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Click here for other services for separated parents.

Professional Development and Consultation Services for therapists, agencies, schools, educators and extra-curricular service providers working in the context of separated and/or divorced parents delivering service to children.

Parents separate on the basis of interpersonal conflict. Technically we differentiate between three levels of conflict: low, medium and high. 

Parents whose conflict would be regarded as low are typically able to resolve matters between themselves. They rarely need outside resources, their children are apt to adjust and other service providers may not even be aware of the parental separation. 

Parents whose conflict would be regarded as medium are less able to resolve matters between themselves. They will require outside resources to resolve matters usually in the form of lawyers or mediator. They may seek mental health support for the children and the school or other services may have to interface separately with each parent which can create strain on the service provider, agency or school. Children are also apt to be strained which can affect their performance. With support, these children can usually manage although they can be distraught from time to time. 

Parents whose conflict would be regarded as high cannot resolve matters independently. There matters are typically in the court system. There is likely other social service involvement, most notably police and child protection agency. Parents are likely disparaging of each other or at least one of the other. One or both parents my seek to limit the other parent's involvement with their children and these parents typically will put considerable strain on service providers in the interests of achieving a preferred outcome. Children in these situations frequently appear adversely affected and the children's involvement in support services may be an issue of dispute between the parents. Service providers working with children in these circumstances are at risk themselves for any perceived alliance with one parent over the other and for any perceived wrongdoing in the carrying out of service. Children in these circumstances are at substantial risk of poor developmental, social, academic and mental health outcomes. 

Providing service to children and separated parents takes particular skill, knowledge and policies to manage the complexities inherent in these situations.  Services available include;

  • Professional development to provide education and skill development to work more effectively with children and parents in the context of parental separation/divorce. 
  • Consultation to address particular issues regarding service to children or parents in the context. 
  • Consultation at the management level to review and develop policy to address service delivery in the context of separated/divorced parents.

Services can be provided by distance through video conferencing.

Call or email to discuss your consultation needs:

905 628-4847


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Gary Direnfeld, MSW, RSW
(905) 628-4847  


Gary Direnfeld is a social worker. Courts in Ontario, Canada, consider him an expert in social work, marital and family therapy, child development, parent-child relations and custody and access matters. Gary is the host of the TV reality show, Newlywed, Nearly Dead, parenting columnist for the Hamilton Spectator and author of Marriage Rescue: Overcoming the ten deadly sins in failing relationships. Gary maintains a private practice in Dundas Ontario, providing a range of services for people in distress. He speaks at conferences and workshops throughout North America.


Call Gary for your next conference and for expert opinion on family matters. Services include counselling, mediation, assessment, assessment critiques and workshops.



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27 Sina Street, Georgina, ON, Canada L4P 3E9 Tel: (905) 628-4847 Email: gary@yoursocialworker.com