Working with Children of Separated Parents

Many children who come to see us have parents who live separately.

In general, we want to work and communicate with all the key people in a child's life wherever possible.   Most of the time this leads to greater benefits and change for a child.

Therefore we have a policy which states that unless a court order specifically states otherwise, we will not withhold information about a child's appointments or treatment (except confidential information irrelevant to a child's treatment) from either parent if the treating clinician believes it is in the best interests of the child for the parent/s to be provided with this information.

Please note that this is a recent policy change.  Previously, we required consent from the presenting parent to speak with the "non-presenting" parent.  We have changed our policy following a change in how laws and ethical guidelines have been interpreted in Australia and as guided by the Australian Psychological Society.

Although we don't withhold information, it should also be noted however that given time constraints, we cannot generally give feedback about the work we are doing with children to non attending parent/caregivers at every appointment.

We need therefore to rely on the attending parent/caregivers to give feedback or information to the non-attending parent/caregiver.

We understand that unfortunately this is not always easy,  particularly if there are communication difficulties between parents.  

In this case, then we suggest that the non-attending parent either make a time to bring the child to an appointment themselves, or make a separate appointment for themselves on their own, without the child.

This appointment enables us to spend time explaining the work we are doing with the child to the non-attending parent, and to discuss their thoughts.

Please note that some families are funded under schemes which allow for parent only sessions (ie NDIA funding, ATAPS funding) whereas other funding models (ie Medicare) do not allow for parent only sessions, in which case there is a fee for these parent-only sessions.

If you have any questions about these guidelines, please feel free to give the office a call on 8357 1711.