YWCA Greater Austin

Family First Program

The YWCA offers services specific to family work such as the family therapy, family play, and attachment first programs.  These services are particularly useful for children who have experienced disruptions (parental substance abuse, mental illness, separation and divorce, foster care, CPS, incarceration, hospitalization, immigration, military service, and other ruptures).


Family therapy involves the family in examining the concerns, relationships, behaviors, patterns, subsystems, communication, and other functions of the participants involved. Family therapy encourages participants to process thoughts and feelings, listen actively, identify and define concerns, develop coping strategies, and set specific goals.

Family play therapy improves the child-parent relationship by empowering parents to use new and creative activities that are child centered.  Parents are given the skills necessary to practice effective listening and respond to a child's emotions, as well as tools to help encourage the child's self-esteem. Therapists teach the parents principles of play therapy such as mirroring, authentic acceptance, validation of feelings, fostering expression, and loving limits.  Children will find security to explore their own emotions and the relationship with their parent.

Attachment services focus on parents and children (between 0 to 10) who want to build a healthy bond.  This program aims to improve the child-parent relationship by working on bonding basics such as gazing, mirroring, healthy touch, play, and singing. Parents are guided and supported to practice these therapeutic attachment activities.