Facilitation essentially means "to make easy". It is a structured process designed to accomplish a specific task or project. Utilizing a facilitation service can be a game-changer. These services provide a structured path to navigate through complex situations, ensuring that all perspectives are considered. When conflicts arise during facilitation, we use it as an opporunity to learn from the unique perspectives of everyone involved... conflict is embraced as a growth opportunity instead of something to avoid. When problems arise we work together as allies not adversaries to come up with solutions that work for everyone involved.
Facilitation services are a valuable tool in achieving goals, solving problems, managing conflicts and making the journey towards the end goal smoother and more effective.
Following each facilitated meeting, the facilitator will send parties the product that was generated or a summary of what was covered in the meeting, decisions made, action items, and next steps (if any).
Most services are conducted remotely via teletherapy. Session format depends upon where clients are located, current levels of hostility between clients, and general safety considerations.
Many parents recognize the benefits of having ongoing facilitated family meetings that can be used to address issues and concerns, solve problems together, and plan fun activities.
Co-Parent Business Meetings
Co-Parents benefit from having regular business style meetings where they can conduct co-parent business with the help of a neutral facilitator. Co-Parent business typically involves reviewing the parenting time schedule, planning child activities and events, proposing changes or modifications, and working together to problem solve for the benefit of their child/ren.
Initial Parenting Plan Facilitation
Parents who are divorcing/separating need to discuss how they plan to set up their co-parenting arrangement--how they plan to share raising their children between two households. Many parents assume they will be on the same page or assume they will disagree about everything--usually neither are the case. There is a great deal to consider, and having a neutral third party facilitate the process will most likely prove very helpful. Parents will have the opportunity to thoroughly examine each area of a parenting plan so that they can set up the best parenting plan possible. Facilitators can help parents to assess their own situation so they can determine the best path for their children moving forward. The parents will determine the contents and scope of their parenting plan (what topics will be included and the level of detail involved).
It is helpful for parents to engage in a Parenting Plan Facilitation prior to engaging in a Parenting Plan Mediation so that parents can consider the number of issues that need to be discussed, gain clarity on options, get their agreements in writing, and only take issues they disagree upon into a Mediation.
Parents will decide ahead of time what information they will need so that they can make informed decisions, whose input would be helpful, and who should be involved in the facilitation and to what extent (the facilitator can assist parents with these considerations). For example, parents may decide that they want to have their older children, the child's grandparents, and the parents' new partners to be involved in some way. Or parents may decide that they need to see proof of completion of an intervention program prior to setting up overnights for a parent who is in active recovery.
The overall goal for this facilitation is to engage a neutral third party to help create a parenting plan that works for everyone involved. Parents will continue with facilitation until they reach full agreement on all the issues contained in their parent plan OR when everyone agrees that all viable options have been considered, yet they still remain in disagreement on one or more issues. At the conclusion of the facilitation, the facilitator will provide them with a parenting plan that contains their agreements, and for any issue where parents remain in disagreement, the facilitator will ensure that parents have multiple options to consider. Parents can continue to work independently towards resolution or take the matter to mediation, arbitration, or court.
Existing Parenting Plan Facilitation
This facilitation occurs when parents already have an existing parenting plan but one or both parents want to modify the parenting plan in some way or it is outdated or no longer relevant in some respects and needs updating (a Parenting Plan Update). This facilitation occurs like the one above for initial parenting plan facilitation, but the facilitator will assist parents in focusing on clarifying their concerns or their desire to update the plan, generate options for how they might try to improve the situation, and perhaps generate a specific modification for their existing parenting plan that they both can support. It is important to remember that, just because someone wants to modify the plan doesn't mean it will be modified; parents must agree to a specific modification or ask a judge to order it.
The overall goal of this facilitation is to engage a neutral third party to help parents address and neutralize their concerns while creating an updated parenting plan that works for everybody involved. Parents will continue with facilitation until they reach full agreement on a specific modification or update OR when everyone agrees that all viable options have been considered, yet they still remain in disagreement on one or more issues. At the conclusion of the facilitation, the facilitator will provide them with an updated/modified parenting plan or a document that includes a summary of what was covered, a list of what was agreed upon, and for any issue where parents remain in disagreement, the facilitator will ensure that parents have multiple options to consider. Parents can continue to work independently towards resolution or take the matter to mediation, arbitration, or court.
Facilitated Brief Focused Assessment
A brief focused assessment is a conducted by a facilitator to help the parents assess a specific area of concern, problem, or dispute within a specified time frame. This assessment is designed to gather information quickly and efficiently, aiming to provide clarity, awareness, insights, and options for addressing the identified issue. It typically involves gathering data, conducting interviews, reviewing documents, and analyzing existing resources to generate a comprehensive understanding of the contributing factors to a specific issue or concern. The findings from this assessment can be used to analyze current proposals and aid in the development of new strategies or interventions so parents can make more informed decisions.
If parents are in agreement at the conclusion of the facilitation, they will be provided with their agreement(s) in writing and asked to sign to confirm those agreements. If parents are not in agreement about how to proceed, they will be provided with a summary of what information was considered and the various options that were generated so they can continue to work out a resolution independently or through mediation, arbitration, or court.
Note: The facilitator will only organize and summarize information and create different options or courses of action based on the information gathered--they will not make a decision for the parents or take action on behalf of the parents--that is the responsibility of the parents or if parents are unable to come to consensus on how to proceed, they can attempt mediation, arbitration or ask the court rule on the matter.
Facilitated Early Neutral Parenting Plan Creation
A facilitator coordinates an early neutral parenting arrangement evaluation to assist parents in examining all of the factors that are instrumental in setting up their post-separation/divorce parenting arrangement--this includes the factors that are contained in typical parenting plan templates like how parents plan to share parenting time, parental responsibilities and decision making. The facilitator works with both parents to gather information via interviews, review of documents, and analysis of existing resources. The facilitator, as a neutral, will do their best to synthesize all the relevant information to create a parenting plan that will serve as the foundation for further parental discussions / negotiations.
If parents come to full agreement, they will be provided with the parenting plan and asked to sign to confirm their agreement. If parents are not in full agreement, they will be provided with the parenting plan and potential options for each of the remaining items that are in dispute. Parents can continue independent negotiations or work to settle in mediation, arbitration, or court.
Note: The facilitator will organize and summarize information and attempt to create a parenting plan based on the information gathered and current best practices in the field. It is the parent's responsibility to negotiate the terms of their parenting plan, to attempt to reach consensus and to formalize their agreements. The facilitator does not not make decisions or take action on behalf of the parents--that is the responsibility of the parents or if parents are unable to come to consensus on a course of action, they can attempt mediation, arbitration or ask the court rule on the matter.
Collaborative Divorce Facilitation
Collaborative Divorce is a method of divorce that aims to keep the process in your hands and out of the adversarial court setting. A Collaborative Divorce Facilitator coordinates a team of professionals who commit to doing everything possible to help a divorcing couple move through this transition efficiently and amicably. The Collaborative Divorce Team at a minimum includes the spouses, each with their own attorney, a financial expert, and a facilitator. Other professionals like accountants, realtors, counselors, etc. may be utilized at the team's discretion.
In Collaborative Divorce, both you and your spouse are represented by your own attorneys who commit to participating in a collaborative process rather than litigation. This means that no time, energy, or money will be spent on preparing for contested court hearings, doing opposition research on your spouse, or engaging in expensive trial tactics. The attorneys are there to provide the legal expertise necessary to protect your interests and help you peacefully wrap up your divorce in a way you both can live with and live up to. Collaborative divorce maximizes your privacy while supporting both parents to set up a new normal that makes the best out of the situation for the benefit of everyone involved.
The Collaborative Facilitator is a mental health professional who serves as a neutral parent/co-parenting/communication coach, a child advocate, a parenting plan expert, and a project manager to organize the process and serve as a team leader to the other professionals who are involved. The facilitator is responsible for managing the process while you and your spouse are responsible for the outcome--you don't abdicate responsibility to a judge who cannot possibly understand your situation, challenges and resources as well as you do.
Facilitated Restorative Circles
Restorative Circles offer a unique approach to conflict resolution and healing for individuals, their support system (including families, extended families, neighbors, friends, and other community members), and others who may be involved in some capacity (probation officer, counselor, case manager, victim, etc.). They offer a safe environment for individuals affected by a particular condition or circumstance to share their perspectives of the situation, how they have been impacted, gain awareness to how they may have caused harm, take responsibility for their contribution, and utilize collective wisdom to develop agreements to improve the situation, repair relationships, resolve conflicts, and prevent future harm. The facilitator will also assist participants in developing a new narrative that attempts to integrate everyone's experiences while preserving the integrity of everyone involved. This process fosters empathy and understanding while transforming hardship into an opportunity for learning, growth, and relationship-building. Restorative circles are a powerful tool for healing, reconciliation, and empowerment, turning changeling situations into stepping stones for personal and interpersonal system growth. Participants will be provided with a Restorative Agreement that contains their agreements, action tasks that people agreed to complete, and consequences for what will happen if people fail to follow through.
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- Mahatma Gandhi