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As a divorce coach, I help you manage the pain and stress of changing relationships and lifestyle, while focusing on your goals for the present and the future. I work with you to make the most of your strengths, preserve your dignity, and be at your cooperative best during the collaborative divorce process.
Grief is a natural reaction to loss, and divorce from what once was a love relationship involves multiple losses:
Divorce ends a marriage, but need not sever family ties or relationships. When children are involved, lifelong responsibilities remain. My goal is to help you transition from post-divorce grief to an emotionally satisfying threshold and healthy new beginning.
It is well researched that what causes the most harm to children during and after a divorce is how parents handle themselves and their interactions with each other, not the divorce itself. A workable and respectful relationship between parents provides a sense of security for children during a difficult transition; just knowing that both parents care and are concerned about them even though they no longer live together.
Success in co-parenting rests on the parents’ willingness to step back from their own feelings about each other and focus on the children, their new relationship as co-parents, and the new family system they are establishing. Having been a divorced parent myself, I understand the impact that parents’ display of hard feelings can have on their children. I also understand the pain parents feel, as they attempt to cope with their anger and all of the myriad decisions they need to make, not only for their children, but also for their own dramatically changed lives.
My approach is to regard the children as my principal clients. The focus in our sessions is on the difficulties between the separated parents only as they affect their relationship, roles, or conduct as parents. This is not couples or marriage counseling. I work to make sure the parents’ focus is the children. My goal is to help parents unburden their children by learning to strengthen their ability to function and co-parent in ways that nurture their children’s well-being.
Through pre/post-divorce counseling, I help parents learn to change dysfunctional, emotionally-charged communication and behavior patterns by helping them adopt clearly-defined, respectful, and dispassionate approaches to problem-solving and decision-making.
Success requires the parent to always have their children’s best interest as their guiding value and be willing to examine and admit when that is not the value guiding their conduct. Parenting well is much about recognizing when you are not present to your child, rather than hovering or controlling your child’s life, especially when it comes to contact with the other parent. For example, telling your child on a regular basis how proud you are of them, and encouraging their relationship with their other parent. With this perspective, and with the new skills learned in counseling, parents can make a successful transition from embattled ex-spouse to empowered co-parent. The goal being to assure that your children are a priority, not a casualty
Children may suffer most from divorce and be least able to understand or express their feelings. Their world is turned upside-down in ways that they cannot comprehend. Communication with parents may be difficult, if not impossible, due to the child’s concerns about hurting the parent’s feelings, or because the parent is often not in an emotional place where they can actually hear what his/her child is saying. As a child specialist it is my job to meet with your children privately, assisting them in expressing their feelings and concerns about the divorce. Supporting your children in communicating their feelings, fears, concerns and hopes is essential to planning for a stabilized future.
Research shows that the more difficulty parents have in managing their disagreements and anger toward one another, the more difficulties their children are likely to have – with their siblings and peers, with their parents, with their teachers, with their self-image and, ultimately, in their future adult relationships. In fact, children’s needs intensify during and immediately following a divorce. Sadly, it is often when kids most need steady nurturance that their parents – stressed, angry, bitter, and in need of nurturance themselves – are least able to offer it to them.
I have years of experience working with children from families dealing with divorce. I provide a safe and comfortable place for children to work through the situation with which they are coping, by helping them regulate their emotions and improve their social skills so that they can get along better with peers and adults, and meet their potential socially and academically.