MA Counselling Psychology thesis defence

Academic Events
Trinity Western University
Board of Governors’ Hall, RSC
7600 Glover Road
Langley, BC V2Y 1Y1

Parenting Coordination: Helping & Hindering Factors

by:  Marianne Cottingham

Supervisor:  Dr. Marvin McDonald

Second Reader:  Dr. Bart Begalka

Third Reader: Dr. Jeff Chang, Associate Professor, Athabasca University, Alberta

Exam Chair:  Dr. Janelle Kwee


The purpose of this qualitative study was to explore the factors in parenting coordination that helped or hindered the successful resolution of family conflict in the child’s best interests.  The role of the parenting coordinator (PC) is a hybrid profession that combines psychology, conflict resolution, and arbitration to help parents who remain in high conflict following separation and divorce.  Using the enhanced critical incident technique (ECIT), eight PCs from the BC parenting coordinator roster society (BCPCRS) were interviewed.  The interview was semi-structured and an interview guide was used.  Participants were asked about helping and hindering factors in resolving conflict, as well as what other people, supports or programs they would have found helpful in their role as PCs.  Data was collected following the ECIT protocol, and nine credibility checks were completed to strengthen the reliability and validity of the study.  A total of 197 initial factors formed six helping categories, four hindering categories, and five wish-list categories.  The categories were organized into groupings: Ethics and Collaboration, Information and Resources, Relationship with the Legal System, Parent Factors, and PC Factors.  The results covered a wide range of aspects of parenting coordination, including PCs processes for resolving conflict and the context and dynamics in which PCs conduct their work.  This is the first study on parenting coordination in BC; the results contribute to a greater understanding of the profession for both professionals and the public.  Areas of complexity in parenting coordination and areas of further growth in this new profession were identified and discussed.