Professionals Workshops

Information for Therapists on Family Law Matters

In most graduate programs for mental health professionals, there is a lack of coursework around family law or working with divorcing or separating families, even though we work with families involved in legal proceedings regularly. These workshops are meant to inform clinical work when we are providing therapy services to families or individuals who are involved in family law matters such as divorce, separation, and custody disputes.

I, Erin Guyette, am a mental health professional myself and pursuing my doctorate at the University of Minnesota. My research involves improving services for families involved in family law matters. As I see a big need for mental health professionals to work with these families and feel comfortable in doing so. Education, consultation, and ongoing conversations promote quality work for mental health professionals in this area and collaboration with other professionals for coordinating care/services.

These two-hour workshops have one hour of information followed by one hour for applying the information as a group through discussion and questions. The workshops can be held virtually or in person.

Family Law 101: Legal Processes and Professionals to Know to Inform Therapy with Divorcing or Separating Families

This workshop brings in basic information about family law to inform clinical work with individuals and families involved in family law matters. We will cover family law professional roles, family law processes, court-ordered therapy, what judges consider in decision-making about children, and specific interventions for high-conflict families. The purpose is to inform you of what your client could be experiencing and approaches specifically to working with.

Working with high-conflict families as a therapist: Using research and practice strategies to work with families in conflict due to divorce.

We all have had clients that are either the children of high-conflict parents or parents involved in high-conflict custody disputes. It is important to think about what makes this work different. What do we need to consider when working with these families? What are factors that make it more likely for us to be contacted by an attorney or the court? What is the court looking for from us? These are all questions to be answered in this workshop.

Self-differentiation and boundaries: Two key components to working with divorcing families.

Bowen Family Systems Theory has key components that are valuable to bring to the therapy services provided to divorcing and separating families. In this workshop, we will specifically look at self-differentiation and boundaries and work with parents and children on both of these concepts. In addition, we will discuss boundary ambiguity in divorcing families and promoting healthy boundaries as the family system changes. As family law cases involve a family system, a family system lens on the therapeutic work with these families should be strongly considered.