What It Takes To Be a Therapist Providing Reunification Therapy
Since presenting information about reunification therapy with some of my colleagues at a national conference in 2016, I hear from other professionals wanting to know more about what it takes to offer reunification therapy.
I'm complimented by the requests for information. I'm encouraged by the interest. We need more seasoned, experienced, strong therapists working in this arena. Based on the amount of referrals the few of us doing this work get . . . there is a lot of work out there waiting to be done.
I recently heard from an LPC who asked me the following:
"I was asked to provide reunification therapy. I would like to know if I am ethically qualified to do this. One attorney I asked said specialized training and certification are required in Texas. Another attorney I asked said there is no training or certification required. What is your understanding regarding training and/or certification."
Here is my response to him:
I already know you are wise because you have asked such an important question before beginning your work with a family as a reunification therapist. So many just get started and say, “I can do that” without stopping to think about it.
Here is what I will tell you - there is no official certification required to do reunification therapy in Texas. Oh yes, you can find “professionals” who offer certifications nationally. Some are creditable and some are not. It could be hard for someone to tell. Bottom line, it is not like your LPC were you need a license to practice. It is more, do you know enough to do a good job and benefit families? More importantly, do you know the literature so you will know how reunification therapy is different and what the literature and the experience of others can tell you?
Do the work. Read the literature. Create a peer supervision resource for your accountability. Go to national conferences.
When I am asked by an attorney behind the scenes about a professional who has been providing reunification therapy, the very first thing I do is ask for the person’s CV. I want to see, in the last two years, have they been to conferences with creditability professionals presenting on the subject? Are they following those who are not respected in the field who still call alienation a “syndrome”? Are their continuing education requirements all from online courses on how to build your practice rather than the quality programs providing education on reunification?
As for being qualified, a license qualifies us all to practice independently. Knowing the literature, our education, our ongoing
training and the wealth of experience we get after licensure is what makes us experts.