What is reunification? The definition is coming back together again after being separated. Although it is typically used in the reunification of territories, states, or countries, in this case, we are talking about family relationships. Reunification counseling is done with the help of a reunification licensed therapist and is sometimes ordered by the court for parents in the divorce process. Because of the trauma and conflict that divorce or separation brings, the court often suggests or orders it to help make things easier for the children.
Why Should We Attend Reunification Counseling and Therapy?
Reunification counseling is a relatively new process developed and named in the past decade or so. The reunification licensed therapist is usually assigned in a divorce or separation case between parents, whether or not there has been any obvious trauma. Just the process of being separated from one of your parents is harmful enough to a child, whether they show it or not. Often, the parents do not think it is necessary, and most children do not want to do it. The parents think it is a waste of time because they do not realize their child is hurting. The children are typically just avoiding the subject or in denial, depending on the age. They may also be angry with one or both parents and do not want to do therapy with them because of that. The reunification licensed therapist is trained in dealing with these situations.
The Reunification Process Helps Everyone
Most often, reunification licensed therapy is ordered by a judge because one of the parents is not seeing the child for some reason. The reunification process is supposed to build that relationship back between the parent and child. However, both parents and children have to be involved in reunification with the reunification licensed therapist. Whether a court orders it or you do it voluntarily to help your child, reunification counseling is an excellent way to learn how to relate better to your child. Whatever the situation, reunification counseling is suitable for everyone.
Reasons For Reunification Counseling and Therapy With A Reunification Therapist
What is the point in reunification counseling if we are getting divorced anyway? We do not want to reunify, and our children seem fine with it? Whether your children seem fine or not, they are not immune to what is going on. They are good at hiding their feelings once they get old enough, and many do not want you to worry. Some children ignore it because they think their parents will work things out. It is best to nip this in the bud early to prepare your children for what will happen. Here are some excellent reasons for reunification counseling.
Your Children Do Not Want To Visit The Noncustodial Parent
Almost all children over the age of five tend to blame one or the other parent for the split. Sometimes they blame both of them and do not want to cooperate with any visitation schedule. Maybe your children are mad at the noncustodial parent for leaving since they do not understand what is going on. As parents, we tend to try and shelter our kids from the pain and keep them dark about divorce or separation issues. While they do not need to know the details, a reunification licensed therapist will tell you that you should not try to keep things from your child. Depending on their age, you should take the time to talk to them about the situation gently. What they imagine in their head is usually much worse than the truth, so it is good to set things straight. The reunification therapist can help you with this during one or more sessions of reunification counseling.
When One Of The Parents Abandons The Family
If your partner left the family or did not show up for court, reunification counseling is typically issued to help the children and parents get on the same page. If your children feel like one of their parents does not even care about them enough to show up or visit them, they can easily be susceptible to depression or anxiety. Once that happens, it can be increasingly more difficult for the reunification therapist to reunify the children with that parent. Often, when your children show signs of depression or anxiety, you will be referred to family therapy as well as reunification counseling. This is to help the child, not the parent. But, in the end, it helps everyone.
Parental alienation is when the children do not want to be around their other parent, are afraid of the other parent, or refuse to speak to them. Cases of parental alienation happen for many reasons, but the most typical one is when one parent talks badly about the other parent. This is a type of psychological manipulation of the children to get them to side with them. Sometimes it is unintentional, and the parent does not even know they are doing it. They may say things about the other parent when they do not know the children can hear them. In cases with younger children, it may be due to how one parent acts toward the other. In other words, if you act hostile towards the other parent, your children may do the same thing. Reunification counseling will always be ordered in this type of situation and can help a great deal. But the children will also need family or individual therapy as well.
Sometimes, a court orders reunification counseling and therapy to understand the relationship between parents and children better to assess the custodial situation. The therapist does not choose the best parent. Alternatively, the reunification counselor’s role is to do a psychological evaluation of each family member separately. The therapist can suggest what they believe would be best for the children, but ultimately it is up to the judge to decide.
Child Removal From The Home
If your children have been removed from the home for any reason by the child welfare services or another social agency, you will be ordered to attend reunification counseling for a time before you can revisit your children. In most cases, you will also have to attend individual or family therapy for the other issues that caused the removal. For example, if there was any alcohol or drug abuse, you will have to attend therapy and support groups such as Alcoholics or Narcotics Anonymous. The reunification process with this type of situation is a bit different and may take more time, depending on the reason for removal.
The Process Of Reunification Counseling and Therapy
The process of reunification counseling and therapy begins with an assessment of the situation. The therapist will usually meet with each family member separately to get their own evaluation of the problem. The reunification therapist’s role, in this case, is not one of the mediators. They are concerned with the welfare of the children and will work together with the whole family to help the children feel better about the situation. The reunification counseling process is different for everyone, and it is based on the age of the children and the current situation that needs to be addressed. This type of therapy is best done with the approval of everyone involved, but if ordered by the court, it will be done regardless of approval.
The Steps In Reunification Counseling
Identifying the deficiency or deficiencies in the family dynamic is the first step in reunification counseling. The therapist may ask a colleague or another mental health professional to help in certain areas. The next step is to determine the reasons for the deficiency and what can be done to fix the problem. The whole family will be involved, sometimes together and other times separately, in talking about their feelings and thoughts on the situation. Some reunification counseling includes encouraging communication between the children and the estranged parent. This may consist of writing letters or sharing videos or photos. Supervised visits will ensue as the reunification counseling continues while the therapist further evaluates the situation.
Can We Do Online Therapy?
After the initial assessment, the therapist will continue by interviewing each child and parent to determine whether further therapeutic intervention is needed or not. They may suggest that you find a therapist besides them to do individual or family therapy. Sometimes, you can do online therapy, but reunification counseling usually involves personal visits since it is such a sensitive topic, and it involves the children. However, online therapy can be very useful for other types of situations during this time, like family or individual therapy.
What Is The Point?
You have to remember that reunification counseling is done in the children’s best interest and everyone else involved. In some cases, it could be a situation of whether or not one of the parents should visit the child or children. This is usually done in serious instances, like cases of domestic abuse. Most often, reunification counseling is ordered to determine when the parent and children should be reunified. The therapist will visit with the children several times alone and with the parent to see how the children react to the parent in person.
Reunification Counseling and Therapy Is Good For The Whole Family
You must know the reason for the reunification counseling, so make sure you are clear on the purpose of the therapy. You all need to be on the same page for the reunification counseling to work as it is supposed to. Whether it is ordered by the court or done voluntarily, it is essential that both parents show up and participate, even if they do not want to be there. In the end, reunification counseling is good for the whole family. It is good to continue with therapy after reunification counseling is over to maintain good family dynamics and communication. You can talk to a therapist at ReGain.us online without an appointment, and you do not even have to leave the comfort of your own home.
“Yumi is amazing and a perfect fit for us. Just having one video session help our family so much in so many ways. He responses are on point and we value it greatly. I can’t thank her enough for all she has continued to do to strengthen our family. I would recommend her to the world that’s how amazing she is.”
“Dr Bown has made significant impact in our lives and She is always giving honest advice and we feel she genuinely cares about our family. She is a valued treasure that we are grateful for in our lives :)”
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What is court-ordered reunification therapy?
Court-ordered reunification therapy occurs when a judge in a divorce or separation case determines that a child refuses to spend time with one parent or that the parent-child relationships are simply unacceptable. In such cases, a member of the judge will order reunification therapy. The goal of this therapy is to begin the reunification process safely and productively.
This type of therapy doesn’t necessarily have to end with a successful reunification to be considered a success. Even if the parents stay separated, it can be a very useful exercise to help them understand the situation and get help if they’re struggling. The therapist will probably encourage parents to calmly talk to their child instead of talking poorly about the other parent. These are important steps in the process of reunification, even if it still ends in a divorce. Simply talking about the situation can help a child immensely because children will often hide how much the divorce affects them.
How long is reunification therapy?
While there is no set length for court-ordered reunification therapy, the reunification therapy process normally takes about 8 to 12 sessions. This type of therapy works better over a long period of time since divorce can be traumatic for a child.
The goal of the therapy is to help the child better understand the situation and learn how to cope with it in healthy and productive ways. The therapist will encourage the parents to take a more understanding and compassionate approach toward interacting with their child and possibly each other.
If you’ve been given the court order, reunification therapy may seem superfluous or silly at first. It can be an invaluable tool to help your child, even if you and your ex don’t plan on family reunification in general.
What is the purpose of reunification therapy?
The purpose of a court order reunification therapy plan is to help teach parents how to help their child and teach the child how to cope with this traumatic experience. If you can find a therapist who is tuned in to how the child is acting around their parents, this type of family therapy can be very helpful. The therapist can learn what specific parts of the divorce are bothering the child most and provide guidance and support in dealing with these emotions.
Going through a divorce is usually incredibly difficult for children. Finding some therapy, whether court order reunification therapy or otherwise, can be an important step toward helping your child recover.
How much does reunification therapy cost?
Once you find a therapist who you think will be good for you and your family, you might wonder about the cost of this therapy. There will usually be around 8 to 12 sessions, and a standard rate for a therapist is around $150/hour. Some may charge more or less, and it can also depend on where you live.
Family reunification therapy is not cheap, but it is often so important for your child's long-term mental health and development that it is almost always worth the cost. If you find yourself in this situation, reunification therapy is probably one of the best things you can do to help your child. It might be expensive, but the long-term benefits that it can provide to your child are priceless.
What is the reunification plan?
A reunification plan is a set of objectives, goals, and methods to accomplish those goals: the ultimate goal, of course, is the improved mental health and stability of the child and family. Sometimes, successful reunification means that parents don’t end up getting divorced. But many times, family reunification is not feasible, and in those circumstances, there are still many positive benefits of this therapy.
There can be multiple stages of reunification therapy, which are often outlined in a reunification plan. Each family is different, so the stages of reunification therapy may differ slightly. If you’ve had individual therapy before, you’ll know that developing a plan and setting goals is very helpful. It’s similarly helpful in a situation reunification therapy is necessary for, even when a court orders it.
Is reunification therapy covered by insurance?
In some circumstances, family reunification therapy is covered by insurance. However, many cases are not covered by insurance. It mainly depends on two things: your type of insurance and what specifically the court orders.
Speak to a lawyer, your judge, or your insurance provider for more specific information on whether your case will be covered by insurance or not.