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.