Allison Pescosolido & Andra Brosh, Founders of Divorce Detox in Los Angeles, discuss how to turn your divorce into a meaningful experience.
In this seminar Allison Pescosolido and Andra Brosh address:
- Common mistakes people make in a divorce
- Common experiences in divorce
- How to effectively deal with your spouse and move on
- Learning and growing as a person from divorce
- Healing from divorce and how to accelerate the process
- What is Divorce Detox? And what programs do they offer to help people going through a divorce?
Hosted by: Dan Couvrette, CEO, Divorce Magazine
Guest speaker: Allison Pescosolido and Andra Brosh, founders of Divorce Detox. Allison Pescosolido and Andra Brosh are the founders and owners of Divorce Detox in Los Angeles. Through Divorce Detox they offer courses, workshops, and programs that help guide people through the hardship of divorce and build a better, clearer, future.
Divorce Magazine’s Podcasts are available on itunes. Click here to subscribe to our podcasts.
Read the Transcript of this Podcast Below.
How to Turn Your Divorce Into a Meaningful Experience
Dan Couvrette: What exactly is Divorce Detox?
Andra: Thank you Dan so much for having us, we’re very excited to be sharing our services, and offering anything that we can to your listeners. Divorce Detox is a full-service center for men and women going through separation and divorce, and it provides a variety of resources and programs to help through the transition and beyond.
A lot of times people get their own way with their beliefs about divorce and what they’re capable of so we offer education, empowerment, and encouragement to make it a more meaningful experience instead of it just being a tragedy. Through our programs, we have a variety of proven research base methods, including cognitive-behavioral therapy and psycho-education. We hold people very accountable for what has gone on in their life, and we encourage them and help them to take personal responsibility for where they are and how they got where they are. And in doing all that, we provide a really safe environment for them to heal the pain of divorce and separation and to move on, instead of becoming just a victim of their circumstance.
Allison: We have a proven proprietary program that’s guaranteed to help men and women. There’s a small margin of time during separation and divorce, where you can either make the transition to a healthy life, or get stuck in the past. Divorce Detox has helped hundreds of men and women heal and move on from divorce, to create fulfilling lives, and they’re often even better than the past. We offer a variety of services, including a discovery weekend program, a time-limited eight weeks moving on a divorce support program, individual support in person, or by phone. We also offer a variety of digital self-guided programs and products through an online membership and that’s the Divorce Detox Survival Kit that you could get at divorcedetoxsurvivalkit.com.
When somebody is going through a divorce, from a psychological point of view, what do you think are the most common mistakes they make as they’re starting the journey.
Allison: Divorce is a new experience for most, so lack of information causes so many unnecessary mistakes, most people don’t have the tools that they need to navigate divorce, like strategizing, negotiating, getting their priorities in order, and getting through procrastination. The number one mistake that individuals make going through divorce, is really isolation. The heartbreak, the pain is there, it’s sometimes so overwhelming that people retreat into isolation instead of getting help to move on.
Do you think that people figure that they’re going to handle it on their own and that they don’t need help, is that the big problem?
Allison: Yeah they don’t really know what they need and you know we’re all pretty self-sufficient so we do things on our own, but divorce is a situation where people really need to reach out and get help from professionals, it’s something that you just can’t do it on your own, there’s so many layers of divorce that people need help with.
Andra: And there is such a big stigma around divorce too. There’s so much shame around the experience, that often people, don’t really want to tell their story — and it’s such an important part of the healing process. This is why we created something which provides a safe environment for people to do that. I think that people tend to get in their own way when it comes to that. They also let their emotions get in the way in general of getting help, maybe being so angry that they don’t feel like they should have to get help, or just like Allison said, being so overwhelmed that they can’t find their way to the right person that can help them with what they’re going through.
People generally, we find, wait too long to seek professional help. When you go through an experience that’s a trauma of any kind, the sooner you get help, the less damaging things are going to be. We really encourage people to seek professional help as soon as possible, and we often have people tell us that they wish they had found us sooner. It’s probably one of the most common things that we hear, and what people tend to do is that they often look to their lawyer for emotional support and don’t realize that they need additional support for some of the outer lying issues that will actually make their divorce a much easier experience. Lastly one of the things that we see a lot that people do, is they don’t shift their marital dynamic, from spouse to ex, so they relate to their ex in the same way they did when they were married, and they have the same expectations of their ex when they were married. And that’s so problematic just as we all know with divorce, that it just doesn’t work that way, the relationship changes, people change, and so a large part of the work that we do with people is helping them understand that and shift that relationship and that seems to be very profound for a lot of people when they’re going through the process.
When people are going through the process, the emotional experience goes through a number of stages. Can you tell us what that experience is for people? And if there is a normal, what would you consider to be normal, maybe in terms of the experience itself, as well as the time that somebody might expect to be going through..
Andra: Yeah the most common things we see with people that are pretty universal, I mean obviously everyone has their own unique experience right and you know if you’ve been left, or you’re leaving a marriage, there’s going to be a different kind of you know aftermath of what that’s like, to recover from that. But the things we seem to see the most often are regret, anger, and resentment, and those three things often lead to bitterness and that’s really what I think a lot of… most people get stuck within life through divorce, is remaining bitter and stuck in those feelings and emotions, and on top of that universally we see just because we make such a big investment in marriage that there are crushed dreams, you know the loss of what you expected things to be, loss of friends and community, lifestyle changes, loss of identity and obviously a lot of parenting challenges, and even people you know facing dating again, or getting back into the world as a single person. Those are all really universal things that we see happening.
Allison: Dan you asked about time and its key to remember that time does not heal, it’s actually action steps that heal.
So as soon as people can start working on healing their past and lay a foundation for their future they can start healing and moving on.
I guess the position that you guys take is that people really are to a certain extent, healing. You can be proactive and speed up the process rather than just being reactive to what is coming at you and be at the effect of it, is that you’re thinking as well.
Allison: Absolutely. Action is really what heals and there’s so many things to react to in divorce that if you don’t take your life by you know if you don’t become proactive then it could really wear you down.
I was just thinking of a ball in a pinball machine and that’s kind of the way we, given that I have also been through my own divorce, which is how I came about creating divorce magazine. There’s certainly that feeling that you’re being bounced around in your life I guess. So yeah the more help and guidance and direction that you can get, the better. And so do you find that the experience is the same for men as it is for women? Or do you see differences between the two sexes.
Allison: Heartbreak is heartbreak. In order to recover from the divorce transition, both men and women must breath, get closure from their marriage, take personal responsibility for their part, and build a foundation for a fulfilling future. We also find universally a lot of gems in divorce for men and women, like building and having a better sense of self, rediscovering passion, redefining yourself as a better person, and increased self-trust.
Would those be goals that you would set with people when you begin to work with them? Do you try to create a new future for them, and do you do that at the beginning or does that not happen right away?
Allison: It’s an ongoing process. Our program is specifically designed, tiered so that once you come in you start laying a foundation of taking care for yourself and building. At the same time there’s a lot of recognition of what’s going on and what you’re getting thrown and then of course in all of it you know you have this new life that you have to take control of as a single person and start doing things. It’s a little bit of everything.
Andra: I think what you said before Dan about needing to clear away some of the things that are existing to pave the way for building a better life is really at the core the foundation of what we do. So many people try and bypass that part of the process, that they just muddle through it, or they power through it and they really only focus on splitting assets and signing papers. Divorce detox really offers an opportunity for people to take the time to make this an experience that they can grow and learn from, as opposed to just something that happened to them, and that is a critical part of having an adaptive and consciences adjustment to divorce, to really step back and say “okay, how can I be a better person for this, what can I learn, how can I grow, what can I look at as I open up this aspect of my life?” That’s the beauty of what we do, and why we love doing what we do and why it’s so fun. People think we’re crazy for saying that, but we really do have a lot of joy in what we do because we get to help people do all of these things that are so healing and so important for anyone to do at some point in their life.
I expect that a good number of the people that come to you are a result of people who have been through your courses, is that accurate.
Allison: That is, we have a big following in a lot of referrals from past clients.
Right they probably can’t believe that they’ve actually not only made it through their divorce but that they’re thriving and they may have not fully been able to express themselves in their relationship. We don’t encourage people to get a divorce of course but if you’re going to go through the process and I expect you would feel the same way, that you want to come out of it as a whole and complete a person as possible, and be able to move on.
Allison: Many people feel that divorce is really a gift. It was probably the worst time in their life, but after healing and moving on they have a better life than they ever dreamed. That’s what we get from a lot from our clients.
How can people, of course, I’d encourage them to come and do your course, or get on your website lessen the emotional part of the divorce? How can they learn to detach themselves from the urge to hit back, or fight back, or feel like they’re a victim? Is there any guidance that you could give to our listeners.
Andra: Of course, I mean that’s a huge part of what we help people do and I think the primary issue is that people have a hard time separating out their emotions from some of the more concrete issues that they’re dealing with. They bring emotions to all aspects of their divorce, and that just doesn’t work. Really taking the time to understand what’s going on inside of you, and to be reflective, and not react like you said before, really allows for, minimizes a lot of the damage that can be done with divorce. Also being realistic with expectations, like we said before, of your ex and dealing with what kind of treatment you’re going to get or how things are going to transpire through the divorce, can encourage people to be very realistic about what they can expect. That can really help them recognize that divorce just isn’t always fair, which is a hard thing to accept, but we know that it just sometimes doesn’t work out in everyone’s favor the way that they hope it will. Realizing that and accepting it, calms people down and it allows people just to be a lot clearer and realistic about what they can expect the process to be.
We really help people to have the intention of maintaining personal integrity and not what we call sort of jumping in the sandbox with their ex and battling it out in an immature way, but to really, to have honor and integrity and even if one person can do that. It can usually shift the whole dynamic of what’s going on, so we don’t even need to have both people in the room to have that kind of a shift. When someone chooses to really do it with grace and honor and to have respect for themselves, their ex and the process; and obviously having a professional help mitigate the emotional impact and work through that is huge, because if you’re trying to manage that and everything else that you have to manage with divorce, it’s pretty much a guarantee that the impact on you is going to be greater than it would if you didn’t do that.
Allison: Another way couples can lessen the emotional impact is by changing their relationship with the ex, so a few things to do would be for instance not using enduring nicknames that you used during the marriage, not reminiscing about good times together, instead we just say acknowledge you had a wonderful period in your life together and don’t get into the details. Also, be respectful and don’t criticize your ex in any way, be considerate instead of winy or complain. We also encourage our clients to share person details of their life with the ex, especially dating and relationships.
Andra: Detoxing is such a hard part of the process and sometimes you know that means abstinence. By not having any contact for some people avoid any conflict.
I know that when I was going through my own divorce, I was often mad at my former wife, but I was also envious that the way that she managed herself through the divorce, and it sounds like she used a number of the strategies that you’re recommending and first of all to complete detach herself as much as she could from me, to have her own life. We’re actually having dinner tonight, it’s 17 years since we’ve been divorced.
I was envious of her at the time because she really did manage to detach herself and to close herself off from the marriage. For her, it really helped speed up the process, and I used to be able to I guess push her buttons, but during that process, she would just like kind of put up a wall to it and kind of walk away, either physically or mentally. She was able to do that, perhaps more easily than most people would be able to do it.
Andra: Yeah you make a really good point because you know we do have clients like yourself on the other end, on the receiving end of maybe an ex who did do that, and have the ability to detach, and that’s really hard for the person on the other end. It’s confusing because the dynamic is changing, and a lot of times people misinterpret it. You know that the ex doesn’t care, or that you know they’ve completely moved on, and they were never even interested in the marriage, you know there’s a lot of stories we can tell ourselves, so we work a lot cognitively to help them really to be grounded in the truth of what’s going on, as much as you can know. Because you’re not an insider anymore into your partners mind, the way that we hope that we are when we’re married so that’s a really good point that your listeners can understand that maybe they’re on the receiving end of that, or maybe they are the one who is detaching, that there are two sides to the experience.
Absolutely, and it wasn’t until later that I actually did a lot of work and a lot of reading and talked to many professionals over the years and of course everybody goes the process slightly differently, but we can probably all do a better job with coaching from people like yourself, the Divorce Detox people to help us through the process. Nobody has all the answers and often you can’t see the forest for the trees and need some direction. So why don’t you tell us just a little bit more about the services that Divorce Detox offers, both kind of the online service, and then the in person service and how that works.
Allison: We have the discovery weekend program where people can fly in to take a weekend, we have an intensive eight week moving on divorce support program, that people in Los Angeles can take, or sometimes we have an intensive moving on divorce support program that people fly in for. There’s individual support in person, or nationwide, and then we offer a variety of self-guided programs and products through our online site, called. The survival builds confidence through divorce and has a lot of issues, has a lot of how-tos, to resolve many issues that people are experiencing, like healthy ex-communication, decision making, staying on track through the divorce process, etcetera.
Andra: The beauty of the survival kit is that your listeners can go online right now and start it, it’s something that you can get, I mean talk about getting immediate help, you know it takes time to book an appointment with somebody and go through the process and getting there, but this is something that just offers immediate relief, and it’s easily assessable and affordable and that’s why we developed it.
If somebody is listening to this call, what would they, how would they know if they needed your services? I think they might have a pretty good idea if they have been listening to our conversation, but I suppose if they had a checklist, and on their checklist was I would like to run my spouse over with my car, or I wake up swearing every morning, that’s a good indication that they need help. Is there less humorous kind of things that people could check off on a list and they would know gee I could use these, this service.
Andra: We like to tell people that everyone is separating or divorcing could use our services, the longer people wait, the more they struggle, and trying to get through divorce on your own, we consider it to be like going into battle without any training and we really don’t recommend that on any level. So if your listeners are anywhere in the divorce process or struggling after divorce, in any way we can help them. We find that divorce can be really insidious and a lot of times it ends up affecting other aspects of your life that maybe that you’re not even realizing, it creates such a high state of stress and we help people prevent so many mistakes, and avoid divorce pitfalls.
We really recognize just having worked with so many people what mistakes people can make and we can really prevent that and save people a lot of money and a lot of struggle and a lot of time. And oftentimes an attorney just isn’t enough. So a lot of attorneys and therapist refer their clients to us, just as an adjunct to help people with anything that you know might slip through the cracks, or just really to get the actually healing that they need to move on and create a better life, and so much of what we teach are life-skills that everyone should have and they don’t teach it in school and they really should. But this is really a place you can come and really transform yourself in a very beautiful way, after an experience that feels really awful.
Are there any tips that you would share, particularly with parents who might be listening to this, as to how they can help themselves, and help their children through the process.
Allison: Sure, one is to be aware that your behavior and your actions are experienced by your kids, so parents model behavior for their children. Also, don’t fight with your ex in front of the children. Something that a lot of our clients ask us is about rules in the household and we encourage our clients to maintain similar rules in each household, this actually makes your kids feel safe and secure. And as you focus on becoming happier in your own life, this rubs off on your children, so it’s really important to get help.
It’s important to continually consider how your actions affect your children, for instance speaking badly about the ex is so detrimental.
Remind us again, the two websites that people can go to get information about Divorce Detox, the addresses are divorcedetox.com and the other address is divorcedetoxsurvivalkit.com.
Allison: Yes, and they can also give us a call at 888-456-7056, that’s toll-free, and they could call us up for a free consultation, or they could e-mail us at [email protected]