I just returned from LA where, with my training team, I presented a three-day training in Collaborative Divorce. One initial observation I made from this training: many divorce lawyers who practice non-collaboratively are highly anxious and strung out about their work. Throughout the training, time and again, I saw and heard professionals express levels of high anxiety and borrowed worry about their clients:
- “What about getting my client’s needs met?”
- “I would feel ashamed of myself if I didn’t get in there and pitch for my client”.
- “I am supposed to fight for my client. I just can’t sit around and keep quiet!”
Now that we understand, through many years of Collaborative work, that divorcing clients are at some level of trauma/crisis when they seek out a lawyer; we also realize that, as their divorce professionals, we are ever-at-risk to go into the trauma with them and begin reacting with impulsive, limbic aggression “on behalf of the client”. We mistakenly think that this is what is expected of us: to take on the trauma of the client.
In Collaborative Divorce, we notice the trauma of the client, but we do NOT take it on. Instead, we meet the client in the trauma-fog of his/her divorce and we help lead them out to various financial, emotional and legal safety zones which alleviate their anxiety and empower them to be rationally and responsibly present for a recuperative and constructive divorce resolution. This is a much more creative and satisfying way to work.
If you are a divorce professional, do yourself a vocational favor and get trained in Collaborative Divorce. You will be much less anxious and more pleased in the positive meaning of your work.
- New York-September 26-27
- Phoenix-January 16-18
I hope to see you there!