Woman, man and child sitting on couch What Is The Purpose Of Reunification Therapy?

Reunification therapy, also known as reunification counseling, is when therapy or counseling sessions are held between one or both parents and the child to bridge the gap between an estranged or isolated parent and the child. The objective is to encourage a stronger relationship and reunify the child with that parent. In the process, ideally, cooperation may be fostered between the parents. Reunification therapy is intended to mend strained relationships between a child and a parent often arising in situations of divorce, abuse and neglect. While the nature of the circumstances vary, at times during custody and divorce situations in particular, reunification therapy may be necessary. 

What Is The Difference Between Reunification Therapy And Family Therapy?

Reunification therapy is a form of family therapy.  It may at times be court ordered, particularly when parental alienation exists. Family therapy can take many forms. Reunification therapy is specifically intended to reunite the child with the parent or parents with whom the bond has been broken.

How Do You Prepare For Reunification Therapy?

It is necessary for both parents to be prepared as the time approaches to start reunification therapy. Both parents should be committed to improving their level of communication between each other. Equally as important, is a commitment by the parents to work with the therapist beforehand and during the process, to ensure that everyone involved has a clear understanding of the objectives and parameters of the process and specifically knowledge of the reunification therapy steps that will be taken to work toward the desired outcome. The best preparation is to reach an agreement with the other parent that reunification therapy is necessary for the overall well-being of your child and most importantly, that it is beneficial to your child to have a positive relationship with both parents.

What If Your Child Refuses Reunification Therapy?

The reunification therapy process, especially when reunification therapy is due to parental alienation, may be met with resistance or oftentimes refusal by the child to participate. It can be difficult to persuade children of a certain age to do things in intact families; think teenagers! During divorce, abuse or neglect situations, it may be impossible. Having professionals involved and the judge involved, if the matter is pending before the court, as early on as possible, can facilitate positive ways to encourage the child to participate. It is also necessary to identify what is causing the child to resist the parent.  Often, individual therapy for the child is needed first before the reunification counseling can begin.  Meeting the child’s needs and understanding the child’s perspective is paramount in achieving a successful reunification therapy process. 

Who Pays For Reunification Therapy?

Depending upon the circumstances, often the court will order the costs to be shared by the parties, but not unlike addressing the apportionment of costs for other expenses, this determination may also be impacted by the financial circumstances of the parties and whether each party is acting in good faith.

While reunification therapy is intended to rehabilitate and repair fractured relationships, it may not be an easy road to navigate. Contact DeTorres & DeGeorge today. Our legal experts will work with you to understand the reunification therapy process and address all of your concerns, as you are faced with this specific aspect of family counseling. 


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