A parent can lose contact with their child for any number of reasons. Therapeutic
reintegration is an effective way of gradually and safely reintroducing
or sometimes introducing the parent/child relationship with the goal of
establishing a healthy and loving relationship between parent and child.
Reintegration therapy is a unique form of family therapy as it requires the primary parent to relinquish some of his/ her personal feelings, let go of the past, and allow for the child to develop another relationship with another parent. This requires enormous trusting on the part of this primary parent, the need to be forgiving and open minded, and to be able to celebrate this connection through small victories with the new parent for the sake of their child.
The alienated parent must learn patience, so that they can learn to celebrate these small victories as well. Alienated parents enter the life of a child who has grown, who has changed, and who is unsure of a relationship with this long missing parent. Alienated parents need to learn to parent the child they have now, not the child that they remember.
Children fear trusting; they fear that the long missing parent will leave again. Children sometimes feel forced into reconciling, or they may feel the ambivalence between wanting the love of two parents and resenting having to try to build a relationship on their parent’s terms. There may also
be a sense of divided loyalties; believing in a need to care take the emotions of the primary parent who is having a difficult time letting go and wanting to allow the other parent back into the family.
Reunification therapy can be a powerful tool in healing the wounds of the past and forming new, healthy relationships for the future. Parents can refer themselves and their children for therapy. Attorneys may request reintegration therapy for their clients during divorce proceedings. Many times the Court will make a recommendation for reintegration therapy during and after divorce proceedings well. However, it is important to remember that the goal remains the same regardless of the referral: to create the healthiest relationship possible between the child and the alienated parent.