What is the value of divorce coaching? How is it different from therapy and why would I need it?

These are important questions for anyone going through a divorce. Divorce coaching is very valuable for people in the process of divorce who would like the extra support. Going through a divorce is one of the most stressful events a person may encounter in life and having someone to help them step by step through the process who can also communicate with their attorney can be an invaluable asset. In collaborative practice, a divorce coach is a team member with the attorneys (and financial and child specialists) and helps maintain a positive climate in which conflicts can be resolved. Often a divorce coach also works as a child specialist.

Although a divorce coach is a therapist, and uses her skills as she works as a coach, she is not functioning in the capacity of a therapist. She is also trained in mediation, giving her the ability and experience to facilitate conflict resolution. In the position of a coach, she directs her work completely to the process of the divorce and guides the person (or people, as sometimes there is a neutral coach working with the couple) to be most effective as they go through the steps. Meeting with attorneys and discussing the emotional and financial issues necessary to complete a separation can be very difficult. The coach can prepare the partners for what is to come and help them through the emotional tangles that inevitably evolve. Speciafically a coach helps to identify the triggers that the partner experiences when they are in conflict and they strategize ways to deal with them as these buttons are always pushed in joint meetings with attorneys. This makes the meetings more effective and less conflictual, and usually less expensive as they dont need to drag on….

A coach also works one to one with each partner and helps them to identify the issues that are of most concern to them, enabling them the ability to raise issues in joint meetings in the most constructive ways. Non defensive communication skills are taught which keeps the process moving in a constructive manner. The benefit of a coach being present at a joint meeting with attorneys is for her to remind the parties of a discussion they had togethert, or an agreement they had made, so as to avoid an immediate conflict. If too much emotion evolves or if one or both parties feels too upset to continue, the coach can be available to talk through the immediate issue and assist in dealing with the conflict.

This is not to say that a person going through a divorces should not have a therapist. A therpaist is always helpful, but serves a different function. A therapist supports the individual to feel whole as his or her life is falling apart. A therapist is involved in helping her client with all aspects of his ot her life, job, children, parents, grandparents, dealing with issues with friends etc. Losing a relationship and beginning a new life as a single person is a major task to be tackled and is greatly helped through therapy. These are different issues than those addressed in divorce coaching.

Every situation is somewhat different. I invite anyone to call me to further discuss the differences between therapy and divorce coaching to help decide what is needed in your situation.