A common population that many counsellors will inevitably work with is individuals coming from a divorced family household. It is projected that about 40% of newly wed couples will end in divorce by their 30th anniversary (Employment and Social Development Canada, 2016). Counsellors may work with the children, the mother or father, the couple, or the entire household of these divorced families. Each of these client scenarios brings about their own individual challenges.
For instance, when counsellors are working with only one of the partners, then it is imperative to remain neutral and continue therapy in this manner. Therefore, regardless of the client-therapist relationship and the number of sessions held, counsellors need to be mindful of their own actions and the potential for countertransference in the therapeutic process; counsellors are not to take sides when working with divorced couples. Other times counsellors may be working with the children alone and access to one or both of the parents may be difficult, which can undermine treatment. I believe it is necessary to include any active guardians in the therapeutic treatment of these minors. Sometimes this may also call for the therapist to make out-of-the-office telephone calls to the other parent/guardian and fill him/her on the progress of therapy or what he/she can do to assist their child more readily.
Counsellors will encounter working with clients from divorced backgrounds. Sometimes these clients may pose some interesting challenges for the counsellor including remaining impartial, setting boundaries, being aware of oneself, and attempting to work with the entire family unit, especially when dealing with minors.
*The views expressed by our authors are personal opinions and do not necessarily reflect the views of the CCPA