I work with:
- Adolescent Transitions, Roles, & Attitudes
- Change of Life, Roles, & Expectations
- Divorce & Uncoupling
- Financial Concerns
- Gender Identity Issues
- Individual Therapy
- Mediation (below)
- Parent Support & Coaching (below)
- Parenting Consulting (below)
- Parenting Issues & Concerns
- Parenting Time Expediting (PTE) (below)
- Relationship Issues
- Sex, Sexuality, & Sexual Concerns
The primary goal of a “Coach” is to help clients do a better job with each other, with their children, grandchildren or other family members. A Parenting Coach works with families and individuals to address concerns surrounding divorce, separation and family transitions. This is a confidential process aimed at strengthening the family and assisting members in adjusting to a shifting family system. A Parenting Coach works to empower parents to make healthy decisions regarding parenting and discipline. The Parenting Coach also provides support and guidance to parents and individuals as they adapt and adjust to various family transitions and developmental stages.
Coaching Sessions Can Focus On:
- The “how-to’s” of single parenting, co-parenting or grand-parenting
- Issues such as transfers, child management skills, communication, and home-to-home coordination
- Helping family members in relationships with other people in the child’s life such as the child’s other parent, the other parent’s significant other, or service providers (therapists, attorneys, teachers, Guardian ad Litem, etc.)
- How and when to introduce a new significant other or spouse and new step-family members, and how to work successfully with them
- Helping family members work with “the system” (school staffs, custody evaluators, other psychologists, etc.)
- Working with the client to “adjust attitudes,” i.e. develop strategies to manage frustration, anger, and resentments, and be more empathic with the child’s growth, development, feelings, needs, and experiences
- Supporting parents through healthy decisions for their children including adolescent transitions and limits, discipline, school issues
Coach or Therapist
Although I am licensed as a marriage and family therapist, I do not provide therapy in my role as a Coach. The Coach role is approached as primarily educational and advisory in nature, although it may have therapeutic benefits. There is no diagnosis provided, so sessions will usually not be reimbursed by insurance. The following chart outlines how the focus and outcome differ between a coach and a therapist:
Outcome and action focused Focused on internal psychological processes
Focused on keeping the process moving forward Explores unresolved issues from the past
Transparent process with disclosure when relevant Client has confidentiality with therapist
Goal oriented Process oriented
Focuses on family Focuses on the individual
Works in consultation with attorneys Does not typically consult with attorneys
Family mediation is a confidential process used by members of a family who need help in solving important issues that often revolve around separation or divorce and parenting. A mediator meets privately with family members and helps them settle their issues in ways upon which they both can agree. Participants remain in control of what is happening, making all the decisions.
The mediator does not make judgments, determine facts, nor decide outcomes. Rather, the mediator provides a setting in which participants can identify options and find solutions best suited to their situation. No decision is made unless and until it is acceptable to all participants. Once agreement is reached, the mediator can create a document to provide to an attorney for filing with the court.
- Control over what happens to people’s future, finances, children, and businesses stays with the parties, not a judge.
Confidentiality is a central principle of mediation. Personal information does not become part of a public record, and private business stays private.
- Durability in the agreements reached–mediated settlements have more “staying-power” than those imposed by a court. People are much more likely to comply with decisions that they have agreed to themselves.
- Time and money saved in completing resolution of the issues. Mediation can spare people years of the stress, uncertainty, and strain that they would experience in court. Mediation is much more cost effective than two attorneys and a court battle.
- Collaboration in dealing with difficult issues. Mediation provides a constructive and civil alternative to the anger, hostility, and frustration that characterize adversarial approaches.
You can learn about the differences between Parenting Time Expediting and Parenting Consulting here.
Parenting Consultant Functions
A Parenting Consultant has essentially three functions—mediation, coaching, and arbitration regarding parenting issues. The Parenting Consulting process begins by meeting with both parties together. That meeting is administrative in nature and serves to:
- Explain the Parenting Consulting process
- Schedule appointments
- Identify possible collateral resources
- Gain familiarity with background information
- Describe the child(ren) involved
- Review agreements and court orders currently in place
- Establish an agenda of items to be addressed
Parents are in the best position to make decisions about their children and will be assisted in doing so whenever possible. The Parenting Consultant facilitates an environment where parents can make those decisions together and makes recommendations or decisions when parents are unable to agree.
Even though the Parenting Consultant will facilitate negotiations, there is not the same confidentiality of information as that provided through mediation. All communications with the parents (and others the Parenting Consultant has contacted) are subject to disclosure among parties. Statements made to the Parenting Consultant by the attorneys and parents may lose the protection of the attorney-client privilege. A Parenting Consultant is a neutral party and therefore does not take cases in which there is any conflict of interest or bias toward either parent. However, it is part of a Parenting Consultant’s job to develop opinions about what best meets the needs of children and to advocate for their best interests.
Parents will have an introductory session with the Parenting Consultant before contracting for services. This introductory session is billed at the regular hourly rate, and allows the parents to meet the Parenting Consultant and to ask any questions they may have about the process. The session is also an opportunity for parents to share any background information they feel is relevant for the Parenting Consultant’s understanding of the situation.
Once the parents and Parenting Consultant agree to work together, the process begins with the signing of the Parenting Consultant Fee Agreement. The parties make an initial deposit, which will cover the first 10 hours of work together (excluding office visits, which are paid at the time of the appointment). The initial deposit, the signed contract, and a copy of the Court Order appointing a Parenting Consultant must be received prior to scheduling or holding any additional appointments.
Meetings take place in the Parenting Consultant's office. Sometimes it is possible to proceed by phone, e-mail, or with written correspondence. If either parent is uncomfortable with a joint meeting, this may be discussed with the Parenting Consultant before the appointment. Subsequent meetings may be conducted with:
• Both parents together
• Each parent alone
• Each parent and the children
• New spouses or significant others
• The children (together or separately, when necessary)
Although parents set specific goals and objectives, it is the hope of the Parenting Consultant that a number of things occur as a result of the process:
• Agreements are reached on the issues presented
• In the absence of agreement, that decisions will be made that will bring closure to the issues
• That communication about the children improves
• That parents learn to resolve their own conflicts without outside assistance whenever possible
• That things settle into somewhat predictable patterns and routines so that children are able to be as comfortable as possible
• Above all, that the children eventually experience peaceful, loving home environments that contribute to their healthy development and overall well-being
You can learn about the differences between Parenting Consulting and Parenting Time Expediting here.
High parental conflict following divorce is the best predictor of poor adjustment for children dealing with their parents’ divorce. This makes efforts to reduce parental conflict essential in promoting children’s wellbeing.
Role of the Parenting Time Expeditor
Parenting time expeditors resolve parenting time disputes that occur after there is already a parenting time order in place or that occur while parenting time disputes are pending in court. Expeditors may be ordered by the court or chosen by either party. The expeditor attempts to provide a fair resolution that considers the needs of the parents as well as the needs of the children.
The Expeditor may be empowered to enforce, interpret, and clarify existing parenting time orders or to address circumstances not specifically covered by an existing parenting time order. The scope and ability of the Expeditor is either determined by the court or agreed upon by both parties at the beginning of the process.