While reunification therapy has been around for quite some time, it’s now being court ordered in many states. One of those states is New Jersey and this intervention is vital to reconciling children with their estranged or alienated parent(s). The most common reason reunification therapy is ordered is due to high-conflict break ups between the parents. Often in these situations, one parent has taken over primary care of the child (or children) while the other has had limited contact.
If the court orders reunification therapy it isn’t just the children and alienated or estranged parent that needs to be involved, the other primary parent also has a very important role to play. Because the parents relationship is broken does not necessitate the familial relationship between child and parent has to be the same.
The Importance of Reunification Therapy
Children need both of their parents in their lives. It is beneficial to their psychological and emotional health and physical well-being. While in some situations parental rights must be severed, in cases where estrangement and alienation have occurred, it is vital that the ties are restored. Reunification therapy can facilitate this.
Additionally, the process is a chance to heal from the hurt that has gone before. Adults going through a separation or divorce can lose sight of what’s important. Unfortunately, it’s normal for adults to lash out at each other because we do that when we’ve been hurt. Our pain causes us to act out in ways that we would never have imagined possible, and that can rub off on the children.
In reunification therapy, the child (or children) and parent(s) receive assessment, therapy and coaching, and the same occurs together. This provides each party with the opportunity to express their emotions and for the process of healing to start. This is the key after all.
The First Step Of Reunification Therapy
There are multiple stages of reunification therapy and the first is education. It’s important that everyone involved (particularly the parents) truly understand what the process looks like and buy into it. It can only be successful if every party is committed to healing. For the court side of things, educating yourself on reunification therapy is a great way to show that you are highly motivated to begin resolving the issues at hand.
The Second Step Of Reunification Therapy
Now comes the assessment phase. This allows your therapist to understand what has happened and what events led to the estrangement or alienation. These sessions will dictate when and how the group therapy sessions take place because the most important person involved in this process is the child. It’s all about the child (or children) having total trust that the process is designed to work for them.
The Third Step Of Reunification Therapy
Once trust has been dealt with the therapist can sit down with both parties to allow teamwork to heal the rifts that have been created. This will help establish a deeper bond so that the relationship is connecting going forward.