Mari Craig, LCSW-C, CCDC, CPC

Benefits of Divorce Coaching

In Divorce, Living, Rockville MD Divorce Coach on June 7, 2012 at 11:02 pm

The most important gift to give yourself when transitioning out of a marriage or relationship is to focus on the one person who matters most…you.  Yet, this can be the hardest thing to do at a time when you are feeling the most vulnerable.  During marriage both partners develop a shared identity and when it has ended they suffer the loss of that identity that leaves each person feeling a chasm of loneliness. 

Many newly separated and divorced people experience the feeling of being in a fishbowl with life swirling around in confusion. These myriad feelings are best worked through with the guidance of a divorce coach who is able to help you understand and cope with the stages of grief.   It is during this time that finding your inner compass becomes imperative.

To navigate this uncharted territory the guidance you receive from divorce coaching helps you discover a path of clarity and provides support before, during and after divorce.  It also helps you to determine the best interests of your children and provides support to help you rebuild your life.

The guidance you receive before, during and after divorce provides the continuity of knowing that you have professional support that will help you go the distance throughout the entire process.  It is easy to get off track when friends are influencing you, however with a divorce coach you are working with the one person who can be completely objective from a professional perspective.

Your divorce coach provides accountability and a reliable structure that fosters safety in a non-judgmental setting that helps you articulate your goals and needs. Coaching helps you to ascertain what issues are important, and to communicate them more effectively with your mediator(s) and/or legal counsel. In this way you will break through barriers and make greater progress in discovering the strategies that are right for you.

As previously stated, a divorce coach helps you to bridge the gap between where you are and where you want to be. I have found that the Intentional Life Power Program, which I have developed, is uniquely effective for helping my clients accomplish their goals and set priorities.  You too, can learn to visualize and manifest the intention you have set for yourself. In eight simple steps you develop your personal roadmap to get you where you need to be.

The ILP Chart you have written it should be similar to one by Danielle a recently divorced client with whom I coached through a difficult transition.  She articulated difficulty with low self-esteem and no clear plan on how to deal with it. With my help, she honed an intention to build positive self-esteem with a clear plan for the next twelve months (5 to 6 on a scale of 10).  She began to focuse her energies by developing a clear action plan.   By envisioning the person she wanted to become on a daily basis she was able to imagine her self-esteem growing.  “I see myself deserving to be an Independent and confidant woman.  I see myself going through the day building positive self-esteem with a clear plan for the next twelve months (5 to 6 on a scale of 10).  I vividly envision nurturing myself through prayer and by meditating on the words power and calm and by passionately envisioning my intention twice daily. “  Danielle “took the leap” by manifesting her intention on a regular basis and saw evidence in her daily life that she was growing in positive self-esteem.

If you were an athlete your body would be conditioned by daily workouts to win at your sport. So it is with manifesting your intention. I recommend completing your ILP Chart on a large sheet of paper and monitoring your progress daily. Place both the Chart and progress monitor sheet on a wall where it will be easily seen. You may make changes as needed to keep both current.

Just as Danielle has been able to accomplish her intention with commitment and coaching so can you. This transition period is an excellent time for introspection, growth and building an authentic relationship with yourself.  It is also a good time for taking an inventory of past mistakes, self– discovery and planning for the future.  This is your opportunity to become centered, focused and mature in your own right to insure that your future will be stable and happy with the support of your own divorce coach.

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Exploring Your Inner Self

In Living on September 13, 2011 at 1:28 am

Are you afraid to unmask your authentic self and communicate your needs with openness and honesty? When you feed into the expectations of others do you find it creates cycles of dysfunction?  When this happens, do you feel stuck and unable to change these destructive patterns of behavior and communication?

When I counsel people, I find that there is frequently an illusive disconnection in their ability to live an authentic and healthy life. For example, I counseled a frustrated middle-aged man who had been mandated for counseling by his employer for not showing up on time.  He divulged that his wife’s depression and isolation had been the cause of his daily drinking and resulting tardiness.  If he were able to unmask his true feelings with his wife he might not need to resort to daily drinking. If only she could understand that she doesn’t need to be the victim of depression she might not feel the need to isolate. Therapy helps people to look at themselves and their relationships and understand these psychodynamics and deal with them in a constructive rather than a destructive way.

A young college age woman had given into her boyfriend’s egocentric demands including having her baby aborted.  In counseling she exclaimed, “I love him even though I am the one who always makes a move to keep our relationship together.”  She terminated therapy and continued to pursue that destructive relationship. Similarly, are you sacrificing your values in hopes of salvaging a relationship?  Therapy can be helpful in these situations with self-esteem building and assertiveness training.

A forty year-old woman had come to me for couple’s therapy along with her alcoholic husband. Although separated, she was prepared to return to the marriage after a year of therapy.  This, despite his continued verbal abuse, stopping AA meetings, and two broken contracts to stop drinking.  When confronted with this evidence, she responded, “I just believe that marriage is meant to be forever…no matter what.”  It seemed that the demon of denial was working overtime. Counseling helps to break through denial and patterns of codependency, but a willingness to be open and honest is essential.

Finally, a fifty-five year old male came in for counseling with his volatile wife.  After 30 plus years of marriage, she complained of feeling trapped and not being valued by him.  It became clear that she was willing to leave her husband for a man 30 years her junior.  He insisted, “I love her and want her back even though she screams at me for nothing every day without fail.” If they had returned to counseling they would have learned how to develop positive self-esteem and healthy communication skills to build a loving couple’s relationship.

People can learn to unmask their authentic selves and develop the lives and relationships that they’ve always wanted. When there is a connection between your authentic self and the way you live a huge burden is lifted from your life.  A willingness and commitment to doing the work of counseling can go a long way towards helping you find inner peace and contentment in your life.

Creativity Time

In Living, Uncategorized on July 10, 2011 at 7:42 pm

Being on sabbatical these past few months has been a refreshing opportunity for much needed creativity time.  On the professional side, I have recharged my batteries with some new and challenging activities.  Personally speaking, I have been able to find creativity in old familiar ways.  Together these have allowed me to have a new wellspring of creativity to share with you.

Professionally, I have been creating workshops for groups of divorced people.  One workshop was for those who are newly divorced and the other for those who have been divorced for longer than one year.  Each of these groups were about using the Intentional Life Power Program; albeit differently.  With the former group it was about making a new start despite the anger, fear and loss.  In the later group, the focus was on rebuilding with the energies of being a person with a clear individual identity and purpose.  Each of these phases is important regardless of which transition phase you are going through.  Life is a lot like that – finding that place within where we can grieve, let go of the past and move on to building a brighter and more promising future.

Personally, I have been able to find creativity in ways that I had drifted away from – meditation and writing poetry. My morning meditations have allowed the spirit in me to rediscover itself with a sense of belonging much like a homecoming.  That special sense of wholeness is the unique gift of the meditative experience to me.  This in turn has provided a creative outlet through poetry writing as it did in my younger years. Meditation allows me to have a spirit connection while writing poetry provides the creative connection.  For me, this is a nurturing way to begin my day with a contentment that lasts all day long.

Personal and professional realms are equally important in order to have a creative connection with ourselves.  For many of us there is a need to be reminded of the value in consistently nurturing ourselves.  My wish for you is that you may come to value consistently nurturing yourself and see yourself as someone who deserves to be nurtured…who knows you may rediscover that creative spirit in you that has long been forgotten and needs befriending.