Top Menu

Real Questions from Real Parents #7 – Therapist’s Role in Divorce

Several parents have raised similar questions regarding a therapist for children in the specific context of divorce. The role of a children’s therapist should be very clear, and there are issues that arise when parents are no longer making joint decisions for their children. If you are a parent facing or post-divorce and are pursuing therapy, here are things that you might find helpful.

Often in a divorce, parents act without the consent of the other. Sometimes this means securing a therapist without informing the other parent of the intention. This is not necessarily a problem, so long as the therapist does not align with the parent bringing the children, or assume that the other parent is not interested in the well-being of the children. While the law does not require the consent of both parents for therapy, ethics and good practice would involve both parents in the process. Both parents would at least be aware of the therapy process.

This does not always occur, however, and questions are raised as to the allegiance of the therapist. Therapists are neutral third parties, there to form a therapeutic relationship with the child and offer appropriate interventions. If the therapist is practicing ethically, he or she remains unbiased and uninvolved in the parental conflicts. Any information shared about parents is used to assist the child with coping skills, conflict resolution and processing.

One of the questions that I am asked frequently is if one parent is taking the children to a therapist, should the other parent begin taking the kids to a different therapist. The short answer is no. Every therapist has a different set of skills and unique approach. A child can benefit from different therapists, but not simultaneously. If the children are truly benefiting from therapy, there is no need to double up. Doing so is sometimes seen as power play among the parents, clearly about what the court or judge thinks about their parenting rather than a focus on the children.

Further, children are far more intuitive than for which they are given credit. If they are going to a therapist to alleviate parental guilt over the divorce, to create a court record of “good parenting”, or to manipulate the situation in any form, they know it. This awareness creates resistance and confusion, thus impeding the process of therapy regardless of therapeutic alliance. Children should never be made to feel as pawns for any reason.

Lastly, regardless of who found the therapist, both parents have the right to be made aware of progress in treatment. Confidentiality can be maintained while still allowing for both parents to understand goals, intervention strategies and successes. You can contact the therapist and request a consultation to determine status. Further, if you believe that the therapist is not acting in the best interest of your children for any reason, you can request termination. However, that decision needs to be made with caution and thought for the well-being and health of the child. Your personal impression of the therapist or why he or she was involved is not nearly as important as the rapport with the child and ability to help the child.

Children often are caught in the middle in a divorce, therapy aside. Children will almost always need help adjusting to the new normal and making sense of their feelings. Therapy is a great way to accomplish those goals and set your children up for well-being. If the children are under 12, play therapy is the best approach, in my opinion. Regardless of messiness or difficulty in a divorce, therapy should be beneficial, enjoyable and rewarding for any client – especially children.

Please share this post
facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedin
  • slr_06

    I realize this is an old post but your article comes really close to answering my question and I wonder if you would be able to clarify a point. I started myself and my 11 year-old with an LMHC intending to participate in family therapy, but the therapist has turned out to be the primary therapist for my husband who has now been diagnosed as bipolar. I feel my daughter and I should be seeing our own therapists. My daughter is not comfortable with the woman, either. He has specifically disallowed me to let my daughter see another counselor. What can I do in this situation?

  • KristyParker

    HELLO,I wish to share my testimonies with the general public about what this man called Dr Isaac has just done for me , this man has just brought back my lost Ex husband to me with his great spell, I was married to this man Muller we were together for a long time and we loved our self’s but when I was unable to give him a child for 2 years he left me and told me he can’t continue anymore then I was now looking for ways to get him back until a friend of mine told me about this man and gave his contact email, then you won’t believe this when I contacted this man on my problems he prepared this spell cast and bring my lost husband back, and after a month I miss my month and go for a test and the result stated am pregnant am happy today am a mother of a baby girl, thank you once again the great Dr Isaac for what you have done for me, if you are out there passing through any of this problems contact the great drisaachelpcenter@gmail.com

    ​​

  • solie

    my story goes to everyone out there that are in the situation that i have also being through. and how i was saved.

    I have been rejected by my husband 6 months ago after (12) of marriage just because another woman had a spell on him and he left me and the kid to suffer. one day when i was reading through the web, i saw a post on how this spell caster on this address (camaralovespell@live.com) have help a woman to get back her husband. and i gave him a reply to his address and he told me that a woman had a spell on my husband and he told me that he will help me and after 2days that i will have my husband back. i believed him and today i am glad to let you all know that this spell caster have the power to bring lovers back. because i am now happy with my husband.

    His email : CAMARALOVESPELL@LIVE.COM