Why is Reunification Therapy necessary? And When?

Helping a child build back a closer relationship with an alienated or estranged parent is critical to their future emotional and social development. A child may be resistant to therapy because they lack the ability to understand the future ramifications of losing a relationship with a parent. It is important for parents to know that research on children of divorce has consistently concluded that alienated and estranged children are at higher risk for future behavioral and emotional difficulties (Bala and Fidler, 2010; Baker and Brassard 2013). Numerous Clinical studies have shown that alienated children often exhibit the following kinds of behaviors:

  • Anxiety Disorders
  • Psychosomatic issues
  • Low self-esteem and self-hatred
  • Depression and suicidality
  • Poor differentiation of self (enmeshment with a parent);
  • Passive or dependent personality characteristics
  • Aggressive behavior and conduct disorders
  • Poor impulse control and reality testing
  • Pseudo maturity in which the child takes on adult roles
  • Disregard for social norms and authority
  • Social phobias and distorted interpersonal perceptions with peers
  • Gender identity problems
  • Simplicity and rigid information processing
  • Lack of remorse or guilt

When Is the right time to start Reunification therapy?

It is best to seek out reunification therapy when you have started to notice a significant, negative shift in your connection with your child. Often the child requests spending less time with a parent, or even refuses visitation altogether. Early intervention is best and has the highest probability of success, but is not always possible due to many circumstances. Reunification therapy can be utilized in the early stages of this family crisis, but also after a parent has experienced a long period of separation from a child. In some instances a child may have never seen their parent, or understand that they are their parent.

Warning signs that you might need reunification therapy

  • Your child has begun to refuse spending time with you, or is unwilling to go on visits
  • Your child show no interest in communicating with you when with the other parent
  • Your child sees you as unloving, dangerous, selfish, or bad influence in their lives
  • Your child has week or insignificant reasons for denigrating or rejecting you
  • Your child describes a long list of deficits about you, and minimizing any positive attributes or contributions you have made to his/her life
  • Your child exhibits disrespectful, rude behaviors when with you, or when asked to go with you on visits, and displays no remorse or guilt about treating you in this manner
  • You child uncritically and dogmatically aligns with the favored parent, and exhibits characteristic of extreme enmeshment with that parent
  • Your child uses language, concepts, and terminology not in alignment with their cognitive development, and expresses options well beyond their actual age
  • You child rejects seeing your previously loved family and relatives

Contact Lisa

Office Location

Office Address
4131 Spicewood Springs Road
Suite D-3
Austin, TX 78759


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(512) 643-2851

Mailing Address

Lisa Rothfus
4131 Spicewood Springs Road
Suite D-3
Austin, TX 78759