At any time during or after the divorce process a child can become estranged or alienated from one parent and may refuse to have contact with that parent. There are many reasons why this might happen but the typical end result is that of a child resists contact with one parent while preferring the other parent.
Work with these families is complex and requires specialized training and experience. To that effect, Dr. Hohnecker is a member of the Association of Family and Conciliation Courts and attends their annual meetings so that she can keep abreast of the current research and clinical practice in the field.
Optimally, treatment involves a team approach with a guardian ad litem, parenting coordinator, attorneys, and other therapists (if needed) to help the child reconnect with the parent. Both parents need to be involved for the process to work at its highest level.
Although difficult and, at times, stressful, the benefit of reconciliation with an adequate parent is crucial in the development of the child and his or her ability to form healthy relationships in their own future. Research has long indicated that children do better with the influence, guidance and love of both parents.