best way to raise children of divorce
decreasing
		post-divorce conflict for healthier kids Daniel B.
Pickar, Ph.D., ABPP; Child & Family Clinical and Forensic Psychology sonoma county co-parent counseling program
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Co-parent Counseling

Daniel B. Pickar, Ph.D.
New Address/Fax Number
as of June 1st:

1212 College Ave., Suite A
Santa Rosa, CA 95404
Tel: (707) 566-0296
Fax: (707) 843-5095
Email: dpickar@sbcglobal.net

high-conflict divorce solutions

Co-Parent Counseling and the Co-Parent Project

One of the most difficult and stressful tasks for divorced parents is to redefine their co-parental relationship. Research studies on children in divorced families show that those children who are openly exposed to parental conflict or "badmouthing" of the other parent, whether overt or subtle, have poorer psychological adjustment to the divorce than children whose parents can learn to cooperatively co-parent. A helpful way to think about co-parenting after a separation/divorce is that you are shifting from a "personal" co-parenting relationship to a "business" co-parenting relationship.

Co-Parent Counseling

One of the most important things parents can do post-divorce is to develop an effective method of communicating about the children, so information can be shared in a simple, clear, and timely fashion. The co-parent therapist can help parents by providing educational information regarding factors that lead to improved post-divorce adjustment for children. Co-parent counseling can also address:

  • Establishing or making changes to the parenting plan
  • Dealing with differences in child-rearing philosophies and practices
  • Learning how to avoid conflict, child alienation, and putting the children "in the middle" of parental disagreements
  • Developing respectful and dispassionate approaches to decision-making and problem-solving regarding the children
  • Discipline and rules for the children
  • Joint decision-making regarding schooling, sports participation, and medical issues

This process has the potential to decrease post-divorce conflict, thereby supporting the healthy growth and development of the children. Co-parent counseling typically involves a series of weekly or every other-week sessions, and with improved parental communication, may only occur once a month.

The Co-Parent Project for High-Conflict Post-Divorce Families

Dr. Pickar is part of a very experienced group of co-parent therapists who have implemented a new approach to working with high-conflict families. Many parents following a separation or divorce initially have difficulty communicating about the children while they adjust to their new lives and attempt to resolve the emotional turmoil that comes with a separation. Usually within a year or two after the divorce, most parents are able to effectively co-parent their children. However, for a small minority of parents, the high conflict becomes entrenched and impairs the cooperation, communication, and coordination that is essential to healthy post-divorce child adjustment.

For these families, it is typically best that co-parent therapist's work in pairs, as co-therapists. Each parent is assigned a co-parenting therapist who may meet with them for several initial individual meetings, and then both parents, with their therapists, meet together in 4-way meetings for the co-parenting sessions. These sessions are typically 2 hours in length. The primary purpose of the counseling sessions is to provide a forum where the parents can work to establish a cooperative parenting plan. This approach of using two co-parent therapists has the following advantages with high-conflict families:

  • It provides an "ally" within the session to help each parent stay focused, on track, and moving towards their stated goals
  • Reduces the likelihood of feeling alone or "ganged up on" in the session, since each parent has his/her therapist to represent their side
  • Permits interventions and working-through of issues that may not be possible for a therapist working alone with high conflict parents
  • It may be more efficient and effective for high conflict parents than traditional co-parent counseling using one therapist, thereby saving money for the couple and reducing the likelihood of going to court

Fees

Fees for co-parent counseling are:  

$180 per 50 minute session
$270 per 90 minute session
$360 for 2 hour session
 

 
Read about the Co-Parent Project ( PDF).

joint decisions regarding discipline,
			medical and custody issues