I am not a child custody evaluator. I can recommend therapists who specialize in evaluating children in regards to legal custody issues. So, if you are looking for that kind of specialization, please let me know that at the beginning so I can refer you to someone else. My belief is that when all parents/legal guardians have a healthy relationship with their child, the child benefits.
I also know that “parents” can be defined in a multitude of ways. So for clarification purposes for consent to treat, I need all legal guardians or any custodial and non-custodial parents to meet with me and sign all the paperwork on behalf of the minor child.
Things to know about my practice with children from divorce or separation:
- I will request that all legal guardians or custodial and non-custodial parents attend an initial intake unless one is incarcerated, has limited or no parental rights, or has never had a relationship with the child. This initial intake can be done together or separately, If one parent is living at a distance, we can conduct the initial intake over a secure internet telemedicine website. Insurance does not cover telemedicine intakes so if that is necessary it will be a free 20-minute consultation.
- If one of the parents is not a regular visitor or custodian of the child but pays child support, I will ask for contact information to inform him/her of plans to begin Play Therapy and to share my contact information in case he/she has questions.
- I will require both parents to sign the Informed Consent for the Adults and the Child.
- Both parents will be invited to attend family sessions and play therapy sessions and that can be done together or individually
- If there are any special circumstances regarding custody, please let me know that BEFORE we schedule an appointment.
- There is a boundary that I ask each parent to honor regarding what the child does when with the other parent. DO NOT ASK YOUR CHILD WHAT HAPPENED WHEN HE/SHE WAS AT THE OTHER PARENT’S HOME. Simply state, “I hope you had a good time with your father/mother.” Let the child know that complaining about the other parent or sharing about activities that happened when at the other home are not your business unless it involved something that frightened them or made them feel uncomfortable. Let’s be honest. Sometimes, it hurts when they have had a great time with someone’s girlfriend/boyfriend. So, the rule of “what happens at your other parent’s home is private and between you and them” is a good rule to follow. It is hard to do, but so good for the child and for YOU as the parent.
- My job is to help your child adjust to living with one parent at a time or sometimes not living with the other parent at all. This is hard and painful for children. They may always wish for their parents to live in the same house with them. The more we establish healthy and clear rules and boundaries about what is happening and how best to deal with this huge change, the better your child will be in the long run.