Help children work through their feelings and the common problems that arise from parental separation or divorce while drawing on their faith and Catholic teachings.


Lynn Cassella-Kapusinski, author of When Parents Divorce or Separate, appeared in a 5-part program on EWTN's Women of Gracehosted by Johnette Benkovic.  The series can be purchased here 

 

When Parents Divorce or Separate Workbook and Leader's eGuide

Divorce and separation are painful experiences, particularly for children. Children may not fully understand what is happening between their parents. They may think that they are at fault, or feel like they are caught in the middle. As the divorce or separation unfolds and major changes in family structure and dynamics start to take place, children may become overwhelmed by their reactions.

Author Lynn Cassella-Kapusinki-a child of divorce who is a National Certified Counselor with a background in pastoral counseling and experience in Catholic-based ministry programs for children of divorce or separation-knows these realities all too well. Writing from both a personal and professional perspective, she comfortingly embraces children into the community of children of divorce and separation, and also into the community of God's children and God's family: the Church.

Formed by the truths of the Catholic faith and by what professionals in family counseling have found helpful, this guide through parental divorce and separation designed for children ages 8-12 blends faith with interactive elements. Whether you are a parent, guardian, caretaker, counselor, therapist, support group leader, or ministry program coordinator, with this resource, you can provide your child with a safe space for coping, healing, and growing.

Chapters cover the entire experience of divorce or separation-its development, onset, duration, and aftermath-and acknowledge a child's emotional, mental, and physical responses amidst these stages. Children can address their feelings through:

  • Realistic vignettes
  • Journaling spaces
  • Writing prompts
  • Drawing and coloring
  • Helpful tips and practical information
  • Reflection Questions
  • Prayer

In this approach, children can discover a path toward moving forward. 

 

When Parents Divorce or Separate E-Guide 

When parents divorce or separate, support groups can be a lifeline for children who feel adrift in their family’s changing circumstances. Developed in response to requests from those in pastoral ministry across the country, When Parents Divorce or Separate: Leader E-Guide provides a framework of group counseling sessions that group leaders can use to help children recover and move forward. 

Designed to accompany When Parents Divorce or Separate: I Can Get Through This, by Lynn Casella Kapusinski, MS, LGPC, this leader e-guide makes planning a children’s support group easy with ready-made sessions, thoughtful advice, and extensive information. 

Eight formatted sessions and downloadable handouts are included. Crafted after years of experience with children of divorce groups, this valuable resource will assist caring adults in leading a safe and healing group experience for children ages 8–12. 

Available in PDF, mobi and epub format.


How this Resource Will Help You

The intent of this resource is to assist adults to initiate and facilitate a Family Changes Group. This program is designed to help young people move through the grief and difficulties of their parents’ separation and divorce in an ordered and specific way that is developmentally appropriate.  Since separation and divorce is a chaotic and emotional time for children, the structure of our pastoral response is very important. The structure  offered through this program not only helps them feel less overwhelmed, but also provides encouragement to accept, confront, and process difficult feelings and problems that children are otherwise likely to push away.

In utilizing the When Parents Divorce or Separate guidebook, this Leader’s Guide provides detailed, ready-to-use session plans and other practical information to help leaders run an 8-week group program. These plans can be modified to accommodate shorter programs or day retreats. Faith Journeys has received very positive feedback from children and parents who have participated in these sessions. 

Why Start a Family Changes Group?

All children have pastoral needs, and children from families experiencing divorce or separation have a specific set of needs stemming from that experience. A Family Changes Group provides a critically important outreach. First, children from separated and divorced families experience a complicated type of grief that, if not sufficiently navigated and resolved, can put them at higher risk for divorce themselves. In addition, while children may not require therapy, they do need the assistance of caring, professionally trained adults to help them process their loss and learn positive coping and communication skills for moving forward.

Group Program Format

This Leader’s Guide provides detailed, ready-to-use session plans and other practical information to help interested adults run an 8-week group program. Our group program consists of eight sessions held on the same day/time each week. It is designed for a small group of four to eight participants in grades three through six.

About the Faith Journeys Foundation

Since 2002, Faith Journeys Foundation, Inc., has been providing pastoral care programs for children and adolescents from divorced and separated families. Utilizing materials and resources written by the Founder and President, Lynn Cassella-Kapusinski, MS, LGPC, Faith Journeys has pioneered outreach to children who have experienced the pain of family break up. As a Catholic “child of divorce,” Lynn knows firsthand about the difficulties and grief experienced by these young people because she has lived through them herself. As a happily married woman, Lynn also understands the challenges this wound can pose in forming healthy relationships, as well as the importance of bringing God’s healing presence and the wisdom of Church teaching into the situation. In addition to her own experience and years in the field, Lynn has graduate training in pastoral counseling and currently works as a Catholic school counselor.

Contact Faith Journeys and the Author

For more information about developing a pastoral care program for your parish, school, or diocese, please visit the Faith Journeys website at www.faithjourneys.org, and  to contact them directly with your questions.

About the Author

Lynn Cassella-Kapusinski, MS, LGPC, knows the difficulties and grief experienced by children from divorced families because she has lived through them herself. Through her foundation, Faith Journeys, Lynn ministers to children who are struggling with their parents’ separation or divorce. Lynn obtained a BA from the University of Notre Dame and a MS in Pastoral Counseling from Loyola University Maryland. Lynn is a Licensed Graduate Professional Counselor, and also works as a school counselor. Her professional experience includes conducting family, individual, and group therapy with children, teens, young adults and adults.

More about Lynn Cassella-Kapusinski

 

 

Praise for the When Parents Divorce Leaders eGuide

As a family life minister, I especially appreciate the attention to the whole family system found in Family Change. The Leader’s Guide provides multiple connections between parent and child before, during, and following the group sessions. By following the well-organized meeting plans, facilitators will be able to work confidently with the children, while keeping parents in the picture and helping them build stronger relationships at home.

Dr. Lauri Przybysz, D.Min., Coordinator of Marriage and Family Life, Archdiocese of Baltimore


Praise for When Parents Divorce or Separate

Father with boys

“… a Catholic approach for children coping with the aftermath of divorce. Engaging stories and interactive reflection create an inviting framework for young people to pray, process, and better understand how divorce and separation impacts the whole family. From addressing feelings, to learning empathy, to practicing forgiveness, Lynn Cassella-Kapusinski offers realistic, heartening, and spiritually uplifting reflections in a manner that speaks to children about their identity, their integrity, and their relationship to God.”
- Cardinal Donald Wuerl, Archbishop of Washington, DC 

 

“When Parents Divorce or Separate is a resource for any family, school, or program that wants to help children of divorced or separated parents understand the role of God and faith in their lives after the pain. Lynn Cassella-Kapusinski gives children and parents a good roadmap that allows the beauty of Catholic teaching to inform the recovery and rebuilding process.”
- Cardinal Francis George, O.M.I., Archbishop of Chicago 

 

A must for parents and all therapists who work with Christian children in the aftermath of divorce. This sensitive, useful, and practical Catholic guide is an invaluable tool for preventing the generational wound of divorce from being carried forward.”
- Ana Maria Anastasiades, MD,Member, American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry 

 

“I can’t think of a better book to put into the hands of a child suffering because of their parents’ divorce. This book is full of hope!”
- Lisa Duffy, Author of Divorced. Catholic: Now What?, co-founder of DivorcedCatholic.org managing editor of CatholicMatch.com’s divorced Catholics portal 

 

“The best book I have ever seen for helping children deal with divorce or separation. This book provides practical, meaningful advice kids can apply to their lived experience, within the framework of Catholic teaching.”
- Deacon Harold Burke-Sivers, EWTN Host of Made in His Image: Family Life Today
Author of The Mass in Sacred Scripture


 

More About Lynn Cassella-Kapusinski

As a pastoral counselor and Catholic child of divorce, Lynn Cassella-Kapusinski, MS, LGPC, has answered the call to help other children from divorced families rise above this adversity and equip them to move beyond it. 

Lynn’s parents separated when she was eleven, then divorced five years later. This experience has given her a firsthand understanding of the grief children from divorced families experience as well as the obstacles they face in overcoming it. 

In 2002, Lynn founded Faith Journeys, a Catholic non-profit organization in Ellicott City, MD, to assist the many young people she had met who were struggling with their parents’ divorce and its aftermath. In particular, she wanted to offer them the tools that had helped her: relying on God and the Catholic Church, and finding a safe place to express grief. 

Faith Journeys is unique in that it offers healing frameworks specifically for children from divorced families that are based on Catholic Church teachings, pastoral counseling concepts, and the personal experience of an adult child of divorce who is happily married.

Our curriculums are contained in three books:  When Parents Divorce or Separate: I Can Get Through This (Pauline Books & Media 2013); Now What Do I Do? A Guide to Help Teenagers with Their Parents’ Separation or Divorce (ACTA Publications 2006); and Making Your Way After Your Parents’ Divorce: A Supportive Guide for Personal Growth. These books have been endorsed by numerous Catholic leaders, including Donald Cardinal Wuerl and Edwin Cardinal O’Brien. 

Lynn’s work has also been recognized by His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI, the Pontifical John Paul II Institute for Studies on Marriage and the Family, and the Knights of Columbus. The text of her ministry model for separated and divorced families has been translated into Spanish, French, and Italian. In addition, Faith Journeys has worked in collaboration with the Archdioceses of Washington and Baltimore, the Dioceses of Pittsburgh and Harrisburg, the NCEA, and Catholic Divorce Ministry. 

Lynn has been featured on NBC-TV, Fox 45 TV, Catholic TV, Good Life Television, SIRIUS Catholic Radio, and other media outlets across the nation. 

Lynn obtained her BA degree from the University of Notre Dame and her MFA from Vermont College of Fine Arts. She also has a MS Degree in Pastoral Counseling from Loyola University in Maryland, and is a Licensed Graduate Professional Counselor.  

The mercy of God is his loving concern for each one of us.

God desires our wellbeing and wants to see us happy, full of joy and peaceful.
(Pope Francis)