Resolution Definition of Family Consultant

21 October 2016

The Role of the Family Consultant

The Collaborative process in England and Wales follows the Guidelines laid down by the IACP (International Academy of Collaborative Professionals).

The IACP Basic Training Manual describes the role as follows:

“...(it) is to prepare the client to participate effectively within the collaborative process. The coach does not act as a therapist. Rather, the coach uses his or her training and experience to assist the client in managing emotional or psychological issues that might otherwise impair the client’s effective functioning and/or participation in the collab process, and communicates with other collab team members to provide insight and assistance in helping to facilitate the process.”

[NB. In this jurisdiction we are using “family consultant” instead of “coach” however for some these terms may be interchangeable]

The Goals of the Family Consultant

The same manual describes the goals as:

“Identifying and prioritizing the concerns of the client.

Providing emotional support as the client moves through the loss, grief and anger of separation.

Identifying and offering assistance in containing strong emotions that might interfere with the collab process.

Understanding the dynamics of the couple relationship. Identifying and supporting an effective parenting plan and co-parenting skills.

Facilitating the progression of the collab process and helping the rest of the team to understand the client’s experience and emotional perspective.

Assisting the client and the team in addressing roadblocks to resolution. Assisting the clients in creating a co-parenting plan.”

Types of professionals who undertake family work

Coach

The term coaching typically refers to methods of helping others to improve, develop, learn new skills, find personal success, achieve aims and to manage life change and personal challenges. Coaching commonly addresses attitudes, behaviours, and knowledge, as well as communication skills. Coaching is a collaborative and solution-focused, results orientated and systemic process in which the coach facilitates the growth of the coachee in the areas required.

Coaching is a combination of eclectic therapy and training skills. This means that a great many styles of therapy, and methods of therapy, are combined in a teaching or coaching format. It is a combination of appropriate and recognised therapy techniques, and coaching or training techniques, using elements of many therapies e.g. hypnotherapy, NLP, CBT, psychoanalysis and counselling.

Counsellor

Counselling offers you the space and freedom to explore your own thoughts with an unbiased party.

While counsellors may not give you concrete advice or a checklist of things to do to feel better, what they will do is help you uncover your own insight and understanding of your problems providing you with the tools which will help you to resolve them on your own.

In the majority of cases, a single session will not be enough to help overcome any issues you're facing. Counselling is a journey, and it takes time and consistency to work effectively. Because of this, many people opt for regular counselling sessions to make the most of the process.

Social worker

Social workers work with individuals and families to help improve outcomes in their lives. This may be helping to protect vulnerable people from harm or abuse or supporting people to live independently. Social workers support people, act as advocates and direct people to the services they may require. Social workers often work in multi-disciplinary teams alongside health and education professionals.

Mediator

Mediation involves an independent third party - a mediator - who helps both sides come to an agreement.

The role of the mediator is to help parties reach a solution to their problem and to arrive at an outcome that both parties are happy to accept. Mediators avoid taking sides, making judgements or giving guidance. They are simply responsible for developing effective communications and building consensus between the parties. The focus of a mediation meeting is to reach a common sense settlement agreeable to both parties in a case.

Psychotherapist

Psychotherapy is the use of psychological methods to help a person change and overcome problems in desired ways. Psychotherapy aims to improve an individual's well-being and mental health, to resolve or mitigate troublesome behaviors, beliefs, compulsions, thoughts, or emotions, and to improve relationships and social skills.

There are over a thousand different psychotherapies, most involve one-to-one sessions, between client and therapist, but some are conducted with groups, including families. Psychotherapists may be mental health professionals such as psychiatrists or psychologists, or come from a variety of other backgrounds.

Psychologist

A professional specializing in diagnosing and treating diseases of the brain, emotional disturbance, and behavior problems. Psychologists can only use talk therapy as treatment as only a psychiatrist or other medical doctor can treat with medication.

Psychiatrist

Psychiatry is a medical field concerned with the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of mental health conditions.

Unlike other mental health professionals psychiatrists must be medically qualified doctors who have chosen to specialise in psychiatry. This means they can prescribe medication as well as recommend other forms of treatment.