PROFESSIONAL EXPECATIONS AND CONTRIBUTIONS
As an involved mental health professional, lawyer or judge, you play a critical role for the families that become involved with Overcoming Barriers’ Family Camp. The families we serve at Overcoming Barriers’ Family Camp are in crisis. Beyond the damaging discord, each family is also involved in a legal system with numerous professionals, including yourself as judge, attorney, minor’s counsel, Guardians ad litem, special master, parent coordinator, or therapist.
Due to the critical and on-going nature of your relationship with the family, your understanding of the OCB Approach and positive engagement with our program is fundamental to the achievement of the program goals. In turn, this will enhance your ability to convey and support realistic and appropriate expectations to the family members who will be participating in the Overcoming Barriers’ Family Camp.
In order for each family to have the chance for a successful outcome, it is crucial that all professionals involved understand and convey to the family that the goal of Overcoming Barriers Camp is to help the family move to an emotional and relational place where the children are able to have a relationship with both of their parents. In order to accomplish this, referrals should only be made to our program when both parents are able to state their commitment to the children having a relationship with both parents, regardless of the nature of the parent-child contact problem. Camp is not to determine IF it is in the children’s best interest to repair and have a good relationship with both parents. Rather, camp is to assist the family to make progress towards healthy family functioning, including repairing strained parent-child relationships, and working towards implementing the agreed to, or court-ordered, parenting plan.
It is imperative that it be explained to all the participating adults, that OCB focuses on developing each parent’s willingness and ability to see their own contribution to the family dynamic and to increasing each member’s ability to function more effectively within his or her family. Overcoming Barriers’ Family Camp does not engage in blaming family members or perpetuating the conflict. Rather, OCB focuses on each person taking responsibility for their part in the family dynamic and engaging in all aspects of the program to help the family move forward towards the goal of healthy family functioning.
The Overarching Camp Program Philosophy and Goals are:
Children have healthy relationship with both parents
Improved communication between family members
Children interact with parents in a safe and therapeutic environment
Each family member gains understanding of and accepts their role in solving the family problems
- Learn skills to more effectively coparent, negotiate agreements and move forward
- Personal and relationship peace
A successful outcome requires that each family member, particularly the adults, be ready to accept feedback and embrace the need for current and ongoing change. It is important for each family member to understand that acknowledging one’s individual limitations does not equate to an admission of legal liability and that insisting on such linkage will only serve to impede, if not derail, the entire process of growth and change.
Overcoming Barriers’ Family Camp does not assign blame or make custodial determinations (legal or physical) or child access recommendations. Our work is focused on being an intensive ”jump-start” for families to begin the process of getting beyond their enduring, conflicted patterns and venturing along a path of healing. In this way, the family—and the professionals—must understand that this is first small step in a commitment to change—that will have its ups and downs—and will likely take a significant amount of time.
By the time most families are referred to us, there are no easy resolutions. It is not reasonable or feasible to expect our interventions to “fix”families in less than one week. For families, or professionals, to expect a dramatically different result with a complete shift in people at the end of the week is a recipe for failure. We are providing tools for families as well as planting a seed for moving forward, which will require nurturance, and commitment on the part of the parents and the involved legal and mental health professionals.
Implementation of the Overcoming Barriers’ Aftercare recommendations is integral to the camp program and part of a long-term commitment to change and necessary component for success.
The Overcoming Barriers Approach:
- Is a whole family approach that builds effective co-parenting structures which are in the child’s best interests
- Offers an alternative to ongoing litigation
- Includes psycho-education and a team of clinicians providing interventions in a safe supported environment outside the comfort zone of “home”
- Creates recreational activities that foster positive connections between family members, from parallel activities to direct engagement activities
- Provides for legal and therapeutic follow-up and aftercare as necessary components to success
Overcoming Barriers does not do custody evaluations
OCB is not an investigating or evaluating service and does not provide reports or recommendations about custody or access.
If there are acute parenting time issues, i.e. an upcoming vacation, the clinical team may work with the family at Camp to reach an agreement about how to handle it as an example about ways to communicate and problem solve in the future.
What happens after Camp?
- Our clinical team will provide up to two hours time to speak to professionals involved with your case as part of the camp program services.
- Any time beyond the two hours will be billed at the hourly rate for your assigned Lead Clinician.
- Consent forms permitting the release of information will be required from both parents to share any information about program participation.
- Any and all correspondence or communication with OCB post-camp should include both parents.
- If clinicians are called to testify after camp either with permission from both parents or by subpeona he or she must be compensated at their normal rate
What is included in the Summary of Interventions and Agreements that families receive at the end of Camp?
It is exactly what is says: a summary of interventions at Camp and any agreements that parents made at Camp. The summary is presented to parents on the last day. Parents have a chance to review it and make any corrections or additions. Here are a few examples:
- On the first day Dr. Z intervened with Jane Jr. before dinner to get her to participate in camp.
- Drs. Y & Z met with Jane and John for 1.0 hours to discuss mutual needs and wants from the other.
- Parents met with child and acknowledged their delight at child overcoming his initial resistance to involvement with the camp program.
- Jane will provide a written log for John that includes bulleted information about schedule, activities, behaviors, appointments, etc.
- Parents agree to the use of a parenting coordinator to reduce inter-parental conflict, assist in implementation of the parenting plan, provide education, structure and accountability. The PC will help the parents disengage and create a more functional parallel coparenting arrangement. The appointment term will be no less than two years.
What is the confidentiality policy at Camp?
Overcoming Barriers follows a strict confidentiality policy with all camper information. This means we don’t share personal information about a family with other families at Camp. Campers can chose to share their stories with one another as they choose Campers are not allowed to take photos or video at Camp.
What is included in the service agreement?
The service agreement covers lots of details related to Camp including confidentiality, expectations for parents and for kids, payment and refund rules, and aftercare policies. Applicants will receive a Draft copy of the Service Agreement for review if invited to move to the intake process.
How do families apply for Family Camp?
For detailed information about Family Camp and further understanding of what we offer please review the “For Families” and the “OCB Approach” menu tabs on this website.