Counseling Options in Custody Actions
In many custody actions, one or more parties, the children, and sometimes even other family members may be required to participate in counseling. Common types of counseling for individuals involved in custody actions include co-parenting counseling, therapeutic family counseling, play therapy, trauma therapy, behavioral therapy, reunification counseling, and individual counseling.
Co-parenting counseling focuses on the relationship between the child’s parents (or the individuals who are acting in a parental capacity, such as grandparents or stepparents). Oftentimes, parents may need extra support in developing a good co-parenting relationship, especially if they’ve recently ended their romantic relationship or they’ve been involved in contentious custody proceedings. Co-parenting counseling is a good opportunity to discuss communication strategies and specific issues that pop up regarding custody of the child.
Therapeutic family counseling may involve an entire family, or select members of the family, and it can be tailored to each family member’s needs. It can involve both individual and group therapy sessions.
Play therapy is a common type of therapy for young children, and as the name suggests, a play therapist will use play in a therapeutic setting to evaluate a child and to assist the child and their family in addressing issues and needs.
Trauma therapy is focused on individuals who have experienced trauma. Victims of abuse (including children) frequently undergo trauma therapy to address their trauma (whether it’s emotional, spiritual, or physical abuse, or a traumatic incident).
Behavioral therapy targets specific behavioral issues, and it’s frequently helpful for children who have behaviors that are concerning or that may limit their ability to function in school or at home. It may be used for, but is not limited to, children with diagnoses like autism or ADHD.
Reunification counseling is used in cases in which, for whatever reason, a parent and a child need to re-establish their relationship. That may be due to parental alienation, or because a parent has been absent from the child’s life for some time, for example due to addiction issues.
Individual counseling is also frequently utilized by individuals involved in custody cases, and it truly can be tailored to the individual’s needs, whether directly related to the custody case or not.
In cases where parties disagree about whether counseling of some type is necessary, the Court may order that the parties and/or the children participate in counseling. In contentious custody cases, it is also not uncommon for counselors to testify in the custody proceedings.
If you are interested in learning more about counseling in the context of a custody matter, contact Tanner Law Offices at (717) 731-8114 to schedule a consultation with one of our attorneys.