What Is Reunification Therapy?

Reunion therapy is a practice designed to heal a parent-child relationship that has been affected by divorce. Reunification counseling is done with the help of a licensed reunion therapist and is sometimes ordered by the parent court during the divorce process. Reunification counseling (also known as reunification therapy) is designed to help repair a strained (or broken) parent-child relationship in the event of divorce, abuse, or neglect. While some families may volunteer for a reunification course, some reunification counseling is ordered by the court to ensure that children are not abandoned by their parents or that a parent is not alienated from their children.

Sometimes the court will schedule a consultation and reunion to better understand the parent-child relationship and assess the custody situation. Because of the trauma and conflict that divorce or separation entails, the court often offers or orders reunification counseling to make life easier for children. While reunion therapy can be ordered after a divorce, it can also be used in cases where a child has been taken from home and returned to the parents after a period of separation.

In any case, if the court finds that the stress of divorce is causing a child to leave a parent for no good reason, the court may also order reunification therapy in that situation. Most often, licensed reunion therapy is ordered by a judge because one of the parents is unable to see the child for some reason. Parents are often referred to individual therapy during the reunion process.

After individual interviews with family members, the reunification therapist will begin watching the child with the noncustodial parent. The therapist will help the child consider the long-term benefits of a positive relationship with both parents. Reunion therapists can also use these shared lessons to help parents and children plan some activities together outside of therapy.

Reunification therapists help parents and children reduce stress in response to children’s anxious, fearful, and/or angry responses to spending time with a rejected parent. A reunification therapist may also meet with the child while the child is in parental care to gather information to assess the parent/child-to-parent relationship. The therapist can choose an intermediate stage between individual therapy and combination therapy, in which he will invite the child therapist to at least the first session of the reunion.

A therapist can help the child and parent plan activities outside of reunion therapy and work to increase the time spent with the parent until a normal relationship is established. When parent-child bonds weaken and families need guidance to rebuild and strengthen them, they can turn to reunification therapy. The goals of therapist reconnection therapy are to help reunite the child with the rejected parent, to help change the polarizing beliefs and attitudes of family members, and to help both parents fulfill their nurturing roles to promote the overall development of the child.

The goal of restorative therapy is to help the child and parent reconcile their relationship in a safe environment.  Reunification requires both parents to cooperate in the reunification process and both parents are encouraged to encourage the child’s connection/relationship with the other parent. When possible, courts and professionals encourage the reunification of a child with both original parents (both biological and legal adopters).

A parent’s refusal to cooperate in the reunification process may affect arguments for changing physical custody as it is in the best interests of the minor child. For example, the primary custodial parent may seek reunification counseling if the child has serious relationship problems with the other parent, despite the best efforts of the former spouses. If a parent left the family at any time, failed to show up for scheduled court hearings, or was otherwise absent from the trial, the court may order the family to undergo reunion therapy to ensure that the children and parents can function and move on.

If the custodial parent refuses to participate in mediation, or if mediation does not resolve the issue on its own, the non-custodial parent may apply to the court for reunification therapy to facilitate re-contact with the children. The purpose of the reunion is to give the therapist the opportunity to help rebuild the parent/child relationship to allow the resumption of regular timeshare or custody. Thus, reunification is not just an attempt to reunite the family, it is a therapeutic method designed to improve the lives of children through their parental relationship.

Reconnection therapy is a process by which families can build healthy, connected relationships in the midst of difficult transitions, especially in situations where the parent has not had regular contact with the child(ren). Reunification Therapy (RT) is a form of family therapy often ordered by the court when a parent-child contact problem has resulted in a child refusing to spend time with a parent. The reunion therapist must also work with the rejected parent to avoid externalizing guilt, have an accurate understanding of the child and/or their past upbringing, and take responsibility for the reunion therapist’s role in parent-child contact. .

As reunion therapy progresses, it is possible to analyze and discover the root of parental alienation based on the unique circumstances of each family and correct the situation for the future.

For example, a permanent parent may continue to be critical of the other parent during reunion therapy despite the efforts of the therapists to stop the behavior and the child(ren) who is uncomfortable with it. You can sometimes get online therapy, but reunion counseling usually includes in-person visits as this is a very sensitive topic that children are involved in.

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