International Journal of
Psychology and Counselling

  • Abbreviation: Int. J. Psychol. Couns.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 2141-2499
  • DOI: 10.5897/IJPC
  • Start Year: 2009
  • Published Articles: 220


Reunification therapy versus family integration therapy: A problem of taxonomy

Alan M. Jaffe
  • Alan M. Jaffe
  • Department of Psychiatry, Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern University, Chicago, Illinois, USA
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Melanie J. Thakkar
  • Melanie J. Thakkar
  • Forensic Psychology Institute of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois, USA.
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Erin Sivertsen
  • Erin Sivertsen
  • Department of Clinical Psychology, Chicago School of Professional Psychology, Chicago, Illinois, USA.
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  •  Received: 04 April 2020
  •  Published: 30 April 2020


Family courts increasingly order psychotherapy to resolve issues of alienation and estrangement between parents and children. Reunification therapy is a clinical intervention and treatment application intended to unite estranged children and parents. Reunification therapy when used in the legal context implies that a cohesive family unit existed prior to the estrangement. Literature supports the implementation of reunification therapy in various cases; however, it should be utilized within specific parameters. Family integration therapy provides a more accurate representation of the process and describes the complex and comprehensive nature of integrating parent-child relationships. It is the authors’ opinion that the term “reunification therapy” is often a misuse of nomenclature that should be more accurately replaced by family integration therapy to facilitate increased options for the court and greater acceptance by custodial parents
Key words: Family courts, parent-child relationship, parental alienation, reunification process, reunification therapy, family integration therapy.