How is Collaborative Divorce Coaching different from Therapy?
Therapists help you unpack your bags and examine and sort the contents. Divorce Coaches help you carry your bags from one side of the street to the other.
The Collaborative Process is based on the belief that families can get through divorce in a more emotionally healthy way than is typical in other divorce processes. This happens when the couple is able to interact and communicate with each other in a respectful, honest, and open manner. Coaches are trained to teach each of you helpful communication and self-management skills which are necessary in your 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 so that all members of the team can share information as needed 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, by facilitating the negotiations; by teaching co-parenting skills; by teaching and modeling communication skills and 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; and by helping to develop co-parenting plans.
- Coaches help Attorneys and Financial Professionals 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, and 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 or 7-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 International Academy of Collaborative Professionals as well as Sacramento Collaborative Practice Group. Be sure to select a Coach and/or a Child Specialist who is experienced and trained in the Collaborative Practice model. See “How to Choose Your Collaborative Professionals”.