Dr Don Tustin presented a paper about Mental Health Treatment Reports submitted as evidence to a Family Court at the recent 7th World Congress on Family Law. Following the introduction of subsidies for psychological treatment for people with anxiety and depression in Australia in 2006, GPs are increasingly referring parents who are experiencing difficulties over separations and family law proceedings.
Following therapy, some parents ask for a treatment report about progress they have made in therapy and submit these reports to a Family Court. Australian Family Law Courts are increasingly accepting mental health treatment reports. Family Courts have shown particular interest in treatment reports for parents who: struggle to co-parent, involve children in adult disputes, struggle to discipline their child because the child becomes anxious, struggle to establish clear boundaries, and when two parents struggle to communicate without one parent becoming anxious or depressed.
Judges are expressing interest in treatment reports that help a child to learn resilience skills, and to participate in family discussions about disputes between their parents that impact on the child. There is also interest in parenting practices that are suitable for children with distinct temperaments.
Feedback from judges is that these reports help to clarify complex topics, and support parents to maintain contact with their children which is the aim of the 2006 amendments to the Family Law Act.
The feedback about Don’s paper was that Australia is ahead of other parts of the world in providing therapy for families who are distressed by separation.
If you would like more information on this approach please contact Adelaide Psychological Services on 82954150.