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PC Nuts and Bolts - II Columbus AFCC September 28, 2007 Matthew J. Sullivan, Ph.D.

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Presentation on theme: "PC Nuts and Bolts - II Columbus AFCC September 28, 2007 Matthew J. Sullivan, Ph.D."— Presentation transcript:

1 PC Nuts and Bolts - II Columbus AFCC September 28, 2007 Matthew J. Sullivan, Ph.D.

2 Coparenting and the PC Process

3 Structural Transition from Nuclear to Binuclear zAdequate functioning in each subsystem zAdequate functioning between subsystems zAn appropriate Parenting Plan xDefines timeshare, coparenting structure, etc.

4 Coparenting after divorce zCollaborative - accurate perceptions, child-focused,supportive of parenting, ability to communicate, give and take zConflicted - distortion, projections, anger, in the name of the child, poor communication, breakdown in parental hierarchy, executive functioning xSchism/Skew

5 Coparenting types Level of LOW Engagement HIGH Parallel 40% Cooperative 25% Conflict HIGH Mixed 20% Conflicted 15% Level LOW of

6 Parallel Parenting zKelly, J.B. (March, 2007 Family Process) zCooperative coparenting promotes resiliency in children because of the parents ability to resolve differences on their own or with mediators or therapists as they arise. It has been reported that children whose parents engage in conflict-free parallel parenting also appear to thrive, as long as they have adequate parenting in both homes and well articulated parenting agreements and orders specifying contact and when joint decision-making is required will occur zThe PC as interface zHandout parallel parenting plans

7 The tragic legacy of the Litigation Context zLitigants dont make good coparents xRepresentation - advocacy xDistrust xSabotage xWin/lose xChaos xUnilateral action xIn the name of the child xFocus on the problem being the other parent -advesaries xDepleted resources - financial,emotional


9 Coparent training in the PC Process zClear demarcation of new ADR process yLet go of the legal/adversarial process yThe rules are changing yYou dont have to work with the other parent, just with the PC and the rules yDisengagement with the coparent, moving towards functional engagement xManageability, protection


11 Object Relations in the PC Process zCountertransference in the PC xPunitive, Withdraw, overwhelmed (caught like the child) zExpectation and tolerance of bad behavior

12 Management of O-R dynamics zBuilding an overarching reality from the polarized partial/distorted perspectives (Johnston). This is the Holding Environment xRecognition and management of vulnerabilities xSorting perspectives xParents will enact these dynamics with you xClear relationship rules are critical

13 Boundaries zTwo ways to get into trouble with boundaries: zFaulty Rules zFailure to maintain Boundaries

14 zFaulty Rules yExplicit, detailed policies and procedures as a tool for setting appropriate boundaries. The rules of the relationship. Slippage do to your stuff and/or the clients stuff becomes evident when you rules are violated

15 zFailure to Maintain boundaries yChallenges come in two ways xPulls - idealization, need, money, celebrity More seductive, gratifying xPushes - devaluation, Demand, threat, criticism, questioning Hard to stand up to

16 zLimit setting, training the clients yWhat behavioral theory tells us xClearly defined expectations of behavior xConsistent response xTimely response xCompassionate firmness xDepersonalize xConsequence fits the violation

17 Disengagement: Structuring Coparenting in H-C situations zThe PC is the interface between the parents - yTitrating the communication/contact so that it is functional and manageable Face to face meetings - structure Telephone conference calls - timely, can control receipt, response, documented Fax, letter No contact, except through PC



20 Disengagement using PP zCrafting the Parenting Plan yHandout Parenting Plan Musts yHandout Sample Parenting Plan Provisions zImplementing the Parenting Plan yThe devil is in the details, conflict breeds in the grey areas yTraining in using our constitution

21 Nuts and Bolts of the PC process

22 Never Commence work until you have zA signed court order = Authority zFees/retainer = money zSigned PC agreement = Protection

23 The stipulation and order appointing SM/PC zThe stip which defines the parameters of your role must reflect the procedural necessities of the role. xAccess to information (therapists, documents) zContract formation can be a strategic dance, push back. zRelationship rules formed early zBrief review of the Stipulation and Order appointing SM/PC

24 A signed Court Order zThis is your constitution zIs it detailed, are you being set-up xdont allow big issues to be deferred to the SM (e.g. timeshare issues, school, etc.)

25 Fees and Retainer zThe O-R dynamics/boundary issues will be played out in the money relationship zClear structure - set the boundaries, maintain them zDont get into a position where the fees are exhausted xParticularly by one parent

26 Documentation zYour file - what goes in it/organization zLetters This letter documents the agreements/decisions that have come from our meeting of 12/12/06. Please review this documentation for accuracy and inform me immediately, if you have questions or concerns. In the absence of modification, based on your feedback, you have agreed to follow the directives contained in this letter unless modified in the Parent Coordination process or by further order of the court.

27 Documentation (cont) zDecisions/awards/Orders yHandout Documentation zWho do you send letters to? zCommunication procedures

28 Ongoing Work zWorking on the Parenting Plan zThis is a collaborative, highly structured process, using this to assess and build the structure of functional coparenting, psychoeducate (child-focus, give and take, businesslike, up front sanctions, planning) zHandout Sample order for Parenting Plans

29 Ongoing Work zDeveloping the schedule yWhere is Johnny every hour of every day yCalendar, working through yAgain, reinforcing coparenting - planning (September/March meetings), organization(bringing the info you need), documentation, give and take (building trust) yGradual turning over - symbolic presence xDo it, set up protocol, narrow issues for PC

30 Resolving Issues zTypes of Issues yViolation of Court Orders Avoid adjudication, anticipate issues, depersonalize Behavioral theory at work Sanctions yIssues that come up Reasonable, fair, child-focused, does it fall into a larger set of issues (special events - can we create a protocol

31 zTypes of Issues (Continued) yParenting Issues Boundaries are important, developing tolerance, psychoeducational approach, educating eachother, but not controlling (disengage) - diet, routines, homework, clothes yLarger Issues Push beyond the boundaries of the order? Evaluation and judge? Changing timeshare significantly, move away, school Document, document, document Supervise and evaluation process

32 The Dispute Resolution Process zSettlement processes yNot mediation yTension between turning to eachother and turning to you yBargaining in the shadow of the law (Mnookin), negotiation, holding the tension, tipping the balance (weighing in), aligning with the good parent/coparent and the needs of the child, reinforcing desire to align with you

33 Case Management zThe Coordination Role xSpecific Goals: Supervised visitation, substance abuse, domestic violence, special issues (health, education), alienation/estrangement xTreatment plans: initiation, support and monitoring and coordination xProfessionals and non-professionals who are involved with the family: caught in the middle of conflict (alignment, withdrawal)

34 The Collaborative Team zThe evaluator zAttorneys zMental health professionals Child therapists, parent therapists zOther professionals Physicians, nannies, teachers, coaches, tutors zExtended family/significant others


36 Collaborative Teams zPC is organizer/leader yParameters in place to protect team Confidentiality, releases, control of information yGoals and specific plans, coordinating, monitoring, modifying yCollaborative system around family Professional loyalty/client loyalty yTeams involvement in coparenting issues xProtecting the therapeutic relationship

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