication was edited by Lowenstein, 2008. The person credited with the development of this technique is Evangeline Munns (Lowenstein, 2011)

Treatment Modality

This technique can either target an individual or a family (Munns, 2003).


The technique is supposed to increase the attunement between individuals, improve self-control and enhance the ability to follow directions from other people (Lowenstein, 2011).


The clients are supposed to stand about two feet in front of the therapist. The clients are the instructor’s mirror (Lowenstein, 2011). Whatever the instructor does the clients are supposed to copy him or her at precisely the same time that he does the activity. The instructor tries to be slow so that the clients can match or predict his moves. The instructor leads first while the clients follow, and later they alternate (Munns, 2003). This technique requires between five to eight sessions for it to be accomplished although it depends with the follower (Munns, 2000).


The activity is very effective in bringing the family members into attunement with each other. The participants have to be engaged, fully attentive and sensitive to each other (Munns, 2003). It also helps individuals to be cooperative with each other. The participants should correct the movements of the leader if he is too fast. The correction helps the followers to mirror rather than imitate the leader’s actions (Lowenstein, 2011). If, for instance, the leader starts moving into difficult positions with his hands and body, then the follower may ask him to keep it simple. The practitioner may even suggest the use of hands only at first so that he can mirror the movements. This technique is useful in the attunement of parent and child, between peers and siblings, and it has also been used in marital therapy (Munns, 2000).


Lowenstein, L. (Ed.). (2011). Favourite Therapeautic Activities for Children, Adolescents and Families: Practitioners Share Their Most Effective Interventions. Champion Press. Canada.

Munns, E. (2003). Theraplay: Attachment-enhancing play therapy. Foundations of play therapy, 156-174.

Munns, E. (Ed.). (2000). Theraplay: Innovations in attachment-enhancing play therapy. Jason Aronson, Incorporated.