Contested Custody and Divorce Counseling
I offer counseling services for individuals separating from, divorcing, or involved in contested custody with a High Conflict Person. Some of the areas I focus on are listed below:
Leaving the High Conflict Environment:
Learning to trust your emotions, experiences and opinions again.
- Validating yourself
- Managing emotions: anger, anxiety, and fear
- Being proactive vs. reactive
Due to their tendency for criticism, blame and emotional manipulation, High conflict individuals often create highly invalidating environments. As a result of living an invalidating environment, individuals in high-conflict relationships often doubt their own feelings, experiences and opinions, even after leaving. This session focuses on validation techniques, emotion management skills and tips on how to remain proactive vs. reactive during times of intensity and difficulty, not only to deal with stress but also to feel in control of situation.
Scattered, Smothered and Covered:
Getting and staying organized
- Time Management
High conflict custody and divorce cases can be overwhelming for all involved due to the highly litigious nature and details of the of the cases. Well qualified attorneys are experts on the law, but you must become an expert on your case. This will require you to obtain, record and organize vast amounts of information and details in your case over a long period of time. This session focuses on developing an accurate detailed timeline, a system of organizing information, paperwork/documents, and time-management skills to remain organized and become an expert on your case.
Speaking and Writing Effectively:
How to communicate without apologizing
- Assertive Approach
- BIFF responses (brief, informative, friendly and firm)
- Communicating with legal professionals
Another result of being in a high conflict relationship is the development of unhealthy communication dynamics. High conflict individuals tend to control and dominate conversations making communication with them difficult to say the least. Due to years of being invalidated, individuals living in or leaving a high conflict relationship often have difficulty communicating effectively, This session focuses on the assertive approach to communicating using the BIFF response to emails and texts to promote healthier communication and less conflict-driven behavior. Additionally, different communication techniques will be reviewed to use with various legal professionals, such as attorney, GAL and others.
Disarming triggers for shame:
Don’t believe everything you think
- Identifying Cognitive Distortions: faulty thinking about yourself
- Identifying triggers for shame
- Looking at yourself through a difference lens
As a result of living an invalidating environment, individuals in high-conflict relationships often doubt their own feelings, experiences and opinions, even after leaving. The purpose of this session is to identify and redirect the faulty thinking about yourself, that often results from years of criticism. Additionally, I will help you identifying your triggers for shame and reduce your emotional reactivity to communication from and with your ex. Tips and tactics to reinterpret nasty communications from high-conflict person for the purpose of improving of your self-image and self-esteem will be reviewed.
Why did I end up in this situation?
Turning what made you into a target back into a redeeming quality
- Willingness to Compromise
- Not wanting to hurt the other person
One of the most frustrating and important questions you must learn to answer is: Why did I end up in this situation? The purpose of this session is to review your personality traits that initially made you a target for a high conflict person: intelligence, willingness to compromise and compassion. We will discuss how theses traits may have been exploited over the years and used against you. I will introduce the concept of boundaries and how to protect yourself from being further manipulated and exploited and embrace your redeeming qualities while protecting yourself.
The opposite of high conflict
- Focusing on facts not feelings
- Providing information not explanation
- Emphasis on what’s best for your child
The high-conflict person’s problem-oriented approach: blaming, all or nothing thinking, and finding facts to fit their feelings and will be reviewed and I will explain how these behaviors are ineffective. I will introduce you to an alternative approach, the solution-focused approach as a more effective, reasonable and defendable approach. The three characteristics of being solution-focused will be highlighted: Focusing on facts not feelings, providing information in context, and placing emphasis on what’s best for your child, not for you or your ex. We will apply this alternative approach to your case, your mindset and your behavior.
Customized Coaching for specific issues
Sessions can be customized to fit your specific needs, situation, and issues. Example topics include
- Dealing with high-conflict behaviors in your children
- Preparing for your Guardian Ad Litem visit
- Responding to Escalating Behavior
- Review and analysis of written communication