Benjamin Garber Seminar: September

Benjamin Garber.jpg
Benjamin Garber.jpg

Benjamin Garber Seminar: September

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Register for Ben Garber Seminar


Voice Not Choice: The Child's Wishes in the Context of Divorce and Development

Research, the law and practical necessity are all converging on the idea that the child deserves to be heard in family law matters with regard to his or her future care and well-being. This movement raises risks creating at least as many problems as it solves. Among these are questions about which children should be heard, by whom, under what conditions and what then to make of any opinion thus elicited. This full day interactive presentation puts the questions of voice and choice in the context of child and family development. The morning will lay a foundation for understanding the impact of co-parental conflict on children. Destructive dynamics including alienation, estrangement, and enmeshment will be explored, particularly as they impact the quality of the child’s attachment relationships. The afternoon will introduce the legal, psychological and practical rationales for inviting the child’s voice. Participants will end the day with specific guidelines and tools valuable for better understanding and serving the needs of children. 

This presentation is intended for family law professionals across guilds and regardless of experience, including guardians ad litem, mental health providers, forensic evaluators, child protective service and CASA workers, mediators, lawyers and judicial officers. 


The impact of co-parental conflict on the family system and development
     The myth of the mature minor
     Six systemic confounds

The chameleon child
     The hybrid model
Eliciting the child’s voice (recognizing and sidestepping systemic confounds)
    The problem with proximity and recency
     Bribes, threats, pressure and promises
     Multiple modalities, occasions and sources
     Face-to-face (F2F) interview is never sufficient

Drawings as grist for the mill
     The Query Grid
     Video prompting, text messaging and the value of YouTube
     Playing with blocks
     A process oriented evaluation paradigm

Learning Objectives

1.    Better understand and be prepared to identify the dynamics which can corrupt the child’s voice including alienation, estrangement and enmeshment
2.    Be better able to articulate both the reasons for and against introducing the child’s voice into contested family law litigation
3.    Be better prepared to determine whether and how a child’s voice should be heard and the weight it might be given as a function of development
4.    Acquire specific tools with which to elicit the child’s voice in the context of contested family law litigation  

Speaker: Benjamin D Garber PhD

Benjamin D. Garber, Ph.D. is a New Hampshire licensed psychologist, a prolific writer and a highly regarded speaker. He provides clinical services, forensic family evaluations, expert consultation and teaches topics in child and family development across the United States and Canada. Across roles and media and jurisdictions, Dr. Garber is an ardent advocate for children’s needs. Learn more about Dr. Garber’s services, publications and presentations at

He is the author of:

  • The Roadmap to the Parenting Plan Worksheet
  • Ten Child-Focused Family Evaluation Tools
  • Holding Tight, Letting Go
  • Developmental Psychology for Family Law Professionals
  • Keeping Kids out of the Middle

Continuing Education Credits

Unhooked Media will provide a certificate of attendance to all attendees. The certificate will verify attendance at the seminar and may be used to apply for continuing education credits with your accrediting organization in any state or province.

Arizona Mental Health Professionals
It is likely that our seminars qualify for continuing credits for the Arizona Board of Psychologist Examiners (R4-26-207) and the Board of Behavioral Health Examiners (A.A.C. R4-6-802) but please check the organizations rules.

Arizona Attorneys
The State Bar of Arizona does not approve or accredit CLE activities for the Mandatory Continuing Legal Education requirements of specialists. This activity may qualify for up to six (6) hours toward your annual CLE requirement for the State Bar of Arizona, including three (3) hour(s) of professional responsibility and including six (6) hours of advanced level training in the area of Family Law.

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