Conducting ‘Reunification’ Therapies: Responding to Systemic Resist/Refuse Dynamics

benjamin garberaltInstructor: Benjamin D. Garber, Ph.D.

alt Approved for 4 Hours of CE Credit

alt Fulfills Requirements for Psychologist, MFTs, LCSWs, and Licensed Professional Counselors.

alt This course is designed for Full and Part-Time Private Practitioners, and Full and Part-Time Agency Employees

alt High Resolution Online Streaming Video Format Available

Program Description:

This four-hour intensive course for advanced family law mental health professionals reviews the dynamics of the high conflict family that can result in resist/refuse dynamics and details best practice interventions in support of the child’s opportunity to enjoy a healthy relationship with both (all) parents. Grounded in developmental theory, “Conducting Reunification Therapies” describes how children can become triangulated into their parent’s conflicts and forced to take sides with one against the other. The child thus polarized commonly resists or refuses contact with the “out” parent. A cognitive behavioral intervention built on established methods of reciprocal inhibition and graduated exposure is described as one component of successful reunification interventions.


Goals & Objectives:

  • Understand the concept of psychological “holding” or containment as it bears on the development of identity and on many children’s experience of co-parental conflict.
  • Become better able to articulate and differentiate the systemic factors that can contribute to a child’s polarized position within the adult conflict, including: incidental preferences and aversions, the “chameleon child,” the experience of bribes and threats, enmeshment, alienation and estrangement.
  • Develop a deeper understanding of the ways in which co-parental conflict can undermine a child’s movement toward autonomy, particularly the effects of adultification, parentification, and infantilization within the aligned dyad.
  • Improve the quality of the Service Agreement delivered to parties detailing the nature and limits of the proposed intervention.
  • Integrate empirically sound cognitive behavioral methods for anxiety reduction into the reunification intervention so as to improve efficacy and time-efficiency while simultaneously diminishing participant stress and resistance.
  • Better foresee, forestall and be prepared to respond to the hurdles that commonly impede progress and can compromise the child’s opportunity to (re-)establish a healthy relationship with both (all) parents.

Registration Information

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Online Video Version


CE Approval Information

This course fulfills 4.0 hours Continuing Education credit for licensed mental health professionals in most states.

The Steve Frankel Group (SFG) is approved by the American Psychological Association (APA) to sponsor continuing education for psychologists. SFG maintains responsibility for this program and its content.

In California, the Board of Behavioral Studies (BBS) accepts CE credit hours from providers approved by the APA.

The course outline or agenda for this training has been approved as corresponding to the subject areas specified in California Rules of Court, rules 5.225(d)(1-3)

The views expressed in this training are those of the trainer and do not necessarily represent the official positions or policies of the Judicial Council of California.


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