Relative Evolutions - Evolve, Don't Dissolve
Nov 28, 2016 - divorce    No Comments

Divorce Coach vs. Collaborative Law Coach

Collaborative Divorce CoachEarlier this month, I attended training for professionals looking to participate in the Collaborative Divorce Process. Collaborative teams typically consist of two attorneys (one to represent each party), a financial professional (neutral) and a coach (neutral). Since I’m a coach and an overall divorce enthusiast, I jumped at the opportunity to deepen my knowledge about this topic. I went, even though I’m not eligible to participate on a collaborative team. I’m not eligible, you see, because there’s a difference between a Divorce Coach (me) and a Coach in the collaborative process.  Let’s investigate…

First, an analogy to illustrate the difference between a coach and a therapist:  Let’s say you’re on a journey and you have a suitcase full of stuff. If you take the suitcase to a therapist, s/he will help you unpack the contents of your suitcase. Together, you’ll examine where you’ve been and the experiences you gained along the way. If, on the other hand, you take that same suitcase to a coach, the coach will simply help you move forward to your next destination. Therapy is a deeper process, while coaching is more directional.

Now, let’s talk about the different kinds of coaches…

A Divorce Coach works one-on-one with clients moving through a divorce process- any divorce process, be it litigation, mediation, collaboration or DIY. In this case, the coach is an ally. Someone who’s on your side. Someone who will help you examine where you are, discover where you want to go and determine the appropriate course to get there. The coach’s job is to provide enthusiasm, assist with strategies and hold his/her client accountable for the decisions they make and the actions they take.

A Collaborative Law Coach is most likely (depending on state guidelines) a licensed mental health professional with a background in providing therapy. On a collaborative team, therapeutic knowledge is beneficial while the therapeutic approach is swapped for a more facilitative role. The collaborative coach functions as a neutral party who meets with both partners. In discussions with the coach, transparency is king and any information disclosed may be shared with all members of the team. While the coach is a resource who can help couples with their communication or the construction of a parenting plan, the primary function of this role is to assist in facilitating the divorce process. By agreement, individuals may not use the coach for therapeutic services (not even after the divorce is final) as that would compromise neutrality.

So there you have it:  an individual on a divorce journey might utilize the services of a therapist, a divorce coach and a collaborative law coach– each of them a different person, serving a different purpose. Isn’t it wonderful to know there are so many resources available to help ensure a productive divorce process? As always, I recommend anyone moving through the process be mindful when choosing and using divorce professionals. A brief consultation can help you learn more about the professional’s presence, strategies, commitment and cost.

Nov 16, 2016 - Uncategorized    2 Comments

Healthy Divorce Is On The Horizon

Welcome to Healthy Divorce

Healthy Divorce is Here

Yesterday I attended the Make Divorce Healthier Symposium in Blue Bell, PA. And it was awesome. I’m still feeling a little… what’s word? high?… from the experience, which was more like an immersion. Between 7:30 and 4:30pm, I was surrounded by more than 130 other professionals who were equally dedicated to healthy divorce. For the first time ever, I told someone “I love divorce,” and was met with the response, “Me too!”

Wow. And, yay!

Throughout the day, I was inspired and encouraged. I listened to a presentation from Dr. William Doherty in healthy-divorce-definitionwhich he discussed divorce ambivalence and the value of discernment counseling for couples who are about to separate. I attended a session led by a lawyer and therapist, each with the common goal of setting appropriate expectations for the process. Another session was dedicated to the empowerment of spouses who’d previously chosen to run the household instead of an office. I facilitated a roundtable discussion about how coaching and mentoring can expedite a healthy divorce for couples as well as professionals. Outside my personal schedule, attendees addressed how to tell the kids, compassionate communication, intelligent/equitable financial decisions, parenting separately, modern law vs. reality, and much more.

Throughout the day, I connected with a plethora of lawyers, therapists, coaches, authors, mediators and financial planners. Our collective group talked about culture, language, generational concerns, teammates and tools to empower family members. We opened our minds, challenged our previously-held beliefs and deepened our wells of knowledge. Together, we were powerful and productive, determined to bring positive change to a traditionally not-so-positive process.

I feel immensely honored to have been included in such a groundbreaking event. And it was right here in Pennsylvania! Now more than ever, I can feel the old paradigm shifting. The Future of Divorce is here, and it’s healthy.

healthy-divorce-resources

 

 

Nov 1, 2016 - divorce    No Comments

Making Divorce Healthier

Change is coming. Can you feel it? It’s been happening for a few years, now. While I’ve been out there typing my message and talking to anyone who will listen, others have also been hard at work. We now have more coaches. We have more mediators. Sometimes mediation is required before a couple can see a judge. Collaborative Divorce is a thing- an option gaining in popularity (in some areas more than others). More parents see the value in “conscious uncoupling.” And…slowly but surely, we’re seeing events devoted to the topic of divorce and separation.

The one I’m most excited about right now is one that’s taking place near Philadelphia on November 15 (only two weeks away!). It’s called The Make Divorce Healthier Symposium, and I’m a proud sponsor. Throughout the day, divorce professionals will have the chance to attend breakout sessions devoted to finances, parenting, empowerment and family law. I’m excited to lead an afternoon roundtable discussion about encouraging healthy processes through coaching and mentoring.

This symposium will be the first of its kind (that I know of) in the area, and it’s going to be a full house. I can barely contain my excitement, as I’m bursting with enthusiasm for what this represents:  A new awakening. A bigger and more productive discussion. A tribe of professionals devoted to turning the tide and making a difference in the lives of countless families.

The movement is gaining momentum. A New Divorce is dawning.

Oct 25, 2016 - divorce    No Comments

New Thank Your Ex Challenge

thank your ex challenge

thank your ex challenge

Just in time for Thanksgiving:  my next Thank Your Ex Challenge will begin on November 7. Join me for five days of positive reflection to embrace and integrate your past. Together, we’ll cultivate a joyful expression of gratitude to soothe those lingering pangs of pain and resentment.

Learn more and sign up HERE.

Oct 18, 2016 - divorce    2 Comments

Before Letting Go, Do This

Trees preparing to let go

Fall Drive

This afternoon, I took a drive. It was a gorgeous day featuring unseasonably warm temperatures, so I opened the sun roof, cranked up some Ani DiFranco tunes and hit the back roads. As I drove, a few leaves floated into my car, and I thought about the beauty of autumn and the lessons the trees teach us about letting go.

And I realized, for as long as I’ve appreciated nature’s release of that-which-no-longer serves, there’s an element of the process that I overlooked. A rather important element:

Before the trees release their leaves, they stop feeding them.

It’s a simple fact that’s easily overlooked in nature, yet when it comes to letting go of things in our lives, the factor becomes much more important. When a relationship ends, the natural progression is to feel, then release and move on.

We hear it all the time (and, I say it all the time):  just let go.  Let go of anger. Let go of sadness. Let go of him/her. Let go of the past.

It’s absolutely true that the act of letting go is freeing and feels fabulous. But there’s a process behind the release. You can’t simply let go of something you’re actively nourishing. That’s why green leaves don’t fall from trees unless they’re ripped away by an external force.

What does it mean to stop feeding an old relationship? It’s a little different for everyone. But some common elements include:

Stop replaying old events in your mind.
Stop trying to understand.
Stop imagining how things could’ve been different.
Stop stalking your ex (on social media, via the children or friends, etc).
Stop nurturing an intimate connection.

Quite simply:  don’t direct your energy toward the past. What might you do instead?

Focus on self care.
Imagine your new future and work to create it.
Nurture other relationships.

The act of letting go won’t happen immediately after we stop feeding remnants of the old partnership. Like the trees, we continue to carry that which was a part of us. Throughout the process, we change. We become lighter… more vibrant… and then, when the time is right, when it’s clear there’s no point in holding on, and we have nothing to lose, we let go, allowing the past to crumble at our feet. What was once our burden becomes our strength as we stand tall to face a new season.

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