Group Therapy for High-Conflict Divorce : The ‘No Kids in the Middle’ Intervention Programme book cover
1st Edition

Group Therapy for High-Conflict Divorce
The ‘No Kids in the Middle’ Intervention Programme

ISBN 9780367109233
Published March 31, 2021 by Routledge
230 Pages 11 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

The "No Kids in the Middle" (Kinderen uit de Knel) intervention programme addresses high-conflict divorce through a multi-family approach. This first English language edition contains descriptions of the therapeutic sessions, references to a homework book (van der Est et al.) for parents and their network, along with extra information about the theoretical foundations of the programme.

The book starts with theoretical foundations and a summary of the scientific research behind the methodology before moving on to focus on the methodology of the intervention programme per session, with detailed descriptions of each therapeutic session. Through these session descriptions, the authors demonstrate how the theory of the methodology can be put into practice within a group setting. The methodology is also conveyed in such a way that the key pillars and themes are clear, with a best-practice framework clearly demonstrated. Yet at the same time, the authors leave room for customization depending on the actual clients and therapists, and for this framework to be built upon further.

With this programme now practiced and studied throughout Europe, Group Therapy for High-Conflict Divorce and its methodology will act as a living framework to help continuously improve practice and research among professional therapists, while also appealing to social workers and legal professionals.

Table of Contents

1. Introduction

Part 1: Theory and Research

2. Theoretical Basis

3. Scientific Research

Part 2: Practice

4. Methodology Outline

5. The Keystones

6. Intake and Referral

7. The Network Meeting

8. The Parent Group

9. The Children’s Group



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Margreet Visser is a clinical psychologist/psychotherapist and senior researcher at The Children’s Trauma Center (KJTC) Kenter Jeugdhulp in the Netherlands. She is specialized in working with traumatized children and their families. Her research focusses on the impact of destructive parental conflicts on children and their families.

Justine van Lawick is clinical psychologist, family therapist and co-founder of the Lorentzhuis. She is a senior trainer in the Netherlands and abroad.


"This book provides an incredibly comprehensive, yet rich and sophisticated guide to working with families using the No Kids in the Middle programme. van Lawick and Visser describe the innovative approach and its theoretical underpinnings with clarity, while sensitively addressing the many complexities of working with high conflict separated parents and their children. In the same way that the program aims to help parents, this book will help professionals to see new possibilities for approaching familiar difficulties and finding new solutions with the families they support."

Emma Morris, Consultant Clinical Psychologist, Anna Freud National Center for Children and Families, London

This positive and creative contribution is the culmination of years of endeavour and practice by experienced therapists and clinicians in the complex arena of conflictual divorce and its consequences for children and their families. It stands as a shining example of effective practice that counteracts the ongoing unproductive conflicts between family members and their networks. In van Lawick and Visser’s approach, children become allies to change, rather than victims of conflict between parents, and their voices are strengthened through group participation. The elegance of this approach is how, in time, parents listen, hear, and are moved by the words of their children and become prepared to respond in more constructive ways as they try to manage life after divorce. The No Kids in the Middle programme is an expression of hope, creativity and resilience that deserves to be promoted widely in organizations offering a post divorce service particularly where adversarial approaches have failed to reach a liveable resolution for all involved."

Jim Wilson, UKCP Systemic Family Therapy supervisor, author and international trainer in family therapy

"When children get caught up right in the middle of their parents’ chronic and acrimonious conflicts, their mental health is often severely compromised. Creative and effective, this highly innovative approach puts children back in the centre of parental concerns. Essential reading for therapists and parents alike!"

Eia Asen, Professor, Anna Freud Centre and University College London