This article explores the process involved in the psychoanalytical psychotherapy of the family when a judge requests technical advice in cases of judicial separation. The therapist’s role in this setting is to protect the rights of emotion, so their sessions do not simply record the facts (in the form of a witness account); instead, they provide an opportunity to uncover and understand the relational meaning of such facts with a view to cognitive and transformative mentalization. Indeed, therapy can help children to express their emotional needs and help their parents to understand them. By working on both cognitive and phantasmatic levels, using paper-and-pencil tests and the "Conjoint Family Drawing" technique, the therapist can trigger the "ability to be surprised" (Winnicott, 1968; Schacht , 2001; Bolognini, 2001). Clinical examples in the article demonstrate how family members can open their senses and become aware of their children’s emotions.
Keywords: Technical advice in cases of judicial separation, family psychoanalytic psychotherapy, coparenting, Conjoint Family Drawing.