Reunification therapy (also referred to as Parent-Child Contact Therapy) can be viewed as a “hybrid family therapy” with the goal of addressing and correcting a break in a given relationship between a parent and child. Given the dynamic process and the involvement of multiple family members, one person is not identified as the client. Instead, the family is “the client.”
Reunification therapy requires a court order to identify the terms and participation of family members. This step is purposeful, and results in greater structure, consistency, and participation by the family, all of which is needed to increase the likelihood of positive change for the family.
Dr. Anderson begins reunification therapy by meeting separately with each parent to discuss the family relationship history, current concerns, assess their willingness to participate, and to establish goals. Safety concerns, such as chemical dependency issues or untreated mental illness are addressed prior to meeting with the children. Subsequently, appointments are scheduled with the children. Effort is made to help children become comfortable and acquainted with the therapy process, understand their concerns, and establish a plan to address these concerns to decrease conflict within a given relationship. A meeting with the parents to discuss reunification therapy goals will be scheduled after Dr. Anderson has had an opportunity to adequately hear from all family members. The parents may request that their attorney also attend this meeting. It may be helpful for family members to work with individual therapists during the course of reunification therapy to address specific issues, and receive additional support.