Category Archives: Mental Health

How To Help Your Children During Separation and Divorce

By Carol R. Hughes, Ph.D., LMFT

“If we don’t stand up for children, then we don’t stand for much.”
~Marian Wright Edelman, Founder, Children’s Defense Fund

 

Research about the effects of divorce on children indicates that:

  • Each year, over 1 million American children experience the divorce of their parents.1
  • Ongoing parental conflict increases kids’ risk of psychological and social problems.2
  • Improving the relationships between parents and their children helps children cope better in the months and years following the divorce.3

Children are the innocent victims of divorce.  Divorce ranks second only to the death of a loved one as life’s most stressful experiences.4 Litigation, which by definition is adversarial, can compound that stress exponentially due to the hostility it can engender and the exorbitant costs that parents can incur.  “Combat divorce,” a common term for litigation, requires that each parent have the biggest battleship armed with the biggest guns, which take aim at the battleship of the other parent.  Let’s remember that, no matter what else changes, each of these soon to be “ex-spouses” forever remains their child(ren)’s other parent.  During the process of litigation, that obvious fact can become obscured in the harsh and … Read More

Why Is Divorce So Stressful?

by Dr. Carol R. Hughes, Ph.D., LMFT

“There are few blows to the human spirit so great as the loss of someone near and dear.” ~ John Bowlby, M.D.

The Holmes-Rahe Stress Scale indicates that divorce is the second highest stressor for humans, second only to the death of a spouse. Why is divorce so stressful?

When we view divorce through the lens of British psychologist, psychiatrist and psychoanalyst John Bowlby’s attachment theory, it helps us understand the reason why divorce is so stressful. Attachment theory states that we humans have a biological predisposition to form attachment bonds (strong emotional ties) with significant others to have a secure haven and safe base where we can thrive and return for support and comfort during times of need, stress, and crisis.

We form these attachment bonds via our relationships with other human beings who are of primary importance to us. Indeed, Dr. Dan Siegel, Professor of Psychiatry at UCLA Medical School, states, “Relationships are the most important part of our having well-being in being human. It’s that simple. And it’s that important.”

From birth to death, throughout the human life cycle, attachment bonds ensure our safety, security and even survival, and these … Read More

Experts Contribute to Best Practices at Collaborative Practice California Conference

Orange County Collaborative Practice professionals will share their expertise with colleagues in April at the annual Collaborative Practice California Conference XII in Redondo Beach.

Members of Collaborative Divorce Solutions of Orange County (CDSOC) are in demand as professional education panelists and seminar leaders throughout Fall 2017 due to their expertise and experience working with a diverse array of Orange County clients in the Collaborative approach to divorce.

“Many collaborative professionals are committed to continuing professional education in order to provide the best service to our clients,” said Dr. Carol Hughes, CDSOC member and workshop leader. “The annual conference of Collaborative Practice California is one venue for us to do this.

“We CDSOC members are honored to be contributing to the further growth of our Collaborative colleagues throughout the state. Ultimately, the reward is offering better options to clients who want to avoid the trauma, time and expense of a litigated divorce or other disputes,” added Dr. Hughes.

Collaborative Practice California presentations include:

Collaborative Family Lawyer and Mediator Bart Carey, Divorce Coach and Child Specialist Dr. Hughes, Ph.D., LMFT, and Financial Specialist Cathleen Collinsworth, CDFA™, MAFF™ will facilitate an advanced seminar titled “Grand Rounds for Collaborative Practitioners.”

The workshop format introduces … Read More

Members Lend Expertise at Collaborative Divorce Education Institute 3-Day Training

Experienced legal, financial, and mental health Collaborative Practitioners from Collaborative Divorce Solutions of Orange County shared their expertise at the 2017 Three-Day Collaborative Divorce Interdisciplinary Team Training in January. Through lectures, discussions, and group participation, the training team helped both new and experienced Collaborative Professionals to develop more skills and a new understanding of how to support and lead their clients to a successful resolution without resorting to litigation.

If you missed this year’s event, be sure mark your calendar for next year’s training in January 2018.… Read More

The Last Thing A Man Needs To Hear When He’s Going Through A Divorce

Many men feel adrift without any support system or coping skills during a divorce.

by Diana L. Martinez
Collaborative Lawyer and Mediator, West Coast Law & Mediation, APC
with Dr. Marvin Chapman, Collaborative Coach, LMFT

“Real men don’t cry,” right? BS!

I have represented many strong and successful men in divorces. The skill set which creates business success often does the opposite when seeking conflict resolution in a personal relationship.

Too often, men tend to handle negotiations in their divorce as they do in the boardroom. They become frustrated when their previously successful tactics do not work. Frustration often shows itself as anger, stubbornness, yelling, or complete withdrawal. The real obstacle to their successful divorce resolution is grief, or, rather, the failure to work through the grief.

Divorce is the second most traumatic event a person can experience, second only to the loss of a loved one. While there is plenty of information and support for women to work through the trauma of divorce, there is very little available to men. Why? Because “real men don’t cry.”

The reality: men do grieve the loss of their marriage, but their grief is expressed so differently it appears as aggression, arrogance, or as a complete lack of empathy to the untrained eye

To better understand … Read More

Resolve to Improve Your Practice in 2017: Attend CDEI Three-Day Interdisciplinary Team Training – Fundamentals and Beyond

Resolve to improve your professional practice in 2017 by attending the Collaborative Divorce Solutions of Orange County in cooperation with Collaborative Divorce Education Institute’s (CDEI) Interdisciplinary Team Training January 26-28, 2017 at National University in Costa Mesa, California.

As an intermediate or senior legal, financial, or mental health practitioner, which of the following are true at this stage of your career?

•    You are tired of the grind of litigation in divorce and civil litigation
•    You are tired of toxic personality clients only interested in going to war
•    You are tired of being the “middle man/woman” and the client’s only resource
•    You want to shift your practice orientation from litigation to collaboration, mediation or other out of court resolution processes
•    You want to spend more time working with motivated, quality clients
•    You want to dramatically reduce your receivables and your professional stress
•    You want to help your client put their personal, financial, and social goals at the forefront of their settlement process
•    You want to improve your listening, coaching, and assessment skills
•    You want to learn new ways to communicate with your clients and other professionals in a way that you can … Read More

The Honey Experiment: Can It Help Your Co-parenting Relationship?

by Suanne I. Honey, Certified Family Law Specialist, Law Offices of Suanne I. Honey

Let me start this blog by letting you know I am a family-law attorney who, unfortunately, still litigates cases. I prefer the Collaborative Process for many reasons. This means I work with couples who at times can be very angry with each other.

This post, however, has to do with attitudes. A recent Facebook post keeps popping up frequently about a teacher of mentally challenged students. He started each school day telling each student compliments specific to that student. There were both expected and unexpected results with her experiment. Most impressive, the students began giving each other compliments and their academic grades improved.

Being a strong believer in the concept of positive energy spreading just as quickly as negative energy, I decided to start my own experiment. A few months ago I started asking my clients who are engaged in a high-conflict relationship with the other parent to give the other parent a compliment. Daily seems too often and rings of insincerity and ulterior motives. I requested once a week or if that was too onerous, once a month.

There is an old saying that you … Read More

Carol Hughes: Advice About Divorce and Adult Children

Choose the best option for your divorce - learn more at our July 19 workshop.

Psychotherapist, Divorce Coach, Child Specialist, and Mediator Dr. Carol Hughes was recently featured on the website Bottom Line Inc., in the article “What To Do When Your Parents Divorce – And You’re Already a Grown Up.”

With the holidays ahead, Dr. Hughes explains what the adult children of divorced or divorcing parents need to know to respond to common situations, including:

  • Feelings of abandonment are normal, even for adult children
  • Divorcing parents may lean on adult children for support, and why it can hurt your OWN marriage
  • Divorce parents may battle each other through their adult children, causing conflict between parent and child, or among siblings
  • Old holiday traditions may be broken; consider establishing new holiday traditions
  • It’s normal and it’s OK to feel relieved about your parents’ divorce
  • Four ways divorcing parents can limit the fallout from their divorce for their adult children

The website Bottom Line provides wellness and wealth advice from experts, including Dr. Hughes. Its approach offers “useful, expert, actionable information to help you navigate your world, saving time and money along the way.”

Read the entire article at this link.

 … Read More

New Professional Resources Page Provides Valuable Referrals to Orange County Divorcing Couples

Working with a Collaborative Practice team can make the divorce process less traumatic, less time consuming and less costly for everyone involved.

In its effort to assist divorcing couples in Orange County pursue a divorce outside traditional litigation, Collaborative Divorce Solutions of Orange County (CDSOC) now provides a “Professional Resources” page on its website. This page offers referrals to individuals familiar with the Collaborative Practice model who offer services that divorcing families can access to help them through the process.

CDSOC welcomes Orange County real estate broker Juliane Waggoner of RE/MAX College Park Realty in Seal Beach as its first Professional Resources member listing.

Waggoner, a fourth generation real estate broker, is also a probate specialist, Certified Negotiation Expert (CNE), and has completed mediation training through the Los Angeles County Bar Association. She is a graduate of the University of California Santa Barbara and has attended graduate courses at the University of California, Irvine.

“My mission is to work as a neutral real estate agent throughout your divorce or separation, bringing peace to the parties and negotiations along the way,” said Waggoner. “I can help couples explore their options, which sometimes means working to help one spouse keep the property. I can also remain a neutral consultant if a sale is required, marketing the home nationally and internationally and helping couples negotiate … Read More

Men Speak A Different Divorce Language

Men process emotions differently during divorce than women. A skilled divorce coach can help a man manage his strong emotions. Call the Collaborative Divorce Solution of Orange County at 949-266-0660

by Marvin L. Chapman, PsyD, LMFT, CFC

We generally understand that men and women take in information differently. Men are typically more visual and women are typically more verbal. Many times men and women speak different languages. Men have three primary areas of their lives which greatly influences their level of self-esteem and impacts their sense of well-being: work, home, and sex. For women, these areas are money, family, and intimacy. No overlap at all!

Ask a man to give his definition of money, family, and intimacy. Next, ask him to give his definition of work, home, and sex. You will find a significant difference between these two definitions. Men and women label these traits with different names, indicating just how differently we view them.

Divorce is all about these things: Work, home, family, money, sex and intimacy. Without speaking the same language, it’s no surprise men and women have so much trouble navigating marriage and divorce. So let’s take a closer look at these concepts based on my experience as a divorce coach working with many couples on these issues.

Work / Money

For most men, going to work is more than … Read More