Reunification Therapy (RT) is a recently developed (over the last 20 – 30 years) intervention for post-divorce families in which one or more children are exhibiting resist/refuse dynamics (RRD). RRD involve a child who rejects one parent and does not want to spend time with that parent, while exhibiting a strong preference for the other parent. RT can be applied whether the source of the RRD is the behavior of the rejected parent, the behavior of the preferred parent, or some combination of the two. After initial interviews with the involved parties, RT involves some degree of co-parenting counseling (sessions with the co-parents), sessions with the child and both parents, sessions with the child and the rejected parent, and individual sessions with the child. The RT therapist does not make recommendations to the court or court-appointed officials about parenting time or custody, as that would constitute a “dual-role” of the therapist.
Before beginning RT, I require the co-parents to carefully read and sign a contract that specifies the underlying assumptions of RT, the skills the parents will need to develop, and the expectations for in-session behavior. The contract is ready for downloading below.