Phase III Stabilization and Normalization of the Child Perpetrator Relationship

The last phase of treatment for mothers emphasizes the stabilization and normalization of healthy relationships over time. During this phase, contact between the maternal perpetrator and the child increases in important ways, and the mother is given gradually extended responsibility for being with and caring for the child, at first with supervision. Often, supervision shifts from being the responsibility of the professional to the responsibility of family members, especially the father. The child can fully transition home if the father or another live-in relative can take responsibility for monitoring the interaction between the child and the perpetrating mother on an ongoing basis.

One of the perpetrator's critical tasks is to monitor her own behavior and reflect on her interaction with her child in the context of their daily activities together. The goals of therapy are to support the mother in solidifying her view of her child as a unique and changing healthy human being and to continue to reconstruct the attachments to the child and immediate family in the context of health. The maintenance of this wellness focus is a critical goal, which each therapist and the team as a whole should evaluate in an effort to enforce the maintenance of a safe and nurturing environment. This reinforcement should continue to extend open communication and honesty in the family relationships and continue to reduce isolation and illogical thinking in the perpetrator. By the end of this phase, the child should be at home and the mother should have in creased unsupervised contact. In many cases, mothers do not ever return to taking responsibility for a child who is ill or in need of a health-related appointment; most mothers appreciate this safeguard for both themselves and their children.

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