Divorce – done with dignity and respect


93. Good Divorce

 

I’d like to think that with nearly 5 million divorces in the UK since the 1980s (about 150,000 per year) we’d be starting to hear stories of what worked and what didn’t when a couple went through their separation. I’d like to see a culture of sharing wisdom with the next generation; knowledge filtering out to men, women, families and lawyers about how best to navigate the divorce journey. I’d like to read in magazines and blogs, accounts of couples who put their children and wellbeing-for-all at the centre of their decision to shift from nuclear to extended family and that actually they made the subsequent life changes with ease and with a feeling of control and empowerment.

 

As yet, I’m really not seeing that information making it’s way in the mainstream media, however, I am meeting more and more couples who want a respectful separation and a working co-parenting relationship going forward. They come to me at Healthy Chat for mediation for 3 very important reasons:

  • They don’t want conflict to be at the centre of the separation they’re ready to make
  • They’re in agreement that living together is not bringing out the best in themselves or their children
  • They don’t want to invest £5000 – £25,000 in joint solicitor and lawyer fees when a divorce can be simply mediated and cost-effectively processed (and with the saved fees they can each holiday for a week in the sun!)

Here are the Top 3 suggestions on how to go about a peaceful divorce process:

 

1. Reject the myth of ‘divorce as a battle’

Choosing to separate because a marriage is no longer the best working model for a partnership or for parenting can be very liberating. The tradition model is one of conflict and battle and even when a couple can see the sense in divorce, often by the time they’ve each hired a lawyer to ‘protect their best interests’, the subtle suggestions of  ‘you could get more; you’ve been mistreated; your children might be taken away’ will drive a them into panic, blame and more legal-fee spending.

 

A more peaceful and up-to-date way of divorcing is to plan for a series of conversations (challenging at first perhaps – but they get easier) based around a concept of ‘more for all and less to none’. A couple and their children (age appropriately) can all be involved in these. Over a number of weeks and months a respectful and clear plan and time frame begins to evolve. Once that’s defined for everyone and all are in agreement, only then does the formal paperwork and reasoning get passed to a family lawyer to ensure the legal bit’s filed correctly.

 

2. Manage your expectations: commit 6 months to the process

An open mind is the trick to divorcing peacefully and in a reasonable time scale. There can be many mediated group and 1-2-1 conversations to be had during this time; each helping to clarify the wisest arrangements for both parties in relation to children, living arrangements, finances, work, re-training (if one parent requires extra support to up-skill to work for more income in the future), separation of possessions, holidays, pensions and future flexibility to re-negotiate the terms.

Will the transition be painful? – it’s different for everyone, but probably. Keep in mind that it will ease in time (especially if couples priorities compassion) and that remaining in a dissatisfying marriage for another 1-5 years before you get to this point creates extended hurt anyway.

 

3. Trust that conscious co-parenting is in your children’s best interest

Children sense tension in a household even if they can’t put it into words. They can end up being emotionally better off in the long term once their parents agree to step up, communicate and make some changes. It might be that, through some mediated conversations, some new skills and knowledge are learned and a marriage takes on a new lease of life and everyone is happier (it happens!); and it could also be that separating whilst keeping the children’s best interests at the centre of the changes brings similar happiness over time too.

 

For sure this is not a simple subject and relationships are different for everyone. Life is long and it’s a good principle to re-confirm that you have many choices of how the future can be. If you can’t quite work out how to get to where you want to go for now, then borrowing a brain at Healthy Chat to help you get clarity may be a very wise first step.

 

 

Jennifer Broadley is the founder of www.HealthyChat.co.uk. Since 2012 she has worked full time delivering therapeutic, life-changing conversations from her private practices in Aberdeen, Dundee and the north of Scotland. She additionally works with UK clients by phone and European clients by skype. In 2002 Jennifer set up an executive coaching company supporting the continued high performance of business leaders and entrepreneurs working for medium and large companies – she is still active in this sector through www.JenniferBroadley.com.

 

Jennifer was brought up in West Africa, educated in Scotland and lived and worked in Hong Kong, Australia and Indonesia before returning to a London base in 1997. She and her daughter now live on the UK's east coast, where she continues to coach and write. Jennifer is a writer and a published author. Her first book 'The 7 Steps to Personal & Professional Freedom'®, is available on www.Amazon.co.uk. For therapy or executive coaching enquiries please email, message or call Jennifer via her websites.

 



The mental & emotional health of our children and young adults


 

54. KidsMentalHealthOver the course of this year, as a counsellor in Aberdeen, and a therapist in Dundee, I’ve treated nearly as many children and young people using Human Given’s psychotherapy as I have adults. Most arrive with anxiety-related symptoms – poor sleep, aggressive, cluster headaches, school refusal, over or under eating. Some are self harming or are suffering from depression. Most have had one if not many conversations with their school medics and their family GP. Some have already had therapy with varying degrees of success.

 

All of the children I see with mental and emotional health issues receive Human Given’s therapy from the first minute of the first session with me. It’s rare to still have a client with me after 4 sessions – although occasionally I’ve see a few for up to 6 sessions.

 

So what is it that Human Given’s therapy supplies to these young people that they’re missing out on elsewhere. Here’s what I think they’re benefitting from in the most part:

 

1. Deep listening: the sort of listening that rarely happens with parents because that’s just not most family designs. And it doesn’t happen with friends and peers because at 13-25 years old they’re simply not equipped with those life skills yet. So for many, the first time they get to sit down, uninterrupted for 60-90 minutes and just voice their thoughts, their ideas, their challenges, is in a therapeutic Healthy Chat. My job as much as is possible is to concentrate hard on the words, the tone, what’s being said, what’s being skated over; reflect back what I think I’ve heard; ask for more.

 

2. Releasing questions: the sort of enquiry that helps that teenager or young adult to recognise where they’re skilled; to link their multiple resources together; to see for themselves that where they’re at right now is not a dead end or a no-hope situation, but a chance to test their intelligence, self-discipline, communication techniques, powers of persuasion and reslience to a whole new level.

 

3. Practical knowledge: most clients, children to adults, who come to see me don’t have a working understanding of their own brains. They understand to some extent what learning and intellect is, but they’re fascinated to hear about the parts of their brain they can control consciously and the parts that control them without their knowledge. Knowing how it works helps to form a strategy on how to use it for the outcome they want.

 

4. Mindset expansion: when we change our approach to something, that thing changes. And if young people have one common trait it’s being creative about what else they could try. Working it out in a safe place, with an unattached-to-the-rest-of-their-life grown-up is mental medicine for most of them. (And reporting back their successes at the next session is mental medicine for me!)

 

5.  Mental & emotional rehearsal: this is the main fast-tracking piece of Human Given’s therapy and most often works because it delivers a speedy confidence lift to a person who, right in that moment, realises ‘I can’. When I take a young person through a process where they can literally see, feel and sense themselves achieving what they’ve talked about, it changes how they perceive themselves – and that’s powerful.

 

African-American social reformer, Fredrick Douglass knew his stuff when he said: “Its easier to build strong children than repair broken men”.

 

Aware parents will keep on researching until they arrive at an answer for their children’s emotional and mental health & wellbeing. If that’s you and you know there’s something more that would benefit your child, niece, nephew or teenager of friends – genuinely consider calling me now at Healthy Chat. It’s what I’m here for.

 

 

Jennifer Broadley is the founder of www.HealthyChat.co.uk. Since 2012 she has worked full time delivering therapeutic, life-changing conversations from her private practices in Aberdeen, Dundee and the north of Scotland. She additionally works with UK clients by phone and European clients by skype. In 2002 Jennifer set up an executive coaching company supporting the continued high performance of business leaders and entrepreneurs working for medium and large companies – she is still active in this sector through www.JenniferBroadley.com.

 

Jennifer was brought up in West Africa, educated in Scotland and lived and worked in Hong Kong, Australia and Indonesia before returning to a London base in 1997. She and her daughter now live on the UK's east coast, where she continues to coach and write. Jennifer is a writer and a published author. Her first book 'The 7 Steps to Personal & Professional Freedom'®, is available on www.Amazon.co.uk. For therapy or executive coaching enquiries please email, message or call Jennifer via her websites.

 



Human Givens – not all therapies are the same


343. ok-ok

 

If you were to Google ‘Counsellors in Dundee’ or in fact therapists in any city in the UK, you’d be faced with pages of choices. So how do you choose who you’re going to call first? And, more to the point, who can help you get the fastest, most lasting results?

 

At Healthy Chat we use a therapy call Human Givens. It’s called that because it integrates a great range of techniques proven to be effective in getting a person’s innate emotional needs met and thus bringing them back on track to living a fulfilled, happy life.

 

Here’s how the Human Given’s College explains why it gets such strong results fast:

“We are all born with innate knowledge programmed into us from our genes. Throughout life we experience this knowledge as feelings of physical and emotional need.

 

These feelings evolved over millions of years and, whatever our cultural background, are our common biological inheritance. They are the driving force that motivates us to become fully human and succeed in whatever environment we find ourselves in. It is because they are incorporated into our biology at conception that we call them ‘human givens’.

 

Given physical needs: As animals we are born into a material world where we need air to breathe, water, nutritious food and sufficient sleep. These are the paramount physical needs. Without them, we quickly die. In addition we also need the freedom to stimulate our senses and exercise our muscles. We instinctively seek sufficient and secure shelter where we can grow and reproduce ourselves and bring up our young. These physical needs are intimately bound up with our emotional needs — the main focus of human givens psychology.

 

Given emotional needs: Emotions create distinctive psychobiological states in us and drive us to take action. The emotional needs nature has programmed us with are there to connect us to the external world, particularly to other people, and survive in it. They seek their fulfillment through the way we interact with the environment. Consequently, when these needs are not met in the world, nature ensures we suffer considerable distress — anxiety, anger, depression etc. — and our expression of distress, in whatever form it takes, impacts on those around us.

 

People whose emotional needs are met in a balanced way do not suffer mental health problems. When psychotherapists and teachers pay attention to this they are at their most effective.

 

In short, it is by meeting our physical and emotional needs that we survive and develop as individuals and a species.

 

There is widespread agreement as to the nature of our emotional needs. The main ones are listed below.

Emotional needs include:

  • Security — safe territory and an environment which allows us to develop fully
  • Attention (to give and receive it) — a form of nutrition
  • Sense of autonomy and control — having volition to make responsible choices
  • Emotional intimacy — to know that at least one other person accepts us totally for who we are, “warts ‘n’ all”
  • Feeling part of a wider community
  • Privacy — opportunity to reflect and consolidate experience
  • Sense of status within social groupings
  • Sense of competence and achievement
  • Meaning and purpose — which come from being stretched in what we do and think”

 

At Healthy Chat our primary focus in on helping each client get their emotional needs met healthily. Not all therapy is the same. Not all searches for ‘Counsellors in Dundee’ will lead you to Healthy Chat. I hope having read this though, that’s exactly what it does.

 

 

Jennifer Broadley is the founder of www.HealthyChat.co.uk. Since 2012 she has worked full time delivering therapeutic, life-changing conversations from her private practices in Aberdeen, Dundee and the north of Scotland. She additionally works with UK clients by phone and European clients by skype. In 2002 Jennifer set up an executive coaching company supporting the continued high performance of business leaders and entrepreneurs working for medium and large companies – she is still active in this sector through www.JenniferBroadley.com.

 

Jennifer was brought up in West Africa, educated in Scotland and lived and worked in Hong Kong, Australia and Indonesia before returning to a London base in 1997. She and her daughter now live on the UK's east coast, where she continues to coach and write. Jennifer is a writer and a published author. Her first book 'The 7 Steps to Personal & Professional Freedom'®, is available on www.Amazon.co.uk. For therapy or executive coaching enquiries please email, message or call Jennifer via her websites.

 



Dying from too much comfort …


49. Too much2

 

Sometime I notice differences between being a therapist in Aberdeen vs a therapist in Dundee. Clients from the latter (not all) often action change more quickly than clients (not all) from the former. I wonder whether there might be something underlying that?

 

I recently went to hear Pauline Sanderson speak. She’s an adventurer who, with 6 others back in 2006, completed a cycle of 8150 miles, starting at the Dead Sea in Jordan and continuing on through Syria, Turkey, Iran, Pakistan, India and Nepal to Tibet. As if that wasn’t character building enough, the team then traded in their cycling gear for climbing equipment and over the next 4 weeks summited Mount Everest. They were the first team in history to complete the world’s longest climb (8,430 meters from the Dead Sea to the peak of Everest).

 

One of the first questions Sanderson asked us all was – ‘what’s the no. 1 thing that stops most people fulfilling their purpose?’. Answers like, money, fear and family commitments were offered up and we were told that each was somewhere on the list, but not at the top. Surprisingly (to me) Sanderson revealed: ‘the no.1 reason we don’t reach our dreams is: too much comfort’.

 

That triggered a whole number of connecting thoughts for me.

 

When I trained as a Human Given’s Therapist back in 2011 I remember Joe Griffin, the co-founder of the institute, being asked ‘is there a theme that runs through your toughest cases over the decades you’ve been a therapist?.’ The room fully expected to hear that ‘addiction, relationships, or depression’ might be most difficult to treat. But no, again a surprise response (for me) from Griffin was ‘my hardest cases almost always involve: entitlement’.

 

And this theme has been borne out over and over again in my own practice; clients from privileged backgrounds, raised from childhood to expect the world to conform to their expectations, over time, when that doesn’t materialise, can turn to drink, drugs or depression in response. When they seek out help, strategies for change agreed inside a session prompt little or no change because these clients have an extraordinarily complex web of ‘reasons why not’ and ‘here’s why that wouldn’t work for me’.

 

To some extent the same applies to women or men who have experienced comfort for an extended amount of time in later life – they’re financially sound, in defined relationships, reasonably physically healthy – yet super-unmotivated. They’re often clear about what they’d like to see be different in the future (extended travelling, new career, relationship changes, charitable work, more learning) but are fearful of taking the first step. Over months and years of compromising they experience increasing frustration. This can then show through excessive drinking, smoking, exercise, affairs, gambling, comparison with others (at work, school, with wealth or fitness), over-focussing on children or partner, big reactions to seemingly small things (re-decorating again!), apparently constantly super-busy – the list is endless.

 

In Human Givens therapy, there are 14 emotional health factors that a therapist will measure with every client they work with. One of the questions on this initial audit is: ‘Are you being mentally and/or physically stretched in ways which give you a sense that life is meaningful’.  It’s this one response that I’m now becoming super-aware of – not just for my clients but in my own life too (we’re all work’s in progress).

 

The questions I’m now asking myself are: ‘Am I using my present comfort to excuse me taking risks’; ‘Is it really true that other people are benefitting from me staying as I am?’; ‘Could doing nothing actually be more damaging that doing something’: ‘What am I most scared of … and what if I go ahead and start that thing anyway’?

 

What would your answers be? And if you’re interest in the full 14-question emotional audit -just get in touch.

 

 

Jennifer Broadley is the founder of www.HealthyChat.co.uk. Since 2012 she has worked full time delivering therapeutic, life-changing conversations from her private practices in Aberdeen, Dundee and the north of Scotland. She additionally works with UK clients by phone and European clients by skype. In 2002 Jennifer set up an executive coaching company supporting the continued high performance of business leaders and entrepreneurs working for medium and large companies – she is still active in this sector through www.JenniferBroadley.com.

 

Jennifer was brought up in West Africa, educated in Scotland and lived and worked in Hong Kong, Australia and Indonesia before returning to a London base in 1997. She and her daughter now live on the UK's east coast, where she continues to coach and write. Jennifer is a writer and a published author. Her first book 'The 7 Steps to Personal & Professional Freedom'®, is available on www.Amazon.co.uk. For therapy or executive coaching enquiries please email, message or call Jennifer via her websites.