Psychology and Psychotherapy: Theory, Research and Practice

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Volume 54 Issue 2 (June 1981), Pages 93-201

Some considerations on the clinic treatment of children of divorce (pages 167-173)

A case is presented involving counselling for a divorced mother and psychotherapy for her child. Review of the literature suggests that the suitability of a Child Guidance Clinic intervention when parents are divorced can depend on the age of the child, the nature of the parents' relationship and the timing of the referral. During the divorce crisis, children can be helped by a brief, individual intervention. After this period, family therapy ‐ if possible to include the non‐custodial parent ‐ may help clarify issues relevant to the parents and remove the burden of symptom‐carrier from the child. Long‐term, individual psychotherapy for the child is crucially dependent on a sufficiently ‘containing’ setting and on parents who genuinely desire change. Our own experience has been that the clinic workers must always remain aware of the legal issues ‐ i.e. which parent has custody, care and control ‐ as this will determine who has the right to accept a treatment offer for the child.

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