Reintegration therapy is highly effective for bringing families back together successfully, even in extreme cases. When children are separated or alienated from their parents for any reason, reintegrating into the family can be both challenging and painful. Professional support is often needed to successfully reunite an estranged child with her family, using reintegration therapy techniques.
What Is Family Reintegration Therapy?
Reintegration therapy is a professional technique designed to help children, parents and other family members to slowly reintroduce themselves to one another and gradually become reacquainted. Children may become estranged because of custody disputes, parental problems or their own behavioral issues. During therapy, the separation and its impact on the family is addressed to help lay the foundations for a healthy relationship moving forward. The overarching goal of professional intervention is to transform the fractured group back into a family.
The Parent’s Role
Parents may not be the ones directly to blame for the estrangement or conflict with their child, but often they need to be the ones who initiate the repair. Some parents may feel they shouldn’t have to try so hard to reintegrate their child into their family. Also, it can be hard for parents to hear how their own behavior may have affected their children, but hesitation in admitting shortcomings is human nature. Older children and teens also may be difficult to reach. Parents may face ongoing rejection and anger as they attempt to reach out and repair the damaged relationship. All of this can be so burdensome that parents may feel like giving up. This is exactly why professional guidance is needed to move forward and successfully reintegrate children into the family.
The Counselor’s Role
A mental health professional can help you understand why your child feels the way she does about you. It is important to understand that a rift can occur, not because you have done anything wrong, but because of the changing nature of the parent-child relationship. The counselor will coordinate efforts to provide the appropriate support to both children and parents during the process. Often, more than one therapist may be involved with the family, so the reunification professional will help to coordinate and integrate services for everyone’s benefit. Children and teens must be open to talking to a professional about their concerns, fears and hopes. They may have strong feelings and even distorted beliefs about what happened between themselves and their parents. Professional therapy can help them overcome their objections and false perceptions.
How Long Does Reunification Therapy Take?
Every family is unique, with complex issues specific to their situation. The issues that lead to estrangement, the child’s age and resistance level all affect the length of therapy. Unfortunately, no simple formula exists for family reintegration therapy, or for reunification itself. The duration largely depends on the individual family and their needs. In many cases, it helps to place the child in a dedicated treatment environment to facilitate the reintegration process.
If your family has an estranged child who will soon return to the family, don’t wait to begin the reintegration process. Havenwood Academy offers a comprehensive reunification program that is customized to meet your family’s specific needs. Contact Havenwood today to learn more about this program, and to better understand the complex reintegration therapy process.