1. Effective court orders. Orders must include all expectations for the parties to engage within the intervention intake process, the intervention, and include a follow-up timeline for a return to court for finalizing any agreements made during the intervention or address remaining issues not agreed upon.
2. Professional team. A team is typically made up of a therapist for the child, a coach for each of the parents, and a team lead or program director. Other professionals for in-office programs may include a guardian ad litem or parenting coordinator. Staff for the intensive weekend include the recreation staff and overnight supervisors for the children. The team must be well-trained to work together and model healthy functioning for the family.
3. Preparation of the parents. For an effective intervention, the focus is on created shared messages for the parents to deliver, jointly and separately to the children. The parents work individually with the professionals so they are able to demonstrate responsibility, managed emotions, an open mind, flexible thinking, and positivity for a new future. The parents work jointly to create or restore a family dynamic where the parents make the decisions supported by both parents. Parents learn to thoughtfully engage with the children and listen to the child’s voice without giving children authority to make adult decisions. The parents learn to understand the impact of their behavior on the children and the overall dynamic.
4. Engaging activities. The family has the opportunity to have fun and problem-solve together during the intervention. In-office sessions include games as well as facilitated conversation. The intensive weekend intervention includes several hours of facilitated conversation, and up to six hours of recreational and learning activities each day. Parents and the child engage in activities both individually with their support person or coach, as well as engaging in activities together, which provides a corrective emotional experience among family members.
5. New behaviors. During the intervention each parent identifies actions they could have taken that would have assisted the family functioning. The parents present a new family narrative to the child, emphasizing the shift from blame to responsibility and cooperation. Parents determine what behaviors they can commit to going forward to ease the situation and keep the child from the middle of adult conflict. Parents declare their commitments to each other and to the child.
6. Co-parent support. The child observes the parents working together. Parents work toward maintaining positive communication and healthy boundaries. Parents work together to create new agreements for communication, on-going decision making, parenting time, financial issues, or other matters affecting co-parenting. All agreements are documented so that parents have them in writing for an attorney to draft and file legal paperwork.
7. After-care. Typically, the after-care specialist is part of the professional team during the intervention. This professional works with the family to continue to support on-going change.