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What is Reunification therapy, and is it right for your family?

In the realm of child psychology and family therapy, reunification therapy has become increasingly popular, especially within the family court system. This forensic therapeutic approach is designed to help reconcile strained parent-child relationships and effectuate parenting time. Whether you find yourself navigating parent child contact problems or estrangement on your own, or if the court Orders it, you might be wondering: What is reunification therapy, and could it be the right solution for us? In this article, we’ll delve into the world of reunification therapy, exploring its purpose, benefits, and how you can determine if it’s the right path for your family.

What is reunification therapy?

Reunification therapy is a specialized form of family therapy that focuses on reestablishing and strengthening relationships in cases where children are resisting or refusing contact with a parent, or there is a total estrangement. This type of therapy acknowledges that family conflicts, separations, or divorces can lead to emotional distance within parent-child relationships along with other complex reasons that could be contributing to the problems.

a family reunited
Some facts and benefits about reunification therapy

The goal of reunification therapy is to provide a safe and structured environment where parents and children can address their troubles and feelings, heal past wounds, and work toward building or rebuilding trust and connection. While the parent-child relationships are being addressed therapeutically, the preferred parent is involved in different ways to help the rejected parent and child along the way. In some cases, parenting time is effectuated between the rejected parent and child by way of the reunification therapist creating a graduated exposure plan toward designated parenting time goals detailed in Marital Settlement Agreements or as Ordered by the court.

Does reunification therapy have to be court-ordered?

In cases involving parent-child contact problems and estrangement, reunification therapy is most beneficial when there is oversight by a court. Reason being these cases are highly litigated and typically each parent has polarized positions regarding the basis for the parent child contact problems or estrangement. When the court Orders reunification therapy or appoints a reunification professional, this affords the reunification therapist a direct line to the Court and attorneys to provide recommendations on managing the parent-child contact problems or estrangement, informing future legal proceedings on the issue. Further, oversight by the court compels the parents to follow the process and recommendations on managing the parent child contact and estrangement problems from a child-centered perspective, as recommended by the reunification professional. For these reasons, my practice will not consider accepting reunification therapy matters absent a court Order.

What are the benefits of reunification therapy? 

Healing Emotional Wounds: Reunification therapy provides a platform for parents and children to express their feelings, address grievances, and heal emotional wounds resulting from unresolved problems in the parent-child relationships, or estrangement.

Improved Communication: Effective communication is at the heart of reunification therapy. Parents and children learn healthy communication skills, fostering a more open and understanding dialogue.

Building or Rebuilding Trust: Reunification therapy guides parents and children through a process of building or rebuilding trust step by step.

Child’s Well-Being: The child’s well-being is the central focus of reunification therapy. Children can experience improved adjustment a stronger sense of security and self by learning how to work through problems they have directly with the parent whom they have the problems.

Long-Term Resilience: Reunification therapy equips families with the tools to navigate challenges beyond therapy sessions, promoting long-term resilience and healthier family dynamics.

Effectuating Parenting Time: While a parenting plan will not be created, a reunification therapist may create a graduated exposure plan toward designated parenting time goals detailed in Marital Settlement Agreements or as Ordered by the court.

Is reunification therapy right for your family?

Deciding whether reunification therapy is the right approach for your family requires careful consideration. Here are steps to help you determine if this path aligns with your family’s needs:

Assess the Situation: Reflect on the nature of the parent-child contact problems or estrangement and ensure reasonable attempts were made to rectify the problems outside of court.

Professional Guidance: Consult with a forensic therapeutic expert specializing in reunification therapy. Their expertise will provide valuable insights and guide the therapy journey.

Overall, reunification therapy offers a promising path toward healing and remediating parent-child contact problems and issues related to estrangement. It fosters a supportive environment where trust can begin to be built and communication improved. If you find yourself grappling with parent child contact problems or estrangement, take the time to explore the potential of reunification therapy. Remember, with the guidance of a skilled professional, healing and reconciliation are possible leading to a brighter and more harmonious future for your child.