It is normal to feel grief, anger, fear, anxiety, and other emotions when divorcing, even if the divorce is mutual. However, in some cases, these negative emotions can affect the ability of the parties to settle their disputes. A mental health professional can be invaluable in such situations.
Many people going through divorce seek out a therapist for one on one counseling. However, the divorce process itself can include a mental health professional if parties seek a collaborative divorce. A collaborative divorce process is an alternative method of dispute resolution where both parties are represented by a specially trained attorney and work with a team of financial and mental health experts to come to a mutually agreeable settlement. While each spouse has his or her own attorney, the financial and mental health professionals are neutral parties offering guidance to both sides.
The licensed mental health professional acts as a divorce coach. He or she helps facilitate communication, identifies impediments to the process, and/or raises certain emotional concerns that need to be addressed. This enables the parties to address negative emotions and work through their issues in a positive way so they can find common ground. These professionals have substantial experience working with divorcing couples and also receive specialized training in collaborative divorce by the International Association of Collaborative Professionals (IACP).
Where there are children, a child specialist may also be involved to help the parties act in the best interests of their children. Parents can have a difficult time helping children adjust to divorce while also managing their own emotions especially if the divorce is contentious. Such specialists are licensed mental health professionals with additional training in collaborative divorce and child development. They may assist parents in communicating effectively with and providing emotional support to their children. They also provide guidance on developing co-parenting plans and strategies to help children make the transition to two households.
While these experts are not a replacement for individual counseling, they do provide insights and advice which can help spouses resolve their conflicts without a court battle. Collaborative divorce is not right for everyone. As a Divorce Sherpa, I strive to assist couples in taking the right path that gives them a positive divorce experience. Ultimately, I hope to make it easier for them and their children to heal and feel more confident in taking the next step in their lives.
If you are interested in learning more, contact me for a consultation today.