How is Collaborative Divorce Coaching different from Therapy?
The collaborative process is based on the belief that families can get through divorce in a more emotionally healthy way. This happens when you are able to interact and communicate with each other in a respectful, honest and open manner. Coaches are trained to teach you and your spouse helpful communication and self-management skills which are necessary in you settlement discussions, and in your post-divorce co-parenting. Strategies for communication around decision making and problem solving are critical to ensuring that your needs and interests are clearly expressed.
- Coaches are specially trained licensed mental health practitioners who work on multidisciplinary teams with family law professionals, including attorneys, financial specialists, vocational specialists and others. Releases are signed and the process is transparent.
- Mental Health practitioners may work as divorce coaches or neutral child specialists.
- Coaches help by identifying the underlying needs and wants, to facilitate the negotiations; by teaching co-parenting skills; by teaching and modeling communication skills, problem-solving skills; by helping you develop a roadmap for future relationships within the new family structure; by being a resource into the future as issues arise. They also help develop co-parenting plans.
- Coaches help attorneys by providing an overview of the emotional issues which are affecting the clients’ behavior or position; by consulting when there is an impasse in the case; by depathologizing the divorce process; by providing a safe place for clients to deal with emotions and volatility during the legal process; by focusing on the interest and needs of the family as a whole; by being the voice of the children or parent when necessary.
- Coaches communicate with each other and with the attorneys frequently. They meet in 4-way meetings or 6-way meetings with you and your spouse, and other professionals as necessary.
- The child specialist will work with the children and the parents to provide the children with an opportunity to voice their concerns regarding the divorce and to provide the parents with information and guidance to help their children through this process. The Child Specialist also gives information to the parents and the collaborative team that will help in developing an effective co-parenting plan for their children.
Coaches participate in ongoing case consultation, training, and study groups with other clinicians and with attorneys. They are all members of IACP as well as the local Marin County chapter. Be sure to select a coach who is experienced and trained in the collaborative practice model. See “How to Choose Your Collaborative Professionals”
The therapist helps you unpack your bags and examine and sort the contents. The Divorce Coach helps you carry your bags from one side of the street to the other.