The role of the therapist in family reintegration therapy is not to determine IF it is in the child(ren)’s best interests to have contact with both parents. Rather, we support the belief that children benefit when they have meaningful relationships with both parents. Family reintegration therapy is intended, therefore, to help the children and parents achieve this goal.
Reintegration is a specific form of family therapy that addresses contact resistance or refusal, estrangement between a parent and a child, or to address relational or parenting challenges that have resulted in supervised visitation or reduced parenting time. There are many reasons why a child may be reluctant to have contact with a parent. The parent and child may never had a well-established relationship or the difficulties may be newly emerging. Sometimes events have hurt a parent and child’s relationship, including exposure to conflict, violent parent interactions or child mistreatment. In some situations, one parent is knowingly or unknowingly undermining or interfering with the child’s relationship with the other parent. Often a child or teen may be reacting to the stress of being caught in the middle of parent conflict or to differences in the parents’ styles of parenting and has aligned with one parent to relieve their internal distress. Usually, there is a combination of factors at play.
In reintegration therapy the therapist assesses the family and implements treatment that is designed to address the issues that are contributing to the child’s avoidant reactions. Through the identification and targeting of these contributing factors, the therapist strives to help the child and parents make changes that will lead to healthier and more satisfying parent-child relationships and reduce family stress.
The parents agree to the involvement of the entire family, in various combinations, as directed by the therapist or co-therapist. The process will include meetings with each parent and the child(ren) individually and jointly. The process may include meetings with other family members as deemed necessary by the therapist.
Our practice does not bill insurance for reintegration family therapy, as we do not assess or diagnose individuals or provide a diagnostic or billing codes. Additionally, there are strict boundaries regarding communication between the therapist, parents, and collateral contacts which will be further explained when services are initiated.