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Reunification therapy: what is it and does it work? (PART 1)

A recent divorce case coming out of another state has professionals looking at the effects of parental alienation. Parental alienation has to do with one parent essentially turning his or her children against the other parent.

In the recent case, a judge ordered the three children, age 9, 11 and 14, to participate in something called "reunification therapy." Back in July they were sent to juvenile detention for not wanting to meet with their father. The kids attended an "intensive five-day treatment" that is supposed to help treat parental alienation. The three kids have been living with their father and his second wife since they finished the treatment.

A lot of professionals wonder if reunification therapy is helpful or harmful to children. Some believe it is necessary in order to heal children from this type of abusive alienation. On the other hand, others consider this type of treatment similar to deprogramming and say it can traumatize children or even force them to spend time with a parent that may actually be abusive.

The therapy itself can be quite costly and can vary widely depending on the practitioner. Some do an intense retreat-like session that takes children away from their parents, while others may use a more spread-out method that involves both parents.

In our next post we will continue our discussion about reunification therapy and discuss the various viewpoints that exist. It can be an extremely difficult situation if your children stop wanting to have contact with you. If you are facing this scenario, talk to attorney about your options.

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