Supporting Students Impacted by Divorce & Separation

This workshop is designed for Helping Professionals regardless whether they have psychological knowledge and background or not. This course is anchored on one key premise: The affected child still lives within a community of stakeholders.


Sylvia Tan

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Course Overview

Divorce is on the rise around the world. As the number of divorce cases rises, the number of affected children and adolescents consequently increases. Divorce and separation are very stressful and traumatic experiences, and it can have long-lasting impact on the physical as well as mental health of children. Undesirable behaviours in the school and community are, in many cases, expressions of unresolved emotions towards such family disturbances. As a teacher, social worker, counsellor/psychologist or parent, what can be done to support such children and adolescents?

This workshop is designed for Helping Professionals regardless whether they have psychological knowledge and background or not. This course is anchored on one key premise: The affected child still lives within a community of stakeholders. Any MEANINGFUL help rendered must consider his interaction with his environment, including parents and other professionals (such as child protection officer, court and lawyers).

In Part 1 of this workshop, you will learn the dynamics of divorce including the potential complexities surrounding it. It discusses possible impacts of a divorce on children/adolescents as well as the parents and extended family. The short- and long-term effects including inter-generational trauma are explained. Risk and protective factors in children and adolescents are discussed.

Working with families affected by divorce has its challenges. Part 2 highlights challenges that you, as the Helping Professional, may face. Importantly, participants will be taught practical tools how to prevent yourself from being triangulated in the parents’ acrimony. Part 2 will also equip participants with practical intervention skills to help the affected child/adolescent. You will also learn how to engage the parents meaningfully with the child in focus. Finally, you learn how to collaborate with other stakeholders in order to alleviate the impact on the child.
This practical workshop is delivered in a multi-modal format including immersive and experiential training via role-play, case studies, peer activities, and observation in addition to traditional teaching strategies.

Target Audience

This workshop is suitable for participants with or without psychological background. It is suitable for:

  • Social workers, Counsellors and Psychologists working in VWOs
  • Primary, secondary and tertiary school counsellors, AEDs & psychologists
  • Mainstream school educators, Management and Student mentors
  • Special education teachers, Management
  • Medical Social Workers working in hospitals and medical institutions
  • Pastoral care staff
  • Psychologists and counsellors in private practice

9 am to 5 pm 

Workshop Topics:

Part 1: Understanding Impact of Divorce and Separation

(a) Understanding the dynamics of divorce 

  • Amicable vs High Conflict Divorce
  • The psychological stages of divorce
  • Therapeutic Justice (TJ) and your role in TJ
  • Complex issues relating to divorce
    • Families with young children
    • Poor parenting capacity
    • Family violence
    • Transnational marriages
    • Child abuse
    • Mental health
    • Poor co-parenting

(b)  How divorce impact on parents and extended families

  • ​Mental health and parenting issues
  • Co parenting difficulties

(c) How divorce impact on children of different age groups 

  • Mental health, self esteem and identity 
  • Relationships with their parents, extended families and peers
  • School and academic achievements
  • Short- and long-term effect (including inter-generational trauma)

(d) Protective factors

Part 2:  Intervention Skills to Support Children and Adolescents Affected by Divorce

(a) Challenges

  • Difficulties faced when working with children
    • Heavily triangulated children
    • Fear of taking sides
    • Traumatised children
  • Difficulties when working with parents
    • Differing truths
    • Being triangulated into the acrimony of the divorce

(b) How to plan intervention for parents 

  • Psychoeducation
  • Co-parenting

(c) Child Inclusive Counselling and Mediation

  • Intake process
  • Child interview
  • Child interview tools

(d) Collaborating with other professionals

  • Why collaborate with other professionals (eg lawyers, court, child protective services)?
  • What does collaboration with other professionals involve?

(e) Best practice guidelines

About the Trainer

Sylvia Tan
Ms Sylvia Tan is a registered Counselling Psychologist and Clinical Supervisor. She earned her Master of Psychology (Counselling) degree from Australia in 2002.In all, Sylvia has 17 years of clinical experience working as a psychologist in outpatient psychiatric clinics, community and government agencies both in Australia and Singapore. She has seen adults, adolescents and children with mental health difficulties such as depression, bi-polar disorder, anxiety, trauma, complex trauma, psychosis or personality difficulties. She has also worked with couples and families undergoing martial difficulties, divorce and separation.Also, Sylvia has 10 years experience in divorce and child custody related matters . She previously worked in the Family Justice Courts and the Community Psychology Hub as the lead psychologist and clinical supervisor for child custody evaluation reports. She was a clinical supervisor for psychologists working in the Divorce Specialist Support Agencies (DSSAs), dealing with complex cases of parental alienation and child access problems.

Available Funding

Normal Fees: S$580

SkillsFuture Credit: Can be used to pay course fee fully or partially
NTUC UTAP: NTUC union members enjoy 50% unfunded course fee support, capped at $250 or $500 (aged 40 years old and above)
NCSS VCF Pre- Approval Funding: $174
​​Schools & Ministries: e-invoicing via