We are Professional


If you are a counsellor and thinking of providing services for children of divorce, here are a few things to keep in mind:


Being a registered Clinical Counsellor is not enough. 


The more experience you have as a counsellor, the better. Five years RCC experience would be a good start.


You should already be an experienced children's counsellor before doing therapy with children of divorce.


Take special training in how to work with children of divorce. There are many resources online who explain issues and difference, but really, consider taking a mentor. Find a senior counsellor who is very experienced working with children of divorce, to guide you every step when you start dealing with custody and court process.


It's a very different kind of therapy. Children of divorce can get very distressed, very angry, they may make up stories, they may be coached by one parent to make false disclosures of abuse against the other parent, they may be alienated by one parent against the other, they may be pressured by one parent or both, they may be put in the middle, they may act out a parent's anxiety refusing visitation with the other parent, they may manipulate trying to save one parent's custody interests, they may state being afraid of one parent when actually they are not. etc.


Custody fights are ugly and fierce. You can't just believe everything you hear from the child and the one parent who brings the child to you. You must hear the other parent's story, too. Serious accusations fly on both sides. You may have to be a bit of a detective and sort through the information before you act on it or put it in the report.


You will likely be asked to write a report or letter for court. This is a very high responsibility, because it has very deep and long-lasting effects on the whole family. Imagine you are given untrue information by the child or one of the parents, you believe it and put it in the report like it's a true fact. Then the child's relationship with one of the parents is wrongly limited or severed for life. Can you live with that? What would you do if someone did that to you and you lost access to your child? Would it comfort you to know that they sincerely believed what they wrote against you in the report or leter to court? Would that be enough for you, to lose access to your child over it? 


The wronged parent (and sometimes even without being wronged) can sue you for many things: for being unexperienced for child's age and/or divorce/custody issues, for not obtaining both parents' consent before doing therapy with the child, for making untrue allegations about them, for alienating the child from them, for harming the child's trust in them, etc. 


Counselling children and parents during highly conflicted custody process is not for the faint at heart. No matter how professional, ethical and objective you are, one of the parents will likely be unhappy and will call you biased, unethical and unprofessional.


Can you live with being accused, again and again, and with your character and professionalism being contested in court?

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