Working with contact father families: Insights from therapy
Australian Academic Press
Faculty of Computing, Health and Science
School of Psychology
The incidence of marital and relationship breakdown, in particular where children are involved, continues to increase across Australia. For the contact father, the psychological and emotional effects of separation are often experienced concurrently with many practical matters and can raise issues such as dealing with loss, identity development and constructive role restructuring. The adjustment period can also expose an increasing need to move on in developmental terms. This paper describes the effects of relationship or marital breakdown and ongoing adjustment issues upon those contact fathers who have not initiated separation, who have physically left the family home and in doing so, have left their children behind with the mother.
The paper also considers the psychological and therapeutic implications for working with this often marginalised group of clients. A working model which addresses various coping styles is presented.