When parents separate or divorce, it can be really hard for everyone, especially children. There are often difficult feelings involved and a lot of disruption and change for everybody, which can make communication between parents difficult. This can be challenging for children when things are uncertain, different or unpredictable. When the parent relationship is difficult, therapy can provide a safe place for children to talk about their thoughts and feelings.
We want to be clear about Okey Dokey’s approach when parents are separated or divorced, to help you understand how we will work with you to support your child.
Please note that “client-parent” refers to the parent that has engaged services for their child with Okey Dokey Childhood Therapy and “other parent” refers to the non-referring parent.
How can therapy help your child?
Having a trusting relationship with a therapist can:
- give children a chance to express their feelings about the changes they are experiencing, which are often big and confusing, including guilt, grief, sadness and anger.
- provide a neutral and safe place where feelings can be shared or explored to someone not involved in the situation. This means that children who worry about saying the wrong thing to a parent because they don’t want to upset them, can speak openly.
- help children understand and adjust to the new family arrangements.
- help children learn ways to maintain positive relationships with each member of the family.
How can your child’s attending therapy help you as a parent?
When parents separate or divorce, family members often have different needs and perspectives. Two separate families are created, and each parent may have different views about the situation, their own fears about the future, and face additional life pressures. Supporting children in these situations can be challenging.
We know that the best outcomes for children occur when all parents are involved and work together to support the child, but we understand this is not always easy or possible. We would like to provide the following information about what services we can and cannot provide and to be clear about boundaries that we have in place to support you and your child.
Therapists at Okey Dokey can:
- offer feedback and recommendations to you about how your child is progressing and how best to support them to use the information and skills they develop in therapy.
- provide suggestions to you as a parent about ways to support your child in your household and during transitions.
- offer individual parenting sessions to either parent, with consent from the “client-parent.” These sessions should be booked separately to the child’s therapy sessions and will be charged to the parent who attends unless otherwise arranged.
Therapists/Staff at Okey Dokey:
- will not take one parent’s side over another.
- will not influence your child to take the side of one parent over another.
- will not make recommendations about care or custody arrangements.
- will not provide reports for court or lawyers.
- will not act as mediators for family disputes.
- will not share information provided to us by one parent to another parent without consent.
- will not communicate with the “other parent” without written consent from the “parent-client”.
How you can work with us
Research has shown that when parents separate, conflict between parents can negatively impact children, so we encourage parents to work together with us and we recommend the following:
- The “client-parent” is encouraged to tell the “other parent” about their child’s involvement in therapy and if appropriate invite them to communicate with the therapist about the therapy process and how they can be involved.
- We encourage both parents to help the child to see the therapist as a helper, someone who will support them and is not on the side of either parent.
- The “client-parent” is encouraged to share any relevant information regarding their child’s therapy, such as session information and resources, with the “other parent”. It is not the responsibility of the therapist to share this information.
- The “client-parent” is encouraged to provide a copy of this policy to the “other parent” as provided by Okey Dokey.