Multidisciplinary Collaborative Practice
I am pleased to report that Dr Amanda Shea Hart, child and family specialist and trained collaborative practitioner has commenced Adelaide's first multidisciplinary collaborative case with me and Bev Clark. Pauline Tesler and Linda Solomon along with other experienced collaborative practitioners have developed a multidisciplinary model of collaborative practice which has been used by many collaborative practitioners to deliver a model of collaborative practice that is an advance on the basic four way model involving two clients and their respective collaborative lawyers. In this multidisciplinary model, collaborative lawyers are the first point of contact for parties to a dispute but independent experts may be engaged at any time thereafter. For example, the parties may require advice from a property valuer, child psychologist, mediator or counsellor and they agree to retain these experts at the commencement of the collaborative process. The parties may adopt a multidisciplinary team approach which may involve a number of experts for the duration of the collaborative process or as and when required throughout the process. Known as a collaborative team, this group of experts provides advice which may relate to legal, psychological, emotional and/or financial issues. Other multidisciplinary models can involve the parties in first seeking advice from an accountant, family therapist and/or other expert who is familiar with the process. A family specialist may take on the role of collaborative coach, providing counselling services as well as assisting the parties to appoint collaborative lawyers and other independent experts whose advice may be necessary to resolve their dispute. Some of the four-way meetings may occur only between the lawyers and the parties, and these meetings will primarily involve legal issues. Other meetings will involve the coaches and parties and will focus on any psychological, relationship or communication problems that the parties are experiencing. Each member of the collaborative team will limit their advice and support to the particular issues in which they have expertise. As with legal professionals, all members of the team withdraw from the matter if the collaboration fails and the matter proceeds to court.