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Co-parenting counseling is for families who are in the process of separating and are concerned about providing stability and consistency for their children. My focus in co-parenting work is to help parents plan the separation of their families from the beginning to the end – developing a plan for telling the children, working out the custody and visitation, and helping the children adapt to two households. But before any decisions are made about the children, it’s important for the parents to learn how to relate to each other in a positive, cooperative way. Some of the problems divorcing parents often encounter are:
- Staying stuck in the negativity of the old relationship patterns. Sometimes people feel angry or upset about cooperating with the other parent, believing that it indicates they agree with him/her or are letting the “ex” control them.
- Feeling angry, discouraged, or helpless knowing that they have to stay connected to the other parent. If kids weren’t in the picture, they could have space away from each other; but when kids are involved, they have to interact with each other whether they want to or not.
- Feeling that the other parent is incompetent, or disagreeing with his/her parenting style. This gets even more complicated if the other parent moves in with a new partner. Then, one may have to deal with this other person’s influence on the children as well.
Co-parenting Therapy can help to create the emotional distance needed to heal while still being able to parent cooperatively.
Susan Regan, MFT has offices in Berkeley near El Cerrito and Oakland and in San Francisco, close to the Civic Center and Nob Hill. 415-563-4342 or 510-883-9312.
*Quotes are typical of what clients say, though to protect confidentiality, I have not used names or exact words.