Court Ordered Therapy

Reunification Therapy (RT)

Often court-ordered, RT is a form of family therapy when a parent-child relationship has ended in the child refusing to see or spend any time with one of the parents, usually the non-custodial parent.

This happens when one parent is favored over the other. A parent may be rejected by a child due to having upset the child by saying or doing something that the child didn’t like, or it could be because a child may have a pathological attachment to an abusive parent, or a desire to avoid enmeshment with a needy parent who is emotionally dependent. Another possibility is a delusional belief about one parent shared with the custodial parent (powerful and thought disordered parent, parental alienation).

RT is not the usual family therapy where family members are having issues such as communications. RT is about a child being abused by a parent who has weaponized the child in order to hurt the other parent.

RT process begins with separate individual sessions with the child and the non-custodial parent. The therapist will prepare a treatment plan, usually after 4-5 sessions with the child.

Please note this is a long process because the child usually has rejected the parent and feels obligated to undergo reunification because of the court order.

Is Reunification Beneficial?

Research shows that growing up with interrupted contact with one parent, can have long-term consequences in a child's life. It is for this reason that courts order Reunification Therapy.


Please note that Reunification is not usually covered by your insurance company since it is not a "medical necessity." Please check with your insurance company for the extent of coverage if any.

Reunification Plan

There's no one formula that works for every family, however, there are some steps that are common to all Reunification plans.

  • First, there will be an individual session with each party, parents (custodial and non-custodial) individually, followed by an individual session with the minor(s).
  • During the first individual session, an assessment of the level of alienation is made. Based on that assessment further individual or conjoint sessions are planned.
  • If there's any sign of resistance by any of the parties, individual sessions will continue until such time that the parent-child are ready to meet and be in the same room.
  • Depending on the growth levels, the meetings can continue outside the therapy room.

As mentioned earlier, no two plans are the same but the above steps are usual and common to most forms of Reunification therapy.