Encounters        (continued from page 4)

A third process dilemma is the duality of roles. It is important that the PC avoids any dual relationships, however this can be difficult at times to manage as boundaries can become unclear when a PC is attempting to balance several different roles such as being an educator, a support, a monitor and a decision maker. For example, if a PC is educating parents, will this be perceived as counselling? Or when a PC is providing legal information, will this be perceived by the parents as legal advice? It is important that the PC be clear with the parents wherever possible as to the intent and nature of their interventions, checking to make sure the parents are clear about their role.

Another process dilemma occurs with respect to fees. It is common with high conflict parents to complain that the other parent is using the services of the PC more than they are, alleging that this is creating more expense. The PC must decide whether one parent is dominating the use of the PC services and whether fees should be apportioned according to use or whether fees will continue to be spilt evenly. It can be difficult to track all of these expenditures and often, fees are not the issue, rather power and control issues are fuelling the conflict.

In conclusion, I ask you to consider the following question; How do we effectively match the types of family law disputes to effective interventions? For example, there are a variety of collaborative interventions available such as self-help, parenting coordination, mediation, collaborative law and family law arbitration. Perhaps at some point in the future, we will be better able to understand what interventions work best with what types of high conflict families.

Thank you very much for your time today.