Clinical experience, research and anecdotal reports suggest that divorce is one of the most difficult and disruptive stresses that we humans experience.  The suffering of divorce results from of any number of significant losses which Include partner consortium, child custody, financial issues, social and family relations and alienation (Fisher, 2016).  Within the area of divorce, many parents report that the most difficult issue is when they can no longer see their child. This alienation occurs approximately 25 percent of divorce.

For therapists and family law attorneys who work difficult divorces, the family dynamics can be very challenging.  This workshop will provide specific skills to help professionals be more effective with a population in crisis.  Too often we don’t want to deal with our client’s immense suffering which is expressed in a variety of both adaptive and maladaptive ways.  Too often we choose to collude with their pain or are dismissive and/or corrective.  Successful therapy with Family Law clients is better realized when we have skills to help us and them deal with their suffering.   This workshop will try to normalize therapist experience with recognition how difficult are resolution and forgiveness.

The presenters will address how to use Empathic Restructuring in the therapeutic process which includes validation without reinforcement. In addition, we will suggest a technique to help parents focus on their children’s pain instead of their own which we call The Pain Exchange and offer the use of mindful forgiveness practices.  Finally, attention will be paid to the challenge of working with parental alienation.

Learning Objectives:

  • Participants will be able to define the risks to client well-being when their suffering is not skillfully addressed.
  • Participants will be able to name three techniques to address their client’s emotional pain.
  • Participants will be able to name three techniques to address their own emotional pain.