A divorce coach is a licensed mental health professional who is skilled in handling issues related to separation and divorce. They are trained in communication skills, dynamics and mediation. This enables them to help one (or both) parties of a divorcing couple with the psychological and emotional challenges they face in divorcing. While the coach does use therapeutic skills in the process, their function is not as a therapist
Why use a divorce coach? While a divorce is a legal process, it's more than just a legal process. There are emotional and financial aspects to the process, too, and it's a journey that goes beyond just a bit of paper
It's the emotional aspect of the divorce journey that helps a couple let go of the dysfunctional way they used to relate to each other, and assists them in learning new ways to relate, especially in cases with children. There are strong feelings at play, and research suggests that divorce is a seriously stressful life event. It's a major transition, and can be disorienting. For many, it involves loss on varying levels. The loss of a dream, stability, trust, control, financial security, best friends, as well as the connection between a shared community and friends. Additionally, it's a loss of the identity of being a married person, a part of a married couple.
It's no surprise then that this life disruption can result in strong feelings of grief and anger. It can also be accompanied by anxiety, with worries about whether you will be okay. This is normal, but it can hinder the healing process. Anger can cause retaliation, fear can result in the process being stalled. Divorce proceedings are often ruled by emotions.
Communication is challenging, and it's often because spouses aren't in the same stage of acknowledgment regarding the end of their partnership. While one is looking for a quick resolution, the other may still be in denial. It's common to blame the other, and for one partner to be better at asserting themselves. It is these tendencies which cause friction, and make it difficult to move the family forward.
A divorce coach can help with:
- Dealing with your feelings of anger and grief.
- Finding an appropriate source of emotional support.
- Managing the strong emotions you are experiencing because of the process.
- Learning how to reduce stress and anxiety levels as you make decisions.
- Understanding the outlook from the other side, even in issues you don't agree with.
- Identifying what triggers each of you to react to the other so negatively.
- Figuring out where you are emotionally, and what it is that could be stalling the legal process.
- Clarifying your wishes, values and goals to your ex and the attorney.
- Staying accountable to those values and goals.
- Staying focused on finding win-win solutions, for the long-term, as well as the short.
- Learning how to effectively communicate the best interests of your children with your co-parent.
- Negotiating the terms of the co-parenting plan.
- Creating a co-parenting foundation that enables both parties to act in the best interests of the children
There are two options when choosing to use a divorce coach. The couples can have their own coach to guide them through the divorce process, or opt for just one who will support both parties, and neutrally shepherd the divorcing couple through the process.