⋅ Therapy Contracto Foundation based on court order.
o Frequency must be determined prior to counseling process; many will only participate for court minimum requirements.
o Specific confidentiality contract and explanation of confidentiality limitations in essential.
⋅ Alliance Building
o Any alliance can be experienced as an alliance against the other in these families
o Extra effort is necessary to establish a multipartial alliance in which the therapist is experienced as caring but also fair.
o Counselor must be honest, provide direct feedback about the behavior occurring but reframe changes sought in the most positive light.
o Problematic behaviors related to the conflict are directly confronted, but the positive intent of each client is always underscored.
o Begin with a form of evaluation that involves:
⋅ Separate meetings with each parent (with or without new spouses, depending on the issues involved) and children
⋅ A review of records of filings in court and other relevant reports available
⋅ Consultations with other therapists involved.
o Identify family strengths and weaknesses.
⋅ Treatment Plan
o Should include not only the traditional goals but also:
⋅ Format of future sessions of who will participate
⋅ In what combinations, at what time, and focused on what issues.
⋅ Goal Setting
o Main goal is to reduce the damaging aspects of custody disputes:
• high conflict
• broken family structure
• lack of safety
• Impact on daily functioning