How Can a Mental-Health Professional Assist in the Divorce Process?

For yourself, for your children, in the collaborative divorce process, or as an expert witness, a mental-health professional can play many important roles during the divorce process.

By Dr. Lami
September 10, 2013

For Yourself

Mental-Health Professional and Divorce

Divorce is not a pleasant experience by any stretch of the imagination. It touches upon many areas: financially, family, friends, children, community, work, and affects a person, above all, emotionally and mentally.

During this time many emotions, feelings and thoughts will surface. Some are unfamiliar or not understandable. Many questions will arise, and will require more than the application of practical thinking in order to reach the right resolution for you.

It is not surprising that research shows that divorce is considered to be one of the top three most traumatic events a person may experience (the others are a death of a loved one and immigration). If this is the case, give yourself permission to grieve and know that there is no shame in seeking the assistance of a therapist to deal with the many challenging emotions and changes caused by the situation.

If you experience anxiety and/or depression, it does not mean that you are a depressed or anxious person in the clinical sense. It is a mere indication that the belief systems you have regarding the experiences you go through require readjustment. In professional terms it means that your subconscious mind is calling you to pay attention to something your conscious mind is in denial of.

Not everyone believes it, but most people tend to benefit from therapy/coaching. A mental health professional can help you by realigning your conscious and subconscious mind, and will help ease the unpleasant experience of anxiety, depression, anger, resentment, or whatever it is that you may be feeling.

For Your Children

It is also important to be aware of how the splitting up of the family may affect the children. There is enough supporting evidence to show that the parents' divorce can be a traumatic experience for children, and that children respond to divorce in various ways. Depending upon their age, they may: blame themselves, ignore it and pretend all is well, or withdraw socially and academically. Offering them a place where they can talk to someone about the changes in their lives, their feelings, hurt, confusion, etc, is a gift you can share with your children. Providing them with therapy will help them through the experience with less wounds and more healing. With the right help and guidance the trauma can be minimized or eliminated. Please make sure that the other parent is aware that you are taking the child to a psychologist, since you need to solicit his/her consent and ideally his/her active involvement.

In the Collaborative Divorce Process

The psychologist/therapist takes the role of a coach, and together with the attorneys, financial specialist, and child specialist, helps the parents in the following manner:

  • Helps identify each of the parents' concerns;
  • Teaches each parent effective ways to communicate;
  • Helps resolve conflicts;
  • Helps both parents implement co-parenting skills;
  • Works in collaboration with all parties, the couple, their attorneys and the other involved professionals, to help them all improve communication, reduce possible misunderstandings and solve problems that evolve throughout the divorce process.

 

Other Roles for Mental-Health Professionals

The mental-health professional can also perform in the role of psychological testing and parenting capacity evaluations, as well as testify as an expert witness about his/her findings.


Dr. Lami is an internationally renowned psychologist with more than 18 years of experience helping her clients effectively deal with challenges associated with the process of divorce. Her services include Psychotherapy, Coaching, Evaluation (including Affluenza), Expert witness, Speaking and Consulting. She regularly writes on relationships and has been featured in the media. Visit the firm's website at drlami.com or universalinsights.net.

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September 10, 2013
Categories:  Coping with Divorce|FAQs

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