When parents separate or divorce, harsh feelings are sometimes part of the process. Sadly, those negative emotions can impact their children. While it has sometimes been referred to as parental alienation, it is common now to refer to this phenomenon as the resist/refuse dynamic. What factors should be taken into account in deciding whether the situation merits reunification therapy? How should the premise of the need to use evidence based therapeutic models be satisfied? Should cultural issues be taken into account?

Children referred for reunification therapy can be described as feeling divided, torn between their parents, with polarized feelings about parents such that the children may refuse to see, visit, talk with or enjoy a real relationship with a rejected parent. Attendant emotions may include profound stress, anxiety and anger. Often, neither the rejected parent nor their children know how to cope with such feelings without purposeful mental health intervention.

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