Children Inclusive Mediation and Counselling (CIMC)
Pioneered and developed over many years by Professor Jennifer McIntosh AM, child inclusion is built upon solid clinical and developmental frameworks, and is supported by longitudinal research with Australian families, and recent replication work in the US. Research demonstrates beneficial long-term impacts of this intervention on stability and durability of parenting plans, parents’ ability to better manage their conflict and acrimony, and strong flow-on effects for children’s adjustment to divorce and ongoing well-being.
This dynamic and powerful intervention is an evidence-based approach to building co-parenting quality, and forming responsive parenting arrangements. The change agent is the child, whose experiences and developmental needs are carefully considered with parents, in their dispute resolution, assisted often by a mediator. The potential of this work to bring about change in the parental state of mind, within complex and highly conflictual separations is substantial.
Child inclusive mediation or post-separation counseling with separated parents represents and embraces many things we now know to be important to family adjustment after parental separation:
- The child-inclusive genre embraces the paramount need to assist parents who are in dispute after separation to refocus on and plan for the needs of their children post-separation.
- The work combines developmental consultation with children, within a therapeutic mediation process, occurring either within court or community-based services.
- It is a process that ultimately seeks to refocus on the best interests of the child, through higher levels of engagement of their parents’ capacity to think and plan more cooperatively about them.
- Child Inclusion is also a strategic extension of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, giving children the right to present their wishes in family law proceedings about them, and to have those experiences thoughtfully considered by their parents and the dispute resolution practitioners involved.
Child Inclusion is a strong intervention that has the potential to transform the adjustment pathway after separation. Just like any powerful tool, Child Inclusion requires thorough training.
Child Inclusive Mediation and Counselling
Professor Jennifer McIntosh
Jennifer (better known as Jenn) is a clinical child psychologist, family therapist and developmental researcher. Her research and clinical work is vast. Here on CBD, we house Jenn's interventions for separated families in high conflict. In 2019, she was awarded Member of the Order of Australia in recognition for this work.