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CAPTP Colloquium: Legal and Therapeutic Challenges in Treating Children and Adolescents Caught in the Middle of High Conflict Divorces

Date: Feb 1, 2018 11:45 am

Thursday, February 1, 2018
11:45 am to 1:00 pm

Legal and Therapeutic Challenges in Treating Children and Adolescents Caught in the Middle of High Conflict Divorces

Jacqueline Ferraro, D.M.H.

Gary Schlesinger, Ph.D. (Discussant)


When clinicians are working with children and adolescents caught in a high conflict divorce of parents there are many legal and ethical issues and potential pitfalls to consider. Dr. Ferraro will discuss the importance of keeping a safe space in the office for both the children and their parents, including the critical and complex role of maintaining confidentiality. As the therapist in the situation it is essential to work with both parents, on behalf of the child—parents who themselves are likely caught in custody, visitation, and financial battles. Efforts to establish at least a minimum of trust between each parent and the clinician can offer opportunities to lessen the degree of conflict as it pertains to the child or adolescent and, at the same time, provide opportunities to better attune parents to the stressors on their child and ways to help their child/adolescent more effectively during this legal process.


Dr. Ferraro will also address potential pitfalls that can negatively impact the therapeutic process, including ways to avoid getting caught in the middle of the divorce process between the parents to the potential detriment of the therapeutic work with the child and adolescent.


The discussant will be Dr. Gary Schlesinger, a clinician who has substantial experience with both children and their families in high conflict divorce situations.


Register Here



Jacqueline Ferraro, D.M.H. is a Fellow, Supervisor of Psychotherapy at the William Alanson White Institute; Director, Faculty and Supervisor of Child and Adolescent Psychotherapy Training Program; Faculty, Supervisor and member of the Steering Committee of the Eating Disorders, Compulsions, and Addictions Service. She is a psychoanalyst/psychologist in private practice in New York City, treating children, adolescents, and adults.


Gary Schlesinger, Ph.D. is a clinical psychologist and psychoanalyst.  He is a member of the faculty of the William Alanson White Psychoanalytic Institute where he teaches both adult psychoanalysis and child and adolescent psychotherapy.  He is the former Director of the Parent Center at the Institute.  He is in private practice in New York City where he treats adults, adolescents, and children. 

Learning Objectives:
1. Participants will develop further awareness of the complex issues in treating children caught in the middle of a high conflict divorce
2. Participants will be able to discuss clinical issues involving confidentiality of the therapist-child relationship when interfacing with the legal system.