"Leave no stone unturned" is my motto in approaching relational difficulties. In working with couples, I explore how developmental relationship and attachment experiences manifest in current relationship difficulties. While there is a focus on communication and negotiation skills, there is also a focus on changing the patterned dynamics in the relationship to achieve a more mutually satisfying relationship. Much of my role is in helping partners differentiate from their mates. Differentiation allows people to see each other more objectively and compassionately. They become less reactive and more aware of personal projections that distort perceptions of their partners.
When one or both partners decide that the relationship is not sustainable, I discuss alternative dispute resolution options, such as mediation or collaborative divorce. Collaborative Divorce involves a team comprised of Divorce Coaches, Lawyers, Child Specialists, and a Financial Specialist. Each partner has a lawyer (for legal counsel) and divorce coach (for emotional/psychological support). The children have a child specialist that supports them through the stressful process of divorce, and makes recommendations to parents about the children's needs. The financial specialist assists with the fair separation of assets and debt. All members of the team are dedicated to working collaboratively with the couple to achieve mutually agreed upon, fair decisions regarding finances and children. The benefit of this model is that it reduces stress on the family system by staying out of court and assisting couples in working cooperatively.
For couples interested in alternative dispute resolution, I am able to function as a Divorce Coach. I can also prepare Views of the Child reports for court. These are non-evaluative reports conveying the child's interests. Children are informed that they are not responsible for decisions made in court, but that the court takes into consideration their views when determining what is in the "best interest of the child".
Dr. Marilyn Chotem, R.Psych. #773