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Reunification Family Therapy


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Table of Contents

Table of Contents 1: Introduction to Family Structure and Fragmentation of the Family 2: Bases and Elements of Reunification Therapy Mechanisms Responsible for Breaches in the Parent-Child Relationship Why Does the Need Exist for Reunification Therapy? Why Not Let the Child Decide? Application of Developmental Psychology Spontaneous Reunification Treatment Selection Guided by Empirical Evidence and Specific Characteristics of Family Reunification Therapy: Terms and Related Concepts 3: Reunification Therapy as a Specific Form of Empirically Based Family Therapy What Reunification Therapy Is NOT Reunification Therapy: A Composite Treatment Cognitive and Behavioral Domains Humanistic (Client-Centered) Domain Systemic Family Therapy Domain 4: Pretreatment Decisions and Process Appropriateness for Reunification Therapy in Military Deployment and Institutionalization Cases Appropriateness for Reunification Therapy in Family Law and Guardianship Cases Ethical and Legal Considerations Informed Consent: Statement of Understanding The Contract, Court Order, or Agreed Order Do No Harm Avoiding Multiple Relationships Avoiding Making Custodial and Time-Sharing Recommendations Practicing Within the Scope Communicating With Attorneys and Allied Professionals Prior to Treatment When Reunification Therapy Is Inappropriate Necessary Therapist Characteristics 5: Working With the Child Explanation of the Reunification Process to the Child or Adolescent Establishing Effective Working Relationships: The Buy In, The Child Capitalizing on Children's Natural Curiosity "Are You My Mother?"; "Are you My Father?" Assessing and Addressing Resistance: The Child Siblings: A Double-Edged Sword Developing an In-Session and Out-of-Session Safety Plan Assessing Resistance of Others and Determining Outside Influences Critical Collaboration With Other Case-Specific Professionals Children's Individual Differences and Special Abilities 6: Working With the Non-Time-Sharing Parent Initial Therapy Considerations Anger and Blame Parents Who Have Been " Victimized" and/or Maintain Their Victim Role Parents Without Parenting Leverage Temporary Abdication of Parenting Parents Without Adequate Parenting Competencies and Self-Confidences Fear of Rage, Retaliation, and Rejection of the Child and the Alternate Parent Ground Rules for Non-Time-Sharing Parents 7: Working With the Time-Sharing Parent Resistance Versus Intentional Interference Enhancement of Time-Sharing Parents' Engagement in Reunification Therapy Time-Sharing Parents Require Empathy and Support Too Closing Parenting Loopholes The Buy-In Subterfuge Therapist At Risk of Being Thrown Under the Bus 8: Conjoint Sessions and Effecting Change Initial Non-Time-Sharing Parent-Child Contact Staying Present-Focused Instructing Parents Not to "Take the Bait": Children's Attempts at Triangulating Parents Presenting a Unified Front "More Is More" Homework: A Necessary Tool Utilizing Interparental Electronic Communications to Effectuate Change Obstacles During Family Treatment Including Other Professionals in the Process to Effectuate Change Children Who Cannot Separate From Time-Sharing Parent for Reunification Therapy Use of Ancillary Strategies to Enhance Contact Developing New Traditions Enhancing Attachment: Photography and Videotaping Planned Termination of Reunification Therapy 9: Legal Processes During and After Treatment Translucent Legal Agendas (AKA Not-So-Transparent Agendas) "Less Is More" 10: Special Topics Preparing Children When Reunification Is Not Possible Reunification Therapy With Other Primary Caretakers Reunification Therapy When Physical Distance Is a Factor Immersion Interventions: Workshops and Retreats Reunification of Infants and Very Young Children With Their Parents 11: Fundamental Treatment Plan Reunification Therapy for Dissolved Parental Relationships Important Notes Appendices A: Reunification Therapy: Motivational Interviewing Questions B: Reunification Therapy: Behavioral Activation C: Empathy Training for Parents

About the Author

Jan Faust, PhD, ABPP, is Professor at the College of Psychology Faculty, Nova Southeastern University (NSU), Fort Lauderdale, FL. Dr. Faust developed the Child and Adolescent Traumatic Stress Program, which is a clinical, training, and research facility serving children exposed to traumatic events. She has conducted various research projects, and currently she is conducting treatment outcome research on treatment efficacy for families in reunification therapy, parent empathy training, and children with posttraumatic stress disorder. She has published many articles in peer-reviewed journals and book chapters in the field of child, adolescent, and family psychology.


Although written primarily for the mental health professional, this is an excellent primer for family law attorneys seeking to gain a real command of the subtleties and nuances of this highly sensitive subject matter. Written in plain, easily digestible language, Dr. Faust provides a thorough and thoughtful road map to first understanding the nature of the breakdown in the parent-child relationship, the spectrum of its root causes, and methodologies for the most accurate assessment before arming the reader with detailed, step-by-step approaches to remedying this painful and heart-wrenching schism in the nuclear family. As an attorney practicing exclusively in the area of marital and family law for nearly 30 years, I am thrilled to finally have an authoritative resource that I can rely on when counseling clients and educating the courts on issues involving fragmented families."; Peter L. Gladstone, Esq, President of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, Florida Chapter; Former Chair of the Family Law Section of the Florida Bar ;"This book is an extremely helpful addition to the small body of literature that addresses a very difficult family therapy issue - repairing ruptures in parent-child relationships. Dr. Faust offers a road map for reunification therapy in multiple contexts, applying developmental psychology and evidence-based practices to this vexing issue, and sharing practical tools to help clinicians apply treatment protocols. This is a must-read for any clinician providing reunification therapy." ; Robin M. Deutsch, PhD, ABPP, Director of the Center of Excellence for Children, Families and the Law, William James College, Newton, MA, USA; "A powerful resource for those professionals assisting in the process of reunifying parents with their children. Dr. Faust writes with clarity and common sense."; Alfred J. Horowitz, Circuit Court Judge in the Family Division, Fort Lauderdale, FL, USA.; Jan Faust's book ... is a well-organized, evidence-based resource for clinicians who intervene in one of the most challenging and complex problems in high conflict shared custody-parent-child contact problems. She provides a comprehensive conceptual framework for this work, which is grounded in Family Systems, and details more specific interventions that address individual, relationship and larger system issues. The addenda contain useful tools and resources to structure treatment, including a 14-session Fundamental Treatment Plan. I now recommend this manual in all of my professional trainings.; Reviewed by Matthew J. Sullivan, PhD, in Family Court Review, 57, 118-120 (2019)- The full review is available at https://doi.org/10.1111/fcre.12399

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