California Divorce Therapist
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Therapy Services
Reunification Therapy & Family Systems Therapy
In-Home Parent Coaching & Family Therapy
Play Therapy
Individual Therapy
Co-Parent Couseling & Education
Divorce Education
Parenting Plan Coordination (Special Mastering)
Brief Focused Assessment
Custody Evaluation (730)
Collaborative Law: Child Specialist
Divorce Recovery Group
Limits of Confidentiality
255 W. Central, Suite 201, Brea, CA 92821


  • Maintains a family systems focus even though seeing the parent individually, including that the therapist does not become an advocate for the individual parent, but rather the entire family, understanding that the child's welfare is most dependent upon how well his/her parents adjust to the divorce as individuals and how well they manage their co-parenting or parallel parenting efforts to provide effective parenting
  • Conducts a comprehensive systems assessment (with clinical interviews and the tools indicated in the following) of historical and recent issues related to: domestic violence, including use of intimidation and coercive control (assessment includes screening tools/checklists with a detailed review of client answers with the client, and may include further assessment utilizing the Spousal Assault Risk Assessment and Danger Assessment), and anger management issues (and if appropriate, formulates a safety plan); substance abuse (assessment includes multiple screening tools) and mental illness (assessment includes Mental Status Exam and MCMI-III); parenting competency and any child abuse or neglect; problem-solving competency; and attachmet style. Any required reports are made (as a therapist is a mandated reporter) to protective services and/or law enforcement; appropriate referrals are provided; and collateral contacts are made if needed (consent for the latter provided for by the client in the stipulation and order for counseling or other signed releases, or by the court)
  • Facilitates (if assessed to be relevant to the specific family's situation) awareness and understanding of internal somatic warning signals and external signs of danger, and a safety plan for how to respond if confronted with these circumstances
  • Utilizes the MCMI-III (Milton Clinical Multiaxial Inventory-III) with parents, in most cases, as one piece of clinical information to assist the therapist's understanding of the parent's functioning. The results are then integrated into the overall clinical assessment and subsequent treatment plan, and are used only for this purpose. The information provided by the results of this tool is considered with caution in that it is not being used as part of a comprehensive evaluation, which would include additional testing instruments. The test results themselves are not provided, but are retained as part of the treatment record
  • Conducts a detailed history of relationships within the family as they existed before the separation/divorce process , as contrasted with the current status of these relationships (contributes to assessment of historical estrangement verses rejection of a parent subsequent to the divorce/custody conflict)
  • Is solution focused in developing effective problem-solving, coping and communication strategies, verses a continual focus on complaints and avoidance of the active working through of issues and problems
  • Facilitates the parent's identification of hopes and dreams for his/her child, the family as a whole, and for him/herself as an individual; and facilitates the development of a mission statement as a co-parent, co-leader and co-decision-maker of the family, which is then used to help guide the direction of our work together
  • Facilitates identification of the unique strengths and contributions of each family member, as well as areas in need of further development now that parents live separately
  • Emphasizes the principle of BALANCE, and works toward developing a balanced view of the other parent, balanced emotions toward the other parent, and balanced behavior toward the other parent
  • Educates the parent about the needs of children to maintain a secure relationship with both parents, the behaviors that promote this security and those that hinder and damage it, and how to keep children out of the middle of parental conflict
  • Provides education regarding the cognitive-behavioral therapeutic approach in the initial session, during which time a listing of cognitive distortions (e.g. all-or-nothing, black/white thinking, or splitting; labeling; overgeneralizing; catastrophizing or minimizing; personalizing; mind reading or jumping to conclusions, etc.) is introduced as being characteristic of ongoing conflict (examples are identified and discussed), and that part of our work together will be to regularly assess for and process these in detail (The client is provided a list of cognitive distortions to refer to at each session)
  • Encourages use of detailed descriptive terms in communicating about problems, people and events, verses use of the above distortions and focusing on conclusions
  • Facilitates development of an increasing ability to tune in to one's own internal somatic signals and identify associated feelings with an increasingly sophisticated "feelings vocabulary" (a feelings list is provided for the client to refer to at each session), yet also instructing the parent to refocus their attention to the child's feelings and needs when the child is present--keeping the child's interest as the priority
  • Facilitates the grieving processes and processing of anger for what has been lost, and promotes boundaries and scheduling of rituals for this process so that the parent can remain focused on the needs of his/her child
  • Provides education on active listening and assertive communication skills, and facilitates the development of these
  • Works to contain reactivity and promote emotional regulation
  • Facilitates acceptance of personal responsibility with behavioral contracting for specific negotiated behavioral change in relating to the other parent and/or the child, in the best interest of the child
  • Role models positive reinforcement via providing acknowledgment and praise for all steps, big and small, toward positive change
  • Educates the parent on relevant child development issues, age-appropriate expectations, and parenting skills and strategies
  • Promotes the development and celebration of new rituals, individual and family
  • Promotes parallel parenting strategies when a parent or parents are unable to cope with co-parenting strategies, which requires more active/involved communication
  • Facilitates the strengthening and/or the development of support networks of neutral persons, whom may be included in sessions as clinically appropriate and needed to support an individual or the family as a whole in working toward meeting therapy goals
  • Is appropriate for the parent who is participating in other forms of treatment (i.e. co-parenting, reunification, family therapy or the child's individual therapy) and yet is in need of intervention that is outside of the scope of those interventions
  • Is appropriate for the many reasons parents are court ordered to therapy, for example: attachment issues originating within the parent's family of origin and contributing to difficulties in connecting with and parenting his/her child, and which cannot be adequately addressed within the other models of intervention; a parent's enmeshment with a child that is significantly interfering with the child's ability to connect with his/her other parent; the parent who has become estranged and/or rejected by the child and needs individual intervention beyond the scope of con-joint reunification therapy (e.g. intrusive unprocessed historical trauma that has become activated, entrenched cognitive distortions); the parent whose anger at the ex-partner is being displaced onto the child; a parent who persists in putting the child in the middle, or in denigrating the other parent with the child despite having been counseled and provided education in other modalities on the damaging effects to the child
  • Is appropriate for parents who simply choose to seek their own therapy to process their own grief, gain insight and understanding into their own contribution to the ending of the marriage, to obtain education and guidance on parenting their children through the divorce process, and to gain support in healing and moving forward
  • Utilizes many of the same exercises and principles as those used in Co-parent Counseling and Education
  • May include utilizing the Divorce Education parent program "Children in the Middle"
  • Please review Family Systems Therapy & Reunification Therapy for the complete overview of family treatment, and additionally for approaches to addressing reunification, which is also applicable to individual therapy for the parent who is also involved in the reunification process

Confidentiality for the Parent in Individual Therapy

(Please first click on LIMITS OF CONFIDENTIALITY to read the limits of confidentiality for all services.)

  • Therapy is confidential and privileged if the parties are using a non-adversarial process (parties may choose to authorize the therapist to collaborate with their attorneys via three-way conference-both parties must agree)
  • Therapy is non-confidential if the parties are engaged in an adversarial process- therapy must, therefore, be court ordered

Please download the following for more details:

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