You might have heard about the Judge in Michigan who put three children in juvenile detention for refusing to visit with their father. Well now the same Judge has ordered the children to attend reunification therapy with their father.
What is reunification therapy?
When children grow up in an atmosphere of parental alienation, their primary role model is a manipulative, dysfunctional parent. It is for this reason that many family law experts recommend custody reversal in such cases, or at least a period of separation during the reunification process with an alienated parent. I have come to believe, however, that the means of combating alienation should not themselves be alienating, and that co-parenting being the primary goal. Thus engaging and involving the alienating parent in reunification programs, whenever possible, is critical.
Parents and children who have undergone forced separation in situations where there was no abuse, including cases of parental alienation, are highly subject to post-traumatic stress. Reunification efforts in these cases should proceed carefully and with sensitivity. Alienated children typically have a secret wish for someone to call their bluff, compelling them to reconnect with the parent they claim to hate; despite strongly held positions of alignment, alienated children want nothing more than to be given the permission and freedom to love and be loved by both parents.