Counselling for Children Experiencing a Separation or Divorce & Co-Parenting Support
We believe telling your child that you have decided to end your relationship is one of the most difficult aspects of separation. During separation or divorce the entire family system must adjust to many changes and re-organize most areas of family life. Relationships that children have with extended family and friends may change if conflict limits future involvement. It is a grown up decision to end a relationship, yet there are still many layers of emotion a couple will experience. The therapists in the practice are highly trained in family systems and specialize in helping parents to understand what the needs of their children are during this difficult time. As children of separation and divorce adjust and learn to live in two households, it will take time, love and support from caring parents who are able to focus on their children’s needs.
At times children struggle with the adjustment and become sad and anxious with all the change. The practice has a highly competent professional team of therapists that are clear on the boundaries of helping a family move through all the necessary changes. The therapists are trained in various areas of child therapy such as play therapy, talk therapy and art therapy. Depending on the individual child and their developmental stage the therapist will use their clinical judgment as to how best to make a deep connection and help the child process their emotions. Children at times need a third party and a safe space to express themselves when they are under the stressors of separation or divorce. Children tend to struggle with changing their internal picture of their family, and accepting the new picture of family life, along with all the stressors of living in two homes. Young children often express in therapy how they miss the parent they are not with, then they change homes and miss the other parent. This is a grief process for a child, and at times parents overlook how difficult it really is on a child. Children tend to struggle with changing their internal picture of their family and accepting a new picture that involves life in two separate homes. When this occurs the child is sadly under too much pressure and will benefit from therapy to sort out all their feelings. Children do not need to be part of parental conflict, adult issues, choose sides, or experience the stress of loyalty issues.
For more Information on play therapy please see FAQ: Child & Parents
Co-Parenting/Pre & Post Separation or Divorce
Research has shown that children of separation and divorce can grow up with healthy views on relationships and live healthy adult lives. It is important for families to grieve the loss of a one household family unit and learn to adjust to two households. The practice offers a variety of services to assist parents in helping their children and themselves to heal and move in a positive direction. The practice offers parents a safe and compassionate environment to guide them through the separation process. When a family of one home becomes two there are many difficult issues to be addressed and accepted. As parents begin the grief process of changing how they viewed their world and trying to accept all the changes many emotions will arise. In order to accept a new picture of the future, emotions of fear, hurt, anger and resentment need to be processed. The sooner parents are able to move through these strong emotions the more likely their children will do well with the adjustment. It is when parents get stuck in their hurt or anger that children become part of the parental conflict.
The practice has a written agreement with parents to ensure our only role is counselling, coaching and co-parenting. We will not be involved with any form of custody or access assessment. The role of custody reports is done by a professional third party and not your child's counsellor or your counsellor assisting in co-parenting. The therapists in the practice have a wealth of knowledge, experience and approach separation and divorce from a deeply supportive and compassionate place. Investing in a working relationship with a family therapist is a commitment to your child's future well-being.
We require both parents/legal guardians to consent to our services unless sole custody has been awarded. We request that the parent requesting the services and attending with the child inform the other parent and provide our details. Children 12 years and older are able to make an informed decision and consent to counselling.
I met Bonnie in 2003 when I was going through an ugly divorce while learning to raise a one year old on my own. I felt very broken from an abusive marriage and years of being bullied. Bonnie gave all of her attention and offered a great deal of knowledge and empowering skills. She taught me about healthy boundaries, how to deal with stress, and the ability to decide how I wanted to be treated. My visits with Bonnie helped me find the voice I thought I had lost.
Now, years later, I have returned with my 11 year old who seeks encouragement and advice from anyone but mom! Bonnie has a natural approach with children by making them feel comfortable and safe. I know that Bonnie is instilling the confidence and spirit that we hope all children would have.
- LB, Surrey, BC