My practice is based on the belief that separation is an emotional crisis with legal and financial consequences.
The emotions and responses that people experience during separation are profound; they include fear, loss, anger, grief, chaos, shame, guilt, hurt, depression and feelings of failure.
At the same time as trying to cope with those feelings, you are asked to make many major life decisions for yourself and your children. In my experience, this is an impossible burden without support.
Support when you need it most
When you are facing an uncertain future and perhaps feeling more vulnerable than you've ever felt before, it's reassuring to know that professional help is available.
As part of my role as a Family Law Specialist and Collaborative Professional, I partner with highly qualified and experienced psychologists and counsellors. These are the people I trust to assist my clients to navigate the maze that seems to be ahead of them in separation.
They are trained to offer support and guidance, come up with solutions to problems that once seemed insurmountable and ultimately help you negotiate a mutually satisfactory divorce agreement.
I work with psychologists and counsellors in several ways.
Helping you to see the light
Firstly, I often recommend that you take the time to simply talk through the issues that you've been worrying about with a psychologist or counsellor.
Each is highly skilled and experienced in working with couples and families, especially when there are relationship difficulties and separation. They really are there for you.
Their role is to support you, to help you work through your complex feelings, and to clarify the steps that you will take towards healing and settlement.
Helping you reach agreement
Secondly, I also work alongside psychologists and counsellors in collaborative negotiations about money and assets, and plans for your children.
In this role, the psychologist or counsellor is not doing therapy work. Instead they are neutral, and offer a balanced voice without taking anyone's side. They have in-depth knowledge of the emotional and psychological aspects of separation, and spend time helping you to communicate effectively and work towards your goals for your own and your families' future healthy functioning.
The neutral psychologist in collaboration does this by:
- coaching and supporting you through the decision making process
- helping you and your partner to identify and change old communication habits that can stand in the way of effective communication
- supporting you around the negotiation table, to make sure that your voice is heard, and that the things that are personally important to you are openly discussed
- managing conflict that can arise in negotiations
- ensuring that communication and understanding between all the people in the room is clear
Easing the emotional and financial burden
I believe that working with a psychologist/counsellor in this way positively changes the experience of reaching agreements, making the process much more time and cost effective.
You may be worried that utilising the services of a psychologist will add to the cost of your divorce, but it's my experience that the opposite is true.
Legal costs are almost always higher when there is no psychologist/counsellor involved in the divorce process.
This is because there is frequently time spent on negotiations that are really about something other than the issues that are supposed to be under discussion. A psychologist or counsellor will keep the negotiations on track and will ensure that everyone's voice is heard.