Many children are referred for therapy to help them adjust to divorce. Children typically feel vulnerable and overwhelmed by conflicting emotions. Some children may feel nervous and reluctant to talk directly about how they feel and think about the divorce.
Most children experience a high level of distress in the early stage of divorce. Some of the common behaviors or reactions you might notice is sadness, anxiety, anger, guilt, confusion, loyalty conflict, identity issues, and missing the absent parent. Some children may become psychologically scarred from the divorce, whereas others may come out of it relatively unscathed. This will depend on how well the parents handle the situation.
Based on Kelly and Emery (2003) note the following factors that can facilitate children’s health adjustment to divorce:
-Good adjustment of residential parent
-Regular access with adequate non-residential parent
-Reduced and encapsulated conflict between parents
-Cooperative co-parenting arrangements
-Limited family transition
Children’s adjustment to divorce and positive outcome in therapy will largely depend on how well the parents handle the situation.
To start therapy for your child, I will need:
Copy of a Custody order (is it shared custody, or sole custody)
I will require both parents consent, especially when parents share legal custody of the child.
I will not meet with the child until I have received both parents’ consent to treatment.
I will require both parents to review, agree, and sign “Treating Children of Separated or Divorced Parents”
Ideally I would like to meet with both parents prior to seeing the child to gather information for the assessment.
I am upfront and clear to both parents that I will not provide custody or visitation recommendations to the court, mediator, or psychologist conducting a family psychological evaluation. If the child has a court representative (attorney, guardian ad litem, or other advocate) or if requested by both parents or ordered by the court, I may discuss observations about the child with these parties.
Both parents will need to discuss who will be responsible for the session fee prior to commencement of treatment with your child. If both parents participate in the child’s therapy, I will require one or both parent’s credit card information on file.
Parents will be offered “equal-time” in face to face or phone contacts as much as realistically possible, which then the requesting parent will be responsible for the session fee.
Where there is joint legal custody and both parents initially consented, the withdrawal of consent on the part of one parent will not necessarily mean the treatment must cease.