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                  Reunification Therapy

             "Peace after the chaos"

Reunification Therapy offers a therapeutic process for divided families and Parental Alienation. During the course of separation, a parent sometimes loses contact with a child. Or sometimes children start showing mental and behavioral issues from unknown causes.  Our Reunification Therapy is a non-judgemental, Trauma-informed, Child and Family Therapy. This approach integrates modern Neuro-biological science research, Mindfulness-based reintegration, and Whole-brain Body-Mind pain and Trauma treatment for Reunification process.

Reunification / Reintegration Therapy is described as "an effective way of gradually and safely reintroducing, or sometimes introducing, the parent/child relationship with the goal of establishing a healthy and loving relationship between parent and child. " 

The process of reunification and the role of the reunification therapist are complex: (P. Singleton, 2019)

  1. First and foremost, the reunification therapist has to build a trusting, therapeutic relationship with the children. That can take time because children who are in the midst of the reunification process tend to be more frightened, anxious, and mistrusting of adults in their world, particularly new adults.

  2. It is equally important that both parents trust the reunification therapist’s clinical experience and believe that the reunification therapist has their children’s best interest at heart. Both parents should feel understood and supported by the reunification therapist even though the reunification therapist may be asking both of them to act outside of their current beliefs and comfort zones.

  3. It is the reunification therapist’s role to hold each parent accountable for the steps each has to take to ensure a successful reunification. It is never appropriate for the reunification therapist to cast blame or promote the notion that one parent is solely responsible for the struggle. Ultimately, both parents must believe that the reunification therapist is not taking sides in the parents’ conflict and is strictly acting on behalf of their children and on behalf of their children’s task of reunification. The past hurts, anger, and failures in the marriage must be released in order to make way for a new beginning as equal co-parents. The caveat to this are instances where there are clearly defined abuse dynamics with a clear aggressor identified. 

  4. Individual therapy for each parent is necessary to separate out individual challenges that may be impeding the progress of the reunification.

  5. It is also essential that the professionals involved work in a collaborative spirit giving hope to the family that one plan can evolve to successfully move the family forward.

  6. Both parents have to have equal trust in all the professionals involved to avoid a split that will only promote ongoing conflict. 

The literature consistently reports that alienated children are at risk for emotional distress and adjustment difficulties, and at greater risk than children from litigating families who are not alienated (Bala and Fidler, 2010). Clinical observations, case reviews, and qualitative and empirical studies consistently indicate that alienated children may exhibit:

  • poor reality testing;

  • illogical cognitive operations;

  • simplistic and rigid information processing;

  • inaccurate or distorted interpersonal perceptions;

  • self-hatred;

  • disturbed and compromised internal functioning;

  • low-self-esteem (internalized negative parts of rejected parents, self-doubt about own perceptions, self-blame for rejecting parent or abandoning siblings, mistrust, feeling unworthy or unloved, feeling abandoned) or inflated self-esteem or omnipotence;

  • pseudo-maturity;

  • gender-identity problems;

  • poor differentiation of self (enmeshment);

  • aggression and conduct disorders;

  • disregard for social norms and authority;

  • poor impulse control;

  • emotional constriction, passivity, or dependence; and

  • lack of remorse or guilt 

Perhaps, most importantly, individual therapy for both parents is vital. Each parent will need individual support to deal with the emotional stressors inherent in the divorce process and the reunification process. Otherwise, parents are likely to engage their children, and or the professionals involved, in ways that are counterproductive or destructive to the reunification process. It is essential that the professionals involved have expertise in working with families experiencing high-conflict divorce, otherwise, they too can engage this complex process in ways that are counterproductive, and at times, destructive.

Our SMART Reunification Therapy is Modern Systemic Family Therapy and No-shame/Non-judgemental Trauma-informed Therapy.  We will not encourage any counterproductive conflict, shame, and pain for Reunification Process.

Reunification therapist, Dai Kato, M.A is a AAMFT certified Marriage and Family Therapist and certified Advanced mediator from the Harvard Negotiation Insight Initiative. He specializes in facilitating conflict in Families, Couples, and Individuals. Helping children and families internationally. He is a Clinical Support Professional at the Naropa University Graduate School of Mental Health Counseling where he teaches Group Counseling, Therapeutic Relationship and Skill Building, Family Systems Therapy, and Buddhist Psychology. 

Contact SMART Therapy Center

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