Coparenting, Parenting And Child-focused Family Interventions (Chapter 11 in Overcoming Parent-Child Contact Problems: Family-Based Interventions for Resistance, Rejection, and Alienation).
Sullivan, Matthew J. Deutsch, Robin M.
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The Overcoming Barriers (OCB) intensive camp program uses a combination of interventions (likened to inpatient treatment) to address the entrenched dynamics of the family system that contribute to a child's resisting contact with a parent. The focus of this chapter is on those interventions. In scheduled daily sessions with individual families and spontaneous responses to incidents that occur in the camp milieu, multiple combinations of clinicians design and deliver intensive interventions to each parent to the coparent dyad, to the parent-child dyads, and to the child, both separately and jointly with the parents. The potency of these interventions is significantly augmented by the therapeutic camp context in which they are delivered. As described in Chapter 7, this highly structured milieu is customized to work with the unique issues each family presents. In the parenting, coparenting. and child-focused work at OCB camp, the clinicians provide substantial practical and emotional support (through psychoeducation and coaching), encourage healthy risk-taking and problem-solving, and provide corrective feedback to family members. One key element to effective clinical intervention is the rapid development of a strong and positive therapeutic alliance with staff and other campers resulting from each family member's immersion in the groups and milieu. This intense working alliance can make the OCB approach a powerful and effective intervention for families in which prior legal and psychological interventions have failed to address the intractable dynamics that have led to a child's rejecting a parent. In later sections of this chapter we address the specific steps each family must go through in the camp environment. However, there are two critical components in the referral process that determine family motivation and thus success or failure in the camp program. The first is the court order (or other stipulation) stating that the goal of the program is to reconnect the rejected parent with the child. The second is the order for full and complete participation in the program. Parents must know coming into the program that they are mandated by the court (or agreement) to affirmatively assist the children in every way they are directed by camp staff to enable the child to re-establish a relationship with the rejected parent. (Author abstract);
parent child relationships; parental alienation syndrome; family therapy; family reunification; therapeutic intervention; models; divorce; child custody; camps