a M. Sullivan: Prem aquí per a la versió en
with M. Sullivan: "In cases of high conflict coparents
being more part of the problems than the solution".
On February 14th, the Association of Families and
Conciliation Courts (AFCC) and the Official Association of Psychology
of Catalonia will organize the Conference
"Contact Refuse dynamics
after a separation and/or new family configurations. Interventions and
best practices". Dr. Matthew Sullivan, Clinical
Family and Child Forensic Psychologist is going to lead the conference.
He's parenting coordinator pioneer, California, and President of the
Conference "Contact Refuse dynamics after
separation and / or new family configurations. Interventions and best
practices" will take place on February 14th,
Barcelona. The event aims to identify the warning signs of high interparental
understand the complexity of these dynamics in thedifferent services
these families. As we all know, you will
be part of the
event as a
keynote speaker. What do you think is the guiding
principle in working with these famílies?
innovative interdisciplinary legal and psychological interventions are
with high conflict coparents who share parenting. Alternatives to
in adversarial legal processes and specialized whole family mental
interventions are guiding principles for family justice professionals.
is it important to intervene
in cases of rejection or resistance of a boy or girl to communicate
parent after a separation or divorce? How many cases are we talking
has been a
significant rise in family court cases where a child is resisting
a parent in the last 15 years. Though this is a relatively small
separating and divorcing parents, these cases consume disproportionate
of the family courts and often have damaging developmental outcomes for
children. More serious cases tend not to resolve without effective
types of conflicts are often chronic and considered "intractable".
When can we consider we are in front of an intractable conflict?
high conflict shared custody cases move to more functional parallel
within a year or two after separation. Those that don’t and
typically have a combination of problems in 4 areas –
vulnerabilities in one or both parents, coparenting deficits
restrictive gatekeeping), negative narratives and scripts (trauma,
betrayal) and vulnerabilities in the child(ren).
are the characteristics of the members of these families? Which
parental shortcomings contribute to such conflicts? How can
the favorite parent stop passive or overprotective attitude and be part
Individual psychological vulnerabilities, stemming from past
personality pathology and child vulnerabilities are prevalent in
a child develops resistance and refusal to have contact with a parent.
issues both create unhealthy parent-child relationships (alignments,
and estrangement) and make these families less flexible and able to
mental health interventions when they are offered. Often a combination
orders that mandate safe contact with between the parent and resistant
and family system therapeutic interventions are necessary to
effective. More coercive court action, including custody reversal may
necessary to protect children from the emotional abuse of severely
behaviors on the part of favored parents.
professional mistakes contribute to worsen these conflicts?
Legal professionals who advocate blindly for their clients or engage
adversarially and procedurally with with the other parent’s
and escalate coparenting conflict. Mental health professionals who lack
specialization in resistance and refusal dynamics and in working in the
involved context can also do harm to children and families who present
these complex issues. When multiple professionals are involved in
to coordinate and collaborate work negatively impacts effectiveness.
models of reunification interventions are most effective? What are the
common emotional consequences of a boy or girl's when the re-bonding
system-based interventions are critical to effective interventions.
Parent-child contact problems are multi-factorial and require an
includes all family members in its resolution. Preventative
for parents can be effective and the earlier legal and mental health
interventions occur, the more amenable these cases are to managing and
addressing the factors that contribute to resistance and refusal.
lose the positive involvement of a parent and their side of the family
valuable contribution to their upbringing. Some studies have found that
children in these situations show a variety of problematic
coordination professionals intervening in high conflict co-parenting
assist with re-bonding parent-child relationships. What are the limits
of this intervention
or differences between the parenting coordinator intervention and the
therapeutic intervention with the same goal? When is indicated a
intervention in addition to the parenting coordination?
coordination is the most intensive coparenting intervention and ideally
to help families where a child is resisting contact with a parent. The
parenting coordinator involvement can both managage and minimize
conflict, that drive a child’s alignment with a parent and
the case management
function links therapeutic interventions to the Court, increasing
accountability and compliance. Finally, the Parenting Coordinator can
coordinate the work of multiple professionals on cases and address
inappropriate for therapists, such as whether increases in parenting
a child and parent should occur, based on progress with interventions.
were a member of the Deontological Commission of the American
Association. What are the most common complaints in these cases? Or
your advice for professionals working with these families.
most common complaints that we addressed on the APA commission are
brought against psychologists engaged in court assessments, parenting
and working therapeutically with in court-involved cases. Being court appointed,
procedures to guard against engaging in multiple roles and having
consultation with fellow professionals are helpful in managing
risk in this work.
would be the elements or factors needed for professionals and
be part of the solution and not part of the problem?
who work with high conflict coparents are vulnerable to engaging in
professional conduct that mirrors and reinforces the family’s
dynamics. A collaborative, highly specialized approach in professional
activities, whether working on cases, or engaged in scholarly
essential. Polarization and incivility between highly gendered
groups that are involved in issues such as domestic violence, shared
and parental alienation create a challenging context for our work with
families. Interdisciplinary approaches so crucial to effective
challenge professionals to reach out to professionals with different
and roles to bridge differences that can result in the family justice
being more part of the problems than the solution.