The Psychologists at Carter Haave Vandersteen Bateman Vroon have developed a model of intervention for families who experience difficulty during the transition of separation and divorce.This model is an integral component within the full range of alternative dispute resolution interventions. The post separation/divorce intervention is a structured process of:

  • Separating the marital issues from the ongoing co-parenting relationship to improve separation/divorce adjustment for all members of the family.
  • Presenting the voice of children to their parents to assist in developing parenting agreements designed to meet the realistic needs of parents and children.
  • Focusing on the reconstruction and healing of the new family relationships and systems.

Our highly specialized work in this area is gaining recognition among professionals in the legal, medical, alternative dispute resolution, and psychology communities. We can and do make a significant and positive difference in the lives of the children and adults we work with using this model.

Ideally, intervention is most effective when the whole family participates in the reconstructing process. We do recognize, however, that it is not always necessary or feasible for everyone in the family to enter into all aspects of the intervention. In some instances therapy focuses on a subset of the family system.

Psychologists within the firm of CHVBV provide extensive assistance to families during times of transition. We would be pleased to discuss the various aspects of the Post Separation/Divorce Intervention in detail.

THE POST SEPARATION/DIVORCE INTERVENTION MODEL

 

 

IMPROVING SEPARATION/DIVORCE ADJUSTMENT

The transition that begins at the time of separation and continues throughout the process of divorce brings economic, social, emotional and legal changes that impact the children and parents. Mothers and fathers struggle to come to terms with their changing reality as they begin the complicated process of uncoupling. A major difficulty encountered is that of separating their roles as spouses from their role as parents. Family members are confronted with a need to learn to manage change in a positive way rather than to react to change in a negative and destructive manner.

PRESENTING THE VOICE OF CHILDREN

It is becoming increasingly clear that the voice of children needs to be heard by their parents when a family is experiencing the transition of separation/divorce. This is especially true when families have difficulty communicating or in a situation of high conflict between parents. In order to develop effective and realistic parenting plans, parents must not lose sight of the developmental and emotional needs of their children. Providing a child with a safe and structured opportunity to explore and express their feelings has the positive result of increasing the parent’s understanding of how to best meet the needs of their children in the divorce resolution.

THE RECONSTRUCTION AND HEALING OF FAMILY SYSTEMS

The post separation/divorce intervention is based on a co-parenting concept in which each parent’s contribution to child rearing is considered to be valuable and important to the healthy development of the child. The intervention provides parents with the opportunity to effectively address difficulties that arise as a result of a lack of communication, differences in parenting style or values, or changes in circumstances that threaten a previously stable post separation/divorce agreement. Parents are assisted in making positive changes in their understanding and behaviour to reduce conflict, to more adequately meet the needs of their children, and to move forward in their lives. It offers an environment in which parents can renegotiate their co-parenting relationship and reconfigure family relationships in a manner that focuses on results and concrete change in the family system.


POST SEPARATION/DIVORCE INTERVENTION

TARGET AUDIENCE

FAMILY SYSTEMS WITH A HISTORY OF CONFLICT
AND RELATIONSHIP DIFFICULTIES

  • Parents who have a history of being unable to make joint decisions about their children even prior to the break up of the marriage.
  • Parents whose level of conflict is increasing and their ability to co-parent is decreasing, especially after the first year following the break up of the relationship.
  • A range of other traditional interventions have failed (e.g. custody assessments, mediation, trial, individual counselling)
  • A variety of allegations may have arisen including emotional abuse and alienation.

FAMILY SYSTEMS IN SITUATIONAL CRISIS

  • Families who are recently separated and are experiencing difficulty developing effective plans for parenting their children.
  • Family systems in which the parents initially functioned effectively in a post separation/divorce state but a change of circumstances has occurred that they are unable to resolve or come to terms with.
  • Parents who wish to remain in control of their parenting and are seeking professional advice and assistance to help with adjustment problems exhibited by their children following separation/divorce.
  • Family systems in which a specific issue has arisen that has precipitated a problem (remarriage, relocation, change of employment, etc.).

FAMILY SYSTEMS IN ONGOING CRISIS

  • One or both of the parents are experiencing significant adjustment issues that are interfering with their ability to function and move forward in their lives.
  • Access issues may be increasingly problematic. Children may show increasing signs of emotional, educational, relational, or behavioral disturbance.