Counselling Dilemma: Issues with a Separated Couple
You are co-facilitating a mediation session for Patricia and Jonathan White (a separated couple in their early 40s, with two children). In your first session, Patricia expresses clear opinions regarding residency arrangements for the children. Patricia is also steadfast in her beliefs about the fair division of assets and cash. Jonathan is equally sure in his beliefs and expresses these loudly and aggressively. After the first session with the couple, your co-facilitator mentions that she is familiar with the couple through a previous community agency she worked for. She discloses that she believes Jonathon has a history of domestic violence.
You decide to arrange supervision with your co-facilitator and manager to discuss the situation and your co-facilitator’s disclosure about Jonathon’s history. Before the meeting with your supervisor, however, Patricia calls to say that she and Jonathan have worked out an arrangement. The arrangement Patricia proceeds to outline suspiciously echoes the requests Jonathon expressed in mediation. It does not sound like a fair or equitable arrangement.
Patricia continues by saying that they will not be attending any further sessions and promptly hangs up.
As the counsellor, how would you proceed?