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Letting Go and Moving On

When something happens that leads to a breakdown of your relationship, often people feel anger and hurt.  Something bad has happened and the accompanying negative feelings are natural.  You may find you can’t forgive and don’t know how to move past the hurt and anger over past transgressions.

To get through this obstacle, we see forgiveness as a practical problem-solving strategy and the key to letting go and moving on.   Negative feelings such as anger and hurt take up too much time and energy and may make things worse.

“Scientific research clearly shows that learning to forgive is good for one’s health and well being, good for mental health and according to recent data, good for physical health as well,” according to Fred Luskin, Ph.d, from the Stanford University Forgiveness Project.

Luskin reports that forgiveness is not the condoning of unkind behavior, excusing poor behavior, reconciliation or giving up having painful feelings.   Instead, it empowers you to be a “hero” instead of a victim in your experience.  Luskin describes four stages of forgiveness.

  • Accept that something bad has happened.  We can’t change the past.
  • Realize that you must take steps to prevent further emotional stress.
  • Take control of your own feelings and choices.
  • You take less personal offense – your skin gets tougher. You expect and allow people, including yourself, to be different and not perfect.

Want more information?  Read “Forgive for Good,” by Dr. Fred Luskin; and “Forgive for Love,” by Dr. Fred Luskin.  You might also want to check out the website of A Better Divorce – www.abetterdivorce.com

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LET US INTRODUCE OURSELVES

A Better Divorce is a group of 30 collaborative law professionals consisting of attorneys, mental health professionals and financial professionals.

A Better Divorce was formally established in 2002 by a group of professionals whose goal was to provide a better way for people to resolve their family law matters than the traditional litigation process. Our goal as a group is to help families resolve their issues in a way that preserves the family, so that everyone can participate in major life events, such as graduations, weddings and other important events.

It is our belief that in order to truly work well collaboratively with other professionals in the stressful arena of family law, it is essential to get to know and understand each other and our styles of working. Some of the ways that we do this include regular monthly meetings, ongoing trainings, retreats, as well as participation in LACFLA, CP Cal and IACP , the local, statewide and international collaborative organizations. We host trainings for other collaborative professionals, and have provided educational seminars to the general public, thereby sharing critical information and expanding awareness of collaborative divorce as an alternative to litigation.

A Better Divorce assists families in non-court, non-adversarial solutions to their family law matters with a ‘win-win’ attitude toward resolving conflicts.

CP CAL Board Workshop

CP CAL Board

CP CAL Board

Presented by Board Members – Vi Ballard, MFT

COLLABORATIVE PRACTICE

When: TBA

There are several committees planning for the upcoming 2017 Conference at the Crown Plaza Hotel in Redondo Beach. The conference is open to mental health professionals, financial professionals and family law attorneys to improve their skills or learn more about Collaborative Divorce.

Family Law Course UCLA

UCLA Law School – Family Law Course

UCLA Law School – Family Law Course

Presented by Joseph P. Spirito, Jr. of McGaughy & Spirito

PRINCIPLES AND GUIDELINES FOR COLLABORATIVE PRACTICE

When: November 10, 2015

Joe was a guest lecturer at UCLA law school on the principles of collaborative law. Joe discussed the various process options for parties seeking a divorce – including traditional litigation, mediation and collaborative law. The lecture was designed to educate young, future lawyers about the changing landscape of family law and the growing practice of collaborative law.

Divorce Magazine Podcast

Divorce Magazine Podcast

Divorce Magazine Podcast

Presented by Joseph P. Spirito, Jr. of McGaughy & Spirito

COLLABORATIVE DIVORCE IN CALIFORNIA

When: Fall 2015

Joe was interviewed for a nationwide podcast series by Divorce Magazine. Joe answered questions about selecting a collaborative divorce over a traditional litigated divorce. He also discussed several nuanced characteristics of the collaborative process that spouses may consider when choosing which process of dissolution is right for them.

Divorce options

Conscious Uncoupling and Collaborative Divorce

by Jon Kramer, LCSW

Editor’s Notes: Jon Kramer, LCSW is in private practice with an office in Santa Monica, as well as a founding Partner of the Collaborative Center of Southern California in Hermosa Beach, CA. He is also a member of a collaborative divorce group called “A Better Divorce Group”.

Isn’t it kind of fun when we are trendy and we don’t even know it? Thanks to Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin, when a couple who have decided to end their marriage inquires with a non-litigating attorney, they are officially trendy. OK, before you roll your eyes, let me explain further. Paltrow and Martin’s recent decision to end their 10-year marriage and “consciously uncouple” was all over the news. The term, coined by LA- based Psychotherapist Katherine Woodward Thomas, suggests the idea of divorcing and still holding that a family is still a family. Collaborative Divorce and Mediation are specific examples of conscious uncoupling. The common instinct when a couple decides to end their relationship is to act impulsively, largely out of fear and anger. This usually leads the couple into a financially and emotionally expensive litigation and courtroom process. Chaos rains on their family and creates all kind of anxiety, usually for their children and themselves. Conscious Uncoupling on the other hand suggests a calmer, more deliberate and respectful process. And it protects children.

As a Couples Therapist, I am in the business of firstly, assisting couples to stay together. And then secondly if they decide, assisting them to separate or divorce. The cross-roads of either are one of those “big decision moments” in a person’s life. It is 7:15 on a Thursday evening in my office, and I am seeing Steve and Mary (names have been fictionalized). We have been at the work of their marriage for several sessions. Not surprisingly, their emotional intensity has swayed from sadness to anger to disappointment and back again. It is on this Thursday night that the tone changes in the room. A metaphorical hurricane is brewing and I have been here before. Mary speaks up, “we have been trying Steve and it is just not working. I want a divorce!” I immediately assess Steve’s reaction. I can see it in his eyes. He is thinking the following: “How could she do this to me?” “I want to emotionally punish Mary.” “Should I sweep in with a litigating family law attorney to protect my financial assets before she takes them from me and our children? I can see the anger and fear roll over Steve and I focus my attention on managing his flight into “unconscious uncoupling.” I focus on slowing Steve and Mary down. This means encouraging them to sit in their fear and at least initially not make any decisions about their seeming path for divorce. It is at this point that I introduce Collaborative Divorce as an option for conscious uncoupling.

Trendy or not, how a couple decides to end their relationship has long standing consequences. Unconscious uncoupling will usually lead both parties towards ultimately feeling bitter and emotionally wounded. And their family in pieces. Conscious uncoupling on the other hand, in the form of collaborative divorce or mediation, stands a good chance of leaving the couple transformed and able to hold onto their own personal as well as their family’s dignity.

Abstract:

The somewhat vague sounding term, “Conscious Uncoupling” recently made headlines when Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin decided to end their 10-year marriage. This article explains what the term means and how it is different from the conventional and often chosen combative divorce litigation process. Experienced Couples Therapist and Divorce Coach, Jon Kramer, also describes in this article one of his sessions and how he assists his clients to consciously versus unconsciously uncouple when they decide to end their marriage but hold their family intact.

Family attorney Elaine Thompson received the Athena Award from the Torrance Area Chamber of Commerce

Torrance Area Chamber of Commerce Presents Athena Award

A Better Divorce is very proud to note that on December 4, 2015, ABD member, attorney Elaine Thompson received the Athena Award from the Torrance Area Chamber of Commerce.  This award is presented each year in recognition of professional achievement, dedication to community service and generosity in assisting women in their achievement of professional excellence and leadership. She also received certificates from David Hadley, Assemblyman 66th District, Maxine Waters, U.S. Congress 43rd District, and Mayor Patrick Furey, Mayor of Torrance.