In high conflict separation and divorce, parents’ unconscious conflicts are projected into arguments about the children resulting in interminable struggles negatively impacting the children and leading to years of litigation. The presenters will explain how using psychoanalytic ideas in early intervention treatment can support these families in understanding and implementing new behaviors. Kathy Sinsheimer will introduce four psychoanalytic concepts used to help families with Resist Refuse Dynamics improve fractured relationships and assist them in building a more resilient, live “family state of mind”. Dana Iscoff will describe how the shared creation of a parenting plan, while addressing underlying psychological vulnerabilities, can serve as a transitional object. The parenting plan can support and advance the transition for high conflict parents to become cooperative co-parent couples.

Case examples will illustrate how applying psychoanalytic concepts of splitting, projective identification, projective gridlock (explained below), and countertransference (the professional’s response to the family through the professional’s own emotional life), including bias can ameliorate conflict and facilitate growth within families.

Learning Objectives:

  • Attendees will be able to describe three psychoanalytic concepts that they can utilize in helping them better understand the dynamics of the high conflict families.
  • Attendees will develop new, useful ways to think about and provide early intervention strategies with high conflict families.
  • Attendees will be able to analyze and think further about their role in working with high conflict families, and how their actions can affect, and be affected by, their involvement with the family.