An Innovative Intervention to Disentangle High Conflict Divorces: Evidence from Belgium, Europe

Session : Workshop 3-2: Interventions I

  • Time : 9:15 am PDT To 10:50 am PDT on
  • Venue : An Innovative Intervention to Disentangle High Conflict Divorces: Evidence from Belgium, Europe

Full Abstract

From literature we know that the impact of high conflict divorce can be considered as emotional abuse of ex-partners and children. In an empirical study among 1800 divorced men and women, we found an tremendous impact of ongoing conflicts on self-esteem, feelings of depressions and mastery of women after divorce. For men, an effect of conflictual interactions after divorce could be found for feelings of depression and mastery. From in-depth interviews with professional practitioners who are dealing with cases of high conflict divorce or separation, we concluded that (i) appropriate interventions according to the stage of the conflict are of major importance, otherwise risk of escalation occurs and (ii) knowledge about conflict and conflict escalation is crucial to understand and disentangle conflicts. Recently, we developed an innovative intervention for parents who are frozen in the transition of divorce or separation, based on five pillars as alternative for mediation and shared parenting, as well as screening instruments that are related to the underlying mechanisms of emotional abuse and used to measure change due to the intervention. This intervention is aimed to improve the well-being of children with parents who fail in the reorganization of parenting after their relationship dissolution. The main goals are informing parents and their network about mechanism of conflict escalation, providing tools to avoid escalation and to facilitate the decrease of conflict and learning how to obtain support from the family, the extended kin and the larger network in order to maintain focus on their children’s need as separate from their own, to protect their children from their own emotional distress and anger and from their ongoing disputes with each other. Therefore, parents are guided to develop some insight into their psychological impasse and especially into their own motivation to fight. This paper presents first results from an effectivity study about implementing this innovative practice-based intervention in case of high conflict divorces or separations. First, five pillars of the innovative intervention will be presented. Second, screening instruments that are related to the underlying mechanisms of emotional abuse and developed in order to measure change or progress due to the intervention will be explained. Finally, first results about the intervention effectivity (is the goal reached?) as well as effectivity related to experience rating (experiences of clients?) will be revealed. This paper aims to contribute to the following issues: • Screening for family violence • Alternatives to shared parenting in the context of family violence that involve family violence.