Reunification counseling in Connecticut can be used as an intervention for divorcing or separated families, particularly where children are finding difficulty, for whatever reason, with visiting with the noncustodial parent.

It is an unfortunate part of divorce and separation that sometimes parents can, either intentionally or sometimes even unintentionally, behave in such ways that work to create divisions between a child and their other parent. Sometimes this will rise to the level of parental alienation, which is a very serious issue in our business as it can have long-lasting implications on the relationship between the parent and child.  Parental alienation generally occurs when one parent does not fully engage in co-parenting with the other parent, usually including such actions as leaving the other parent out of the decision-making process, talking negatively about the other parent or even denying access and contact between the child and the other parent.

Not surprisingly, as a result, a physical, emotional and many times psychological divide is created between that parent on the outside and their child. Once this occurs, it not unusual for a child to not want to communicate with, see or spend time with that other parent. When a child refuses to talk with or spend time with the other parent, then in many cases, the use of a child psychologist or counselor would be necessary in order to assist in redeveloping that parent-child relationship, something known as reunification counseling or reunification therapy

Court Order for Reunification Counseling

Starting reunification counseling is often easier said than done, as alienating parents are themselves emotionally fragile, with a prodigious sense of entitlement and need to control.  Therefore, many times, due to the conflicts already existing between the parents, a Court order is required to initiate this type of counseling.  If the parents cannot agree on the counseling itself or a specific counselor, then either party may motion the Court to appoint an appropriate therapist with the underlying goal being to reunify the child and that other parent.

Any such court order should detail the expectation that each parent cooperate with the therapy as well as set forth payment arrangements.  The therapist should have professional discretion to set the specifics for treatment.

What else can a targeted parent do?

1. Alienated parents should try to expose their children to people who regard them, as parents, with honor and respect, to let children see that their negative opinion, and the opinion of the alienating parent, is not shared by the rest of the world. This type of experience will leave a stronger impression than anything the alienated parent can say on his or her own behalf, according to journals I have read.

2. Alienated parents acutely feel the hostility and rejection of their children. These children seem cruel, heartless, and devaluing of their parents. Yet it is important to realize that from the child’s perspective, it is the targeted parent who has rejected them; they have been led to believe that the parent whom they are rejecting does not love them, is unsafe, and has abandoned them. Thus, the primary response of the alienated (targeted) parent must always be one of loving compassion, emotional availability, and absolute safety. Patience and hope, unconditional love, being there for the child, is the best response that alienated parents can provide their children.

3. Do not give up.

I represent parents throughout Fairfield County including Easton, Fairfield, Monroe, Trumbull, Stratford, Bridgeport, Westport, Weston, New Canaan, Wilton, Norwalk, Darien, Stamford and Greenwich.

Contact me online or call my Fairfield office at (203) 259-5251 or my Stamford office at (203) 356-1475 if you have questions about reunification counseling or parental alienation.


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