Adult Divorce Counseling: After walking the pathway of divorce with hundreds of women, men, adolescents, and children, I can say that I deeply understand the process, the emotions, the changes and stages people go through during this huge life adjustment. Seeing people heal and grow in counseling during and after divorce, watching them blossom into someone more than they were before, is one of my greatest joys as a psychologist specializing in divorce.
Divorce can create hopelessness, anger, powerlessness, and despair; many people get stuck in that bitter place for the rest of their lives. In counseling, though, I so often see these negative feelings give way to amazing insights, hope, strength, and a more joyful life. Hard to believe when you are in the middle of this mess, but it really does happen!
Divorce Co-Parenting: The marriage may be ending but your job as co-parents goes on. Perhaps you need better communication as joint parents, stronger boundaries or more flexibility. Or you may want to know how to help your child make transitions between your two homes more easily. Your parenting time plan may need some adjustment. I’m happy to help you with the many challenges of co-parenting during and after a divorce.
Parenting Plan Consultation and Mediation: Parenting Time and Decision Making (Custody Issues). Deciding how to divide the children’s time and how to make decisions for them as divorced parents can be complicated. My years of experience as a divorce expert working with hundreds of families allow me to provide you with the current thinking and research about children’s needs in divorce, popular parenting plans, and how to think about what is best for your children, considering their ages, personalities, and developmental needs. One nice thing about mediating your parenting plan in divorce is that you parents make all the decisions yourselves. I am just here to help you listen to each other respectfully, share the information and experience I have as a child custody expert, and allow you to create a plan that works for your unique family situation. You can avoid tremendous emotional and financial strain using divorce mediation.
Custody Evaluation Coaching: When parents cannot agree on parenting time and decision making or there are other important concerns about the care of the children, the court may order a custody evaluation. In Colorado, the “big” custody evaluation is called a Parental Responsibilities Evaluation (PRE) and the “little” evaluation is called Child and Family Investigation (CFI). Either type of custody evaluation is a major undertaking during divorce and can feel daunting and overwhelming. So much is at stake and you want to do your best to get a good outcome for the children and yourself. It’s hard to know what to expect or how to handle it.
I coach and counsel many parents going through PRE or CFI evaluations. I can help you understand the process so you don’t feel caught off guard, answer your questions, and guide you toward your best communication and self-presentation. I can also help you identify and work on any personal roadblocks that get in the way of you being the best parent you can be. I don’t help people “look better” in custody evaluation–I help them actually BE better!
Divorce counseling for children and teens: Many children and teens dealing with divorce feel confused, anxious, depressed, or angry. Behavior problems may pop up, transitions may be difficult, and your child may not know who to believe or what to think. It can really help to have someone there just for your child, someone who “gets it” to talk to, play with, and learn strategies for coping. During this difficult time, get them all the help and support you can, both in your personal life and by providing a safe, caring, wise child-therapist relationship with an experienced child divorce expert such as myself.
Stepfamilies/ Blended Families: Divorce doesn’t last forever, thank goodness, and often there is a new love, a new life, and a new step or blended family. While a fresh start like this is a great joy, it can also be very, very challenging! (Did I say VERY challenging?) Get a good start by anticipating and working out issues early in the process. If that didn’t happen, as it often doesn’t, let’s meet to work out some practical, effective strategies to get that new family rolling more smoothly. I’m a family systems-trained psychologist with special expertise in blended and stepfamilies, and I am happy to help you.
BOOKS ABOUT DIVORCE
Some of these books are old, some are new. Language and ideas change, but the fundamentals of love, security, mutual respect between parents, and protection of children’s innocence and positive relationship with both parents remain the same throughout. Use what you like and disregard the rest. Additions are welcome.
FOR CHILDREN AND PARENTS
At Daddy’s on Saturdays. By Linda Walvoord Giard. Illustrations by Judith Friedman. Albert Whitman and Co, Morton Grove, ILL, 1987.
Divorced But Still My Parents: A Helping-Book about Divorce for Children and Parents. By Shirley Thomas, Ph.D. and Dorothy Rankin. Illustrated by Holliday Thompson. Springboard Publications, Longmont, CO, 2005.
I Don’t Want to Talk About It. By Jeanie Franz Ransom. Illustrated by Kathryn Kunz Finney. Magination Press, Washington, D. C., Pub date unknown.
Koko Bear Divorce Book by Vicki Lansky, Jane Prince and Vicki L. Lansky, The Book Peddlers, 1998
Let’s Talk About It: Divorce. By Fred Rogers. Photographs by Jim Judkis. Penguin Putnam Books for Young Readers, New York, NY 1996. Helping Your Kids Cope with Divorce the Sandcastles Way. By M. Gary Neuman, LMHC. Times Books, Random House, New York, NY 1998
It’s Not Your Fault, Koko Bear: A Read-Together Book for Parents & Young Children During Divorce. By Vicki Lansky. Illustrated by Jane Prince. Bookpeddlers, Minnetonka, MN, 1998
Mom and Dad Break Up. By Joan Singleton Prestine. Illustrated by Virgnia Kylberg. Fearon Teacher Aides, A Division of Frank Schaffer Publications, Torrance, CA, 1996
Standing on My Own Two Feet: A Child’s Affirmation of Love in the Midst of Divorce. Written and Illustrated by Tamara Schmitz. Price, Stern, Sloan, published by the Penguin Group, New York, NY, 2008.
Two Homes. by Claire Masurel. Illustrated by Kady MacDonald Denton. Candlewick Press, Cambridge, MA, 2001. SpringBoard Publications, 2005.
Was It the Chocolate Pudding: A Story for Little Kids About Divorce by Sandra Levins and Bryan Langdo, Magination Press, 2005
What in the World Do You Do When Your Parents Divorce? A Survival Guide for Kids. By Kent Winchester and Robera Beyer. Free Spirit Publishing, Minneapolis, MN 2001.
We’re Having A Tuesday. by DK Simoneau, AC Publishers Group, 2006
Keeping Kids Out of the Middle: Child-Centered Parenting in the Midst of Conflict, Separation, and Divorce. by Benjamin D. Garber, Ph.D. Published by Health Communications, Inc, Deerfield Beach, FL, 2008
Mom’s House, Dad’s House: Making Two Homes for Your Child. By Isolina Ricci, Ph.D. Simon and Schuster, New York, NY, 1997.
The Divorce Book for Parents. By Vicki Lansky.
Divorce Poison: How to Protect Your Family from Bad-mouthing and Brainwashing. by Dr. Richard A. Warshak.Harper, New York, 2010.
BLENDED FAMILIES AND STEPFAMILIES
How To Win as a Step Family. Emily Visher, Ph.D. and John Visher, M.D. Brunner/Mazel Publishing, New York, NY, 1982.
Step-Families: A Guide to Working with Steparents & Step Children. By Emily Visher, Ph.D. and John Visher, M.D. Brunner/Mazel Publishing, New York, NY, 1979.
StepWisdom: Knowledge from the Ages for Successful Stepfamilies. by Eleanor Alden Wheatmark, Tucson, AZ, 2010.
Two Happy Homes: A working guide for parents & stepparents after divorce and remarriage. by Shirley Thomas, Ph.D. Illustrations by Holliday Thompson. Springboard Publications, Longmont, CO 2005. Wonderful Ways to Love a Child. by Judy Ford. Conari Press, Berkley, CA, Pub date unknown.
Caught in the Middle: Protecting the Children of High-Conflict Divorce. By Carla B. Garrity and Mitchell A. Baris. Lexington Books, imprint of McMillan, New York, NY. 1994.
Developmental Psychology for Family Law Professionals: Theory, Application, and the Best Interests of the Child. By Benjamin D. Garber, Ph.D. Springer Publishing, New York, NY, 2010.