A divorce counselor may be called on to wear a number of hats. Prior to the actual legal action, a divorce counselor may offer information about legal options and some insight on the emotional process which might be expected.
Subsequent to the divorce, a divorce counselor may work with the children, and the couple on co-parenting issues, grieving the loss of the marriage, and even how to handle the feelings and family issues around one of the parents starting a new relationship.
GET COUNSELING!!! This is the most frequent solution judges in divorce court suggest to divorcing couples. Marriage counseling, divorce counseling, anger management counseling, parenting skills counseling, problem-solving skills counseling, communication counseling, grief counseling. The list is long.
The most frequent response is, "I can't afford to do that."
Unfortunately, the most important question, one that is seldom asked or answered, is: What will it cost not to get counseling?
I think the main reason this question is seldom considered is because it is so difficult to analyze what the cost may be not to do something. Straight forward arithmetic will determine what the cost of doing it will be!
Counseling costs $50 to $150 per hour. NOT to go to counseling appears to be free. However, not going to counseling often means that whatever problem the family is having will become more severe. Indeed, not getting counseling is almost always far more expensive in the long run because of the general rule: Nothing stays the same. It will either get better, or it will get worse. Problems between or among family members that are not addressed will get worse one hundred percent of the time.
Not getting marriage counseling can lead to divorce. Divorce is expensive, both immediately when lawyers must be paid and over time as two households must be maintained.
Not getting divorce counseling or problem-solving counseling can lead to the divorce dragging on and on. Obviously the longer one needs the services of lawyers, the greater the cost.
Not getting anger-management counseling can lead to domestic violence, which can lead to criminal charges for which an expensive criminal defense lawyer will need to be hired.
Not getting parenting skills counseling can lead to conflicts with children which then can lead to delinquency problems, also making it necessary to hire expensive lawyers.
Of course, paying lawyers is only the tip of the cost-iceberg. The long-term consequences of not attending to family relationships also include terrible emotional and societal costs. Children can drop out of school or run away. Adults can try to distract themselves from the discomfort of a damaged relationship by using drugs or alcohol. So can children. Parents can treat one another disrespectfully and in the process teach their children to do the same.
There is no question that taking positive and resolute action to address a family problem requires families to spend money, but NOT taking action often costs even more, later.
For more Anne Kass articles, go here to select from complete list of 97 articles.
Judge Kass writes eloquently about divorce and its impact as she saw it from the bench, and I think she could be a divorce counselor.
Divorce Counselor Tools
I think that most divorce counselors will use Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) or Rational Emotive Behavioral Therapy (REBT) tools to help clients manage their feelings as they move through the divorce process.
Mindfullness training will certainly be useful to help folks understand that feelings follow thoughts, and that awareness of that process makes changing back to a more pleasant feeling much easier.
Both CBT and REBT involving generating some alternative thoughts to automatic negative thoughts as the CBT folks call them.
I have taught many of my domestic violence students a biofeedback process called Heartmath which combines the cognitive and phsysiological aspects of both CBT and REBT, and I believe that it is an excellent tool for anyone to use to change thinking and feelings in a heart beat.
Here is a short video speaking to Heartmath.
Just click on the white triangle to hear Ray Varlinsky talk about how he uses the emWave with couples who are flooded, to move them back to a place of appreciation.
The one thing that divorce counselors probably will not tell you is that this Heartmath tool needs to be practiced frequently to be routinely effective.
In other words, keep close to your heart rate variability coherence heart beat by heart beat, so changes in your feeling state are dealt with when they are small, not after you have moved into fight or flight chemistry.
How much time do you have to bring up your heartmath training?
Perhaps 1/18th second, and it takes you 1/10th second to blink your eyes.
The good news is that you are usually successful at this internal process.
The bad news is that break downs lead to divorce counseling.
Here is a link to the emWave tool.
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