THERAPY GOALS FOR CoD
Increase the child's understanding of the divorce and parental separation and help her process her feelings related to these changes.
Develop coping skills for managing difficult emotions such as sadness, anger, anxiety, and confusion.
Improve communication skills by teaching her how to express her emotions in a healthy and appropriate way, both verbally and non-verbally.
Encourage self-esteem, positive self-talk, and mindfulness activities to promote healthy emotional regulation, which will provide the child with tools to feel in control of their thoughts and feelings.
Help the child with establishing healthy boundaries associated with their individual feelings while recognizing the importance to respect others' perceptions.
Foster trust and better communication between the child and parents, making them feel safe to discuss their concerns, needs, and feelings.
Encourage healthy interactions with both parents instead of just one or none. Also promote a healthy relationship-building between the new partnerships present in each separated parent's life.
Assist in maintaining healthy routines and activities within the child's life to manage stress levels.
Encourage play interventions to teach problem-solving strategies, positive social interactions, relaxation techniques that the child can use during times of stress outside of therapy.
Support emotionally stable transitions throughout visits if co-parenting is involved with both parents in a loving and motivating way.
TOP CONCERNS KIDS HAVE DURING PARENTAL SEPARATION AND DIVORCE
• Anxiety that parents will “disappear”
• Feelings of INVISIBILITY
• Worries about the future
• Worries about money
• Anxiety about divided loyalties
• Concerns about parent’s well-being
• FEAR of losing parental love
• Hopes for reconciliation
• Shielding parents from troubled feelings
CREATE TO THRIVE DURING FAMILY DIVIDE is an innovative art therapy program designed specifically for children experiencing the challenges of parental separation and divorce. This program is built upon extensive research and aims to improve outcomes for children by addressing their key concerns, promoting resilience, and creating a safe space for emotional exploration and healing.
Understanding the Concerns of Children:
During parental separation and divorce, children often grapple with a range of concerns that can significantly impact their well-being. Some of these concerns include anxiety about parents "disappearing," feeling invisible, worries about the future, financial concerns, divided loyalties, and fears of losing parental love. Additionally, children may experience hopes for reconciliation and may often try to shield their parents from their own troubled feelings.
The Program Framework:
Create to Thrive draws upon current therapeutic interventions, resiliency-building approaches, effective art therapy techniques, group therapy strategies, and school-based interventions to address the unique needs of children navigating parental separation and divorce. The program incorporates key components that have shown promise in improving outcomes for children:
1. Instilling Hope: The program fosters a sense of optimism by empowering children with coping skills and reinforcing positive goals and achievements.
2. Correcting Misinformation: Children are provided with accurate information about the divorce process, helping them dispel misdirected blame and gaining a better understanding of the changes happening around them.
3. Disengaging from Conflict: Create to Thrive encourages children to focus on their own emotional well-being and practicing healthy boundary-setting when it comes to parental conflict.
4. Managing Loss and Depression: Through art therapy activities, children explore their emotions surrounding loss while receiving support in managing depression and sadness associated with the changes in their family dynamics.
5. Understanding Origins of Anger: The program helps children identify and channel their anger in constructive ways while exploring the underlying causes and triggers.
6. Establishing a Safe Space: Create to Thrive provides children with a non-judgmental and inclusive environment where they can freely express their feelings, fears, and hopes through art-making.
Art Therapy Techniques and Treatment Focus:
The program introduces different art directives and treatment focuses inspired by Jungian archetypes, Wallerstein's six tasks, promoting resiliency, humanistic art therapy, and the use of superhero metaphors. These engaging art activities allow children to explore their emotions, develop self-expression skills, and build resilience in a supportive group setting.
Open Access and Continued Learning:
I am proud to have published my thesis as open-source, allowing mental health professionals, peers, parents, teachers, and caregivers to access the full text version. This ensures that valuable information and insights gained throughout my research are readily available to support the well-being of children experiencing parental separation and divorce.