[An excerpt from our 2016 On Line Parenting Course on Udemy – Dignity in Divorce]
Remember that parents often fall into conflict because of three basic things: 1. Failure to be flexible, 2. Failure to filter and 3. The need to fight fight fight. Parents need help from time to time with learning effective communication techniques. Many parents truly need the help of mental health professionals (mhp’s) during a divorce.
Mhp’s play an extremely important part in the way many divorce cases are resolved. This fact is true whether or not the case is resolved through the traditional courtroom approach OR whether the parents engage in a team based approach. Parents need to understand that the mhp’s ability to offer aid is impacted on their choice of how their case is resolved.
Through conflict, parents look to resolve the divorce dispute by identifying the issues in controversy. Parents bring their best facts to light in an attempt to sway the finder of fact to rule in their favor. Parents present their “best facts” to a mhp to obtain the most favorable result. The mhp provides an opinion on what the outcome should be, in otherwords the end result. The parent who does not get the favorable outcome EITHER accepts the results OR goes to court and attacks the opinion of the mph.
Through a team based approach, parents are looking for a solution to their problem. Mental health professionals are able to do what they are truly trained for, which is to help provide therapeutic relief. While parents may want to put their best foot forward, the mhp can intercede and provide the honest advice that both parents need to help solve their problem. The mhp in the team based approach helps the parents through their journey to the solution. The mph can provide give and take solutions so both parents feel that they had a hand in the way their problem could be solved. The mhp provides a therapeutic ear, assistance and direction to parents under the team based model.
If conflict is not an absolute certainty, parents should consider the team based approach to maximize what the therapeutic assistance the mhp can offer.
Do we need winners and losers, or do we need parents to leave the family law system better able to meet the needs of their children?