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Policy of Working with Separated or Divorced Parents
active policy from 01/01/2024 and on

When a therapist is working with a child with separated or divorced parents, the therapy process can face many challenges. As a result, all of our therapists adhere to this policy to guide the therapy process to ensure that the best interests of the child are addressed in the therapy process.

Our Beliefs

The best treatment for children is for the child to be viewed within the context of their family and to involve all active and engaged caregivers to create the most significant change.

Even though the parents hav
e decided that separating or divorce is the right choice for them, the child may not share this view. All children will benefit from an ongoing relationship with both parents, unless serious parental deficits and/or abuse and/or neglect are occurring which could significantly impact the health (physical and mental) and safety of the child.

A child in therapy will experience the best outcomes if he or she believes that the therapist can be trusted to explore thoughts, feelings and opinions. If the expectation is that the therapist reveal the content of the session to the parent(s), the child can and will shut down and will gain no benefit from the therapy process.

One of the goals of the therapist is to help the child to cope with the challenges that their parents’ separation or divorce has caused them and to develop skills to overcome those challenges. It is also the goal of the therapist to support the parents and family in any way that is appropriate to help the child to achieve these skills. It is not the goal of the therapist to pick sides or identify one parent as the right or best parent. It is also not the goal of the therapist to lecture one parent into complying with the demands of the other parent. This approach is counterproductive and not helpful to the child.

The involvement of court hearings and proceedings is counterproductive to the goals of the therapeutic relationship, and the therapist hopes that parents involved in their child’s therapy will take a step back from court proceedings regarding custody and recommendations for the child until the therapy experience has been completed. This does not include court proceedings related to child abuse and/or neglect. 

The therapist will require a copy of court documentation indicating custody arrangements, allowances, or restrictions for contact between parent and minor child, court orders for therapy, or any other legal documentation related to the medical care of the child before any therapy will take place or continue.

The therapist will try to include both parents in the therapy process except for in cases when it is expected that doing so would cause serious detriment to the child.


Parents should understand that ALL verbal and written communication (face-to-face, phone call, email, written communication, or any other documentation provided to the therapist) is allowed to be shared with the other parent and with the child if the therapist deems it necessary. Any written communication will become part of the child’s clinical file as record of communication.

It is unethical for the therapist to keep secrets regarding threats of bringing the other parent back to court, allegations of the other parent being the “cause” of the child’s problems, threa
ts to sabotage the parent’s relationship with the child, etc. Aside from suspected abuse and neglect, the therapist cannot and will not keep these secrets in order to create the most healthy and productive working relationship.

The law indicates that parents have the right to access records of their child’s treatment, however, parents should understand the difference between mental health records and medical records and the sensitive information contained within them. Mental health professionals have the right to refuse release of these records to parents or any other entity if they believe that doing so would cause harm to the child. In cases of separation and/or divorce, this is almost always the case as information shared within these records can never be un-read by the parents and can and will impact the parent-child relationship going forward. Therefore, the therapist will not release the mental health record of the child to the parent when it is not in the child’s best interests to do so, unless required by law. The therapist urges the parents to respect this policy as it is in place to protect the wellbeing of the child as well as the quality of the parent-child relationship.

The therapist welcomes the involvement of extended family and/or step-family as necessary and appropriate for the course of treatment. If a biological parent chooses to exclude a step-parent from the treatment plan, that is the choice of the biological parents and that choice will be honored, unless this choice could endanger the child or the therapeutic relationship.


The therapist will not be responsible for routine communication outside of the session with any parent who chooses not to attend the appointments. For example, the therapist cannot and will not contact the non-attending parent via phone or email after each session. It is simply not realistic to expect that the therapist will provide a summary letter, email or phone call to parents who choose not to come to sessions. If this is something that is required of your situation, then payment arrangements must be made in advance to account for this time. You will both receive emails in regards to scheduling and the goals, homework, and resources emails. Any email that is sent to both of you will be blind copied in order to keep confidentiality. The expectation is that parents will communicate with each other regarding the child’s treatment and recommendations. In most cases, for the therapist to arrange for additional communication outside of the session would only be encouraging an unhealthy coparenting relationship.

The therapist will not accept phone calls, voicemails, emails or other communications directed at pitting the therapist against the other parent. If/when these communications are received, the other parent will be notified.

It is the therapist’s duty to understand the history of the child and their family and what has contributed to the reason for therapy. This should not be misconstrued to mean that the therapist should be required to read or listen to any information that the parent(s) deem appropriate to share. The therapist reserves the right to dictate what information is appropriate and inappropriate for the therapeutic relationship and to refuse to accept information that isn’t appropriate for the therapeutic relationship. Unless required by law, the therapist also reserves the right to ignore and/or not respond to any communication that is not appropriate for the therapeutic relationship.

The parent who initially sets up therapy for the child is considered the guarantor. This means that this parent is considered financially responsible for covering the cost of services and communicating cost and reimbursement with the other parent.

It is the responsibility of the parents to provide the appropriate payments to the therapist, not the responsibility of the therapist to provide billing according to court ordered co-parenting financial agreements. It is not feasible to expect the therapist to send separate, divided bills to each parent according to their agreed-upon percentage rates.

When requested, the therapist will provide receipt of payment to the parent(s) for their payments. It is the parents’ responsibility to work together to share receipts, not the therapist’s responsibility to update parents on what the other has and has not paid.


The therapist expects parents to communicate regarding scheduled appointments. The therapist will not be responsible for scheduling sessions according to non-custodial parent’s visit schedule. It is not feasible to expect the therapist to remember the visit schedule and any changes to that schedule for each and every one of the children on her caseload. The therapist expects that the parent scheduling the session will show respect to the needs of the child to spend time with both parents and will refrain from specifically scheduling appointments as a way to take time away from the other parent.

Legal Proceedings

In some cases, one or both parents may decide to take legal action regarding custody of the child. Therapy and legal testimony are very different services and the therapist’s goal first and foremost is to create a supportive, safe relationship with the child for the purpose of achieving therapy goals. The therapist cannot and will not provide a recommendation regarding custody of the child when acting as the therapist for the child and family. The therapist will communicate with legal professionals as required by law, but all professionals and parents should know that the therapist’s responsibility is for confidentiality and protection of the therapeutic relationship, not to assist one parent in “winning” their case.

The therapist cannot speak to one parent’s attorney without the consent of the other parent. In most cases, this is not a productive idea and the therapist recommends that there not be any communication between the therapist and attorney(s). When required by law, the therapist will communicate with legal professionals.

The above policy is valid for all Kula Wellness Group minor offerings from 01/01/2024 and on.

Parents/guardians of minor clients must agree to the above policies prior to initiating treatment with the minor client. If any of the rules listed in this document are broken, you may be asked to discontinue treatment.

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