Therapy with Children after Separation (Post 1)

What tools, skills, ideas may be a useful to explore children’s experience of separation, conflict, living arrangements, and their relationships within their two-household family. It is important for children to be able to speak openly about their feelings about family separation; to speak about the feelings of loss, grief, anger and not have a parent react; therapy allows the child the space to be able to talk honesty about feelings so feedback can be given to parents to assist the parents to discontinue using child responses as part of the couple conflict.

  • A skilled therapist allows the child to have a ‘buffer’; which supports parents to start to separate child issues from couple issues.
  • To carry out successful child therapy consultations the therapist needs to be creative in the tools they bring to a therapy session; the use of drawings, pictures, sand play, play with specific aims (e.g. a selection of fierce animals), bear cards, shadow cards, 3 wishes, story completion, house drawings or pictures, imaginative dreams are some ideas a child therapist may use.
  • All tools, skills and ideas in child therapy are important; identifying how the child is presenting  is a real skill of the therapist; the therapist needs to be creative in offering them a medium they are comfortable with to tell their story and express their emotions.  Any play object that can be connected to the child story can be used well be a therapist.
  • E.g. when working with a 5 year old, the child had an obsession with possession of fierce animals; tigers, crocodiles etc. The child was encouraged to talk as one of these animals and answer questions from an animal voice explaining why the animal was very important to him. The information elicited was very insightful and as the mother was present and listening was ‘blown’ away by what she learnt about how her son was not coping with the couple’s conflict. Spontaneity and creativity of the child therapist is a skill; the room and resources in the room need to be extensive so the child can be encouraged to interact using many mediums; even some teenagers will happily use drama or a skit to be able to tell a story; which in fact is how they are really feeling about all the issues of separation from a child’s or young person’a point of view.
This entry was posted in Divorce & Separation. Bookmark the permalink.

Comments are closed.