Families often ask about the role of a child specialist in collaborative divorce cases and how this support is similar and dissimilar to therapy. Following are some helpful guidelines to assist parents in choosing the best suited professional to support their child during a divorce.
A child specialist’s role is targeted to address the child’s needs during the divorce process. It is clearly stated to the child that the conversations and experiences with me will focus on helping them express their thoughts and feelings about the divorce. Children understand that I’ll will be talking with their parents about the content of the sessions. This work is limited to a recommended number of sessions. Therapy, on the other hand, involves building a relationship with the child over time to support in the development of a child’s sense of themselves and to help them navigate adjustments in multiple contexts, including family and friendship dynamics, as well as school experiences.
A child specialist will meet with parents to help them understand possible effects and behaviors during a divorce. Parents will learn about developmental differences and coping styles a child may show at different ages. Parents will be given helpful guidance about ways to support their child, highlighting the strengths and possible challenges that lie ahead. Parents are encouraged to make child centered decisions with each other and to minimize conflict and unpredictability during this stressful time.
Child Specialists do not make recommendations about parenting time or custody. They do, however, consult with other collaborating professionals to assist them in supporting the family’s plan.
Children often feel a lack of control during the divorce, and by offering these specialized sessions, children are given a voice and a chance to express themselves in a safe and neutral place.
“Anything that’s human is mentionable, and anything that’s mentionable can be more manageable. When we can talk about our feelings, they become less overwhelming, less upsetting, and less scary. The people we trust with that important talk can help us know that we’re not alone.” ~Fred Rogers
Diane Gans, MA, LPC
Psychotherapist & Child Specialist
1609 Willamette Falls Dr.
West Linn, OR 97068