Therapeutic supervised visitation is similar to a traditional monitored visit between the non-custodial parent and child, except that a licensed therapist supervises and guides the visit. The therapist meets the family prior to, during and after the visit to help “bind the wounds” in an impaired parent-child relationship. The therapist carries out the guidelines set by the court or referral agency, and he or she submits progress reports and recommendations to the referral source as required.
The difference between conventional supervised visitation and therapeutic visitation is that in therapeutic visitation supervisors are credentialed and licensed mental health therapists and social workers experienced in working with parents and children who are in a high degree of conflict. They are professionals who are licensed by the state and have already been screened and completed advanced education in order to take the state exam required of mental health professionals.
By comparison, in most jurisdictions there is currently no licensing or credentialing requirement to be a visitation supervisor (VS). As such, there are no background checks or experience requirements. Some VSs do possess advanced education and training, but it is not a consistent guarantee. Some of the professional associations with an interest in maintaining the quality of visitation supervisors are appealing to legislative bodies and other professional regulatory bodies to establish minimum standards in the field.
Therapeutic efforts work to “reintegrate” parents and children in cases of alienation. Supervised therapeutic visitation in the field creates an environment where the child has a greater voice. Efforts include cresting new memories and reinventing the relationship between parent and child.