What is a Child Specialist and how do they function?

A Child Specialist is a licensed mental health professional with experience in child development, family systems and divorce counseling. Child Specialists trained in the collaborative multi-disciplinary approach can be helpful to a family going through a separation or divorce.

Parents are generally in agreement that the child or children will remain the largest priority. Sometimes a conflict arises even when children are a priority. A Child Specialist can bring a valuable perspective on the family dynamics and can help with information and resources about particular child related issues so that options related to the children can be developed. The Child Specialist serves as a neutral professional on the team who will allow the voice and concerns of the child to be heard while staying out of the middle.

A Child Specialist can be a valuable tool when the parents are undecided about a potential scheduling plan or an important decision which will have a large impact on the child or children’s lives. The Child Specialist can also be helpful in educating the children about divorce. It is recommended that the Child Specialist be brought in at the beginning of the process, however, a Child Specialist can be brought in at any time.

The Child Specialist will work in conjunction with the attorney as part of a team to ensure the best possible result for the entire family.

A Child Specialist on a Treasure Hunt

And the treasure to be spoken of is the valuable information that the specialist has been trained to receive. Because he/she is a neutral consultant for all persons involved, this is the only member of the process who speaks with each individual involved. This becomes an essential tool as they can recognize and realize each party's’ values and goals, and act accordingly.

A second component of the information being gathered is recognizing any psychological impact that the separation or divorce will have on the child, and recommending a course of action not just for the family, but for the child in a psychological setting. Often, the children can be deeply emotionally impacted by this separation, and while the specialist is not a therapist or a formal psychologist for these children, they can provide valuable insight into healthy ways to move forward.

The Relationship May End, But The Parenting Continues

Even when children are the priority, parents’ feelings and interests must be taken into account as well. The Child Specialist seeks to help the parents look beyond the current divorce and recognize what obstacles and considerations should be looked at in regards to the parents’ future with the children. The specialist can help give the parents information on how to communicate with their children when speaking about the other parent in order to maintain a healthy relationship with both parents. The Specialist can also provide insight for the parents to communicate with one another about parenting issues in a constructive way. This may be the end of the relationship of the parents as a couple, but it is not the end of a family from a strictly definitional sense, so if the parents understand what can help the child retain close relationships with both parents, it can create a sense of comfort for the children.

How Can I Find A Child Specialist

There are many ways to locate a proper Child Specialist for your unique situation. Experienced Specialists are generally recommended by the lawyers and/or coaches within the collaborative or mediation process, and then after determining which qualities each individual would be looking for in a Child Specialist, the parents interview him/her and decide together on whom will be used.

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