CO-PARENT COUNSELING & EDUCATION
Co-parent counseling and education incorporates divorce education (please see "Divorce Education") with on-going weekly support in addressing and negotiating issues of the parenting plan that may not as yet be well defined, and facilitating effective communication and problem-solving strategies. (This process of learning to co-parent may first begin with learning parallel parenting strategies if parents are as yet unable to tolerate the more active communication of co-parenting, e.g. instead participating in individual sessions and utilizing coached emailing, cc'd to the therapist, and "Family Wizard" tools, and learning strategies for how to protect their child by keeping him/her our of the middle of parental conflict .) Parents learn that valuing and supporting the other parent's role in their child's life is needed if they choose to support the long term happiness and wellbeing of their child, and that ongoing conflict is highly destructive and associated with long term adjustment problems in all areas of their child's life. Co-parent counseling and education provides the skills for giving their child the best possible chance to thrive. I utilize the co-parenting program "Cooperative Parenting and Divorce, Shielding Your Child from Conflict: A Parent Guide to Effective Co-Parenting" for the ongoing weekly work. This program is from the Cooperative Parenting Institute (
www.cooperativeparenting.com ), developed by its co-founders, Susan Blyth Boyan, M.Ed., LMFT, and Ann Marie Termini, M.S., LPC. It focuses parents on eight steps to a healthier co-parenting relationship in efforts to minimize the damage of parental conflict and create a happier, healthier life for their child(ren).
This service is most appropriate for parents whose child has not been significantly affected by the parental conflict to the point of having developed a loyalty conflict and subsequent alignment with one parent, when before the divorce the child was not aligned, and/or whose child has developed significant emotional, behavioral or social problems with the divorce. Due to the multi-problem complexity of these families, they would more appropriately be referred to Family Systems Therapy, although co-parent counseling can be utilized under these circumstances if the court has also ordered individual therapy to meet the child's needs. It is, however, my recommendation that Family Systems Therapy be the initial intervention and first choice of treatment, for the reasons described under that service. (Please see
Family Systems Therapy.)
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