Ana & Ana 2013 FamCA 371

A boy aged 7 years had lived with his mother with no contact with the father for 2 years.  The mother had been diagnosed with PTSD and depression and evidence was presented that the mother could barely tolerate coming to court to hear debate about the father having contact with the child.  The father had a history of being impulsive, of outbursts and of speaking pejoratively (denigrate, personality impulsive).  The father spoke of talking to the child about his contemplating suicide by jumping from the eight floor of the court building.  The child was ambivalent about resuming contact with the father (reluctant to contact).

The family consultant recommended that the boy receive psychological therapy to help the boy the examine the complex dynamics of the parental conflict and the impact on him, his anxiety towards his mother including his desire to look after the mother (parentification), and the possible impact on his mother of his resuming a relationship with his father (therapy for child).  The consultant recommended that the process of therapy be confidential.  The ICL supported the recommendation.

The judge ordered that the parents do all things necessary to cause the child to attend therapy for the child to address the child’s emotional and psychological needs in a manner to permit but not require the child to consider re-establishing a relationship with the father (therapy for child).