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The humane approach to assisting separated families.

Separation is a time of chaos for the families that approach us for professional assistance. They seek understanding, information and a clear pathway through this chaos to a place of greater certainty and peace.   At this point, a family may need time, therapy and emotional support in order to be able to grapple with…

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Dealing with Vicarious Trauma

The experts agree that it is normal to be affected by our work. Where this requires us to engage empathetically on a repeated basis with those who are traumatised, then we must be mindful of our exposure to vicarious trauma. Empathy triggers our mirror neurone network so that we mimic those we are working with.…

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The obligations of professionals to promote the common good

The notion of a “Social Contract” is one that has evolved through time in the work of various philosophers-John Stuart Mill, Hobbs, Locke, Rousseau and more recently the work of Rawls. At the recent AFCC Conference, Professor Robinson used this notion to present some fascinating ideas about where we as professionals fit into this “social…

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The Danger of the Single Story

Everyone has their own unique narrative. Their upbringing, their beliefs, their life experience, all combine to determine how they look at the world and what their narrative looks like. Intact families can work collaboratively even though each member has a very different narrative, because they are working towards the same goal-the wellbeing of their family.…

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The importance of family identity.

Small toys signifying a community

In my own extended family I have a brother who is adopted, a cousin who is the result of a donor egg, and a nephew who was born as a result of IVF and a donor embryo. The notion of what constitutes a family has changed radically over the last decades and it is becoming…

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Giving children a voice

I do  not think the value of listening to children and giving them a voice could be put any more powerfully then this poem that was recently brought to my attention. LISTEN When I ask you to listen to me, and you start giving advice, you have not done what I asked. When I ask…

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Children’s Bill of Rights after Separation

The right to love and be loved by both parents without feeling disapproval or guilt. The right to be protected from either parent’s anger with the other parent. The right to be kept out of the middle of parental battles. The right not to pick sides. The right to avoid any complaints about the other…

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Intake- The Jewell In The Crown

Intake is a place of discovery, magic and imagination. When it is done well it is a dazzling jewel that lights up the way towards a bright and hopeful future.   The Intake Session is an opportunity to set up the Settlement Conference that follows for maximum success. By connecting well, Family Dispute Resolution (FDR)…

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10 Tips to encourage a child’s voice to be heard

Parents are often consumed with their own needs following separation, and the children’s needs can easily be overlooked. Encouraging them to put themselves in the shoes of their children can give them important insight and create a more holistic approach to the needs of the family. 1. How do your children feel about your separation?…

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Highlights from Day 2 of the National Mediation Conference

Strategies for legally assisted culturally appropriate FDR More complex families experiencing trauma are accessing FDR. This presents significant challenges for the FDRP that require us to move in new directions and work in different ways. There are significant barriers for these families including: Lack of trust Fear eg of the children being removed Lack of…

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