Divorce Counseling and Recovery

  • Are you hesitant of your decision to divorce because of the impact it will have on everyone else?

  • Are you amidst a battle ground that leaves you deflated and that you have no control over?

  • Do you question your decision daily even though you truly believe that you have done everything to make your marriage work?

  • Do you still harbor the same emotional attachment and reactivity five years post- separation?

  • Do you have no idea which way to turn at times?

  • Are you terrified that you are going to forever be alone?

You Are Not Alone

Upwards of 50% of marriages end in divorce. The end of a marriage often signals the breakdown of the family, which can be devastating to all parties involved. The process of divorce adds to the pain. People who were once very connected and committed often become adversaries, and the divorce becomes a battleground. There are often emotional and financial consequences.

Lawyers and courtrooms can polarize conflicted parents and add to the stress of divorce. Parents who hate their spouses more than they love their children can be even more damaging. Mutual respect, cooperation, accountability and collaboration can produce a transition that can limit the negative effects on both parents and children. Effective communication and dispute resolution can help minimize the damage that is done during this process.

By the time someone files for divorce, one or both adults have struggled for years and have emotionally distanced themselves from their partner. Whether you have chosen to leave or are the one being left or it is a mutual agreement to end the marriage, you have to negotiate your new role as a separate individual. No one is ever prepared for the end of their marriage; this is a process.

How Can Divorce Counseling Help?

Divorce Counseling can assist you in navigating through the stages of separation and divorce and the emotional pain that ensues: blame, anger, sadness, loss, guilt and more until you reach a point of independence, resolution and stability.

No matter how much effort parents exert to protect the children from the negative impact from divorce, they are never fully immune. Dr. Winter understands the impact of this process on the children. She also understands the pain parents feel, as they attempt to cope with their anger and the myriad of decisions they need to make, not only for their children, but also for their own dramatically changed lives.

It is often when kids most need consistent nurturance that their parents—stressed, angry, bitter, and in need of nurturance themselves—are least able to provide it to them.

Dr. Winter skillfully blends her therapeutic expertise with couples and families, specialized training as a Parenting Coordinator and Family Court Mediator, and prior work as a court (15 th judicial circuit) and forensic psychologist and evaluator, to make her uniquely qualified to assist you in this process.

Divorce Counseling involves interventions designed to assist individuals and families transition through the divorce process. This may involve psychological therapy for one or both parents, the children and/or the family as well as co-parent counseling. Through cooperation, accountability, co-parenting and collaboration, decisions can be made that will empower families and minimize intense conflict and resultant damage to the children and family.

Using traditional methods of psychotherapy to help you gain insight as well as skill-building and trauma work (EMDR), Dr. Winter can help you transition through this journey to a new place of healing and way of being. Divorce coaching helps you navigate the web of lawyers, litigation, parenting plans and mediators. Effective communication, boundary setting and anger management and affect regulation are also addressed as you transition through staying focused as a parent. As with any crisis, we land in a different place than we began. There are instances where dual roles are not permitted, particularly in the area of parenting coordination.

Dr. Winter offers the following services:

Divorce Counseling

For children, divorce can be scary, sad and confusing. The notion that it is the end of the family with which they are familiar leads to uncertainty and anger and fear. As parents, you need to take care of yourself first in order to support your children through this process.

As one of the originators of the now mandatory course for parents going through a divorce in Palm Beach County, Dr. Winter is familiar with the needs of children. She is available to work with children, teens and adults engaged in this transition to minimize the damage and help parents and children lead happy and healthy lives.

From how and when to tell the children, manage their schedules and yours, minimize conflict, make your kids a priority and foster a relationship with both parents as well as confront the emotional waters, Dr. Winter can help. She believes wholeheartedly that . . “the only way to be a better parent is to be a better person.”

Often by the time the divorce is in process, families have been locked in an unhealthy place for a long time. Therapy can assist not only with support but also with tackling more serious issues that might arise with parents or their children such as drugs/alcohol, cutting, eating disorders, defiance, angry outbursts, sleep problems and difficulty with school.

Co-Parent Counseling

A parenting plan regarding parental responsibility and time-sharing, whether established by the parents via agreement or ordered by the judge, is just that: a plan. Implementation of that plan can be a challenge, even under the best circumstances.

In co-parent counseling, parents learn to work together to strengthen themselves and empower the lives of their children. Dr. Winter’s approach is to regard the children and their best interests as a principal client. Co-parent counseling is not marital therapy: conflict between parents is addressed only to the extent that it affects their relationship, roles or conduct as parents. Her goal is to empower parents to function in ways that nurture their children’s growth and development.

Through co-parent counseling, parents can learn to free themselves from dysfunctional, emotionally-charged communication and behavior patterns by helping them adopt clearly- defined, respectful, and dispassionate approaches to problem-solving and decision-making.

Co-parent counseling can help address:

  • Unresolved anger and grief
  • The challenges of a changed lifestyle
  • Conflict in child-rearing philosophies
  • Differences in child-rearing practices
  • Issues arising from new responsibilities
  • Concerns about role-sharing
  • Discipline and rules
  • Communication with the children
  • The role of friends and family
  • Boundary and triangulation issues
  • Planning for communications with the co-parent

Co-Parent counseling is similar to parenting coordination, however, it is done via the mutual consent of both parents and does not involve the courts. It is recommended for non-litigious parents who are working to raise their children when living apart. It is also appropriate for couples who have a healthy marriage but seek advice regarding their parenting. Co-parent counseling is not intended for high-conflict couples involved in frequent divorce and post- divorce litigation, such as parental alienation, parental instability, pathogenic parenting, domestic violence, addictions and child abuse.

When one parent is unable or unwilling to participate in co-parent counseling, individual counseling can help a parent disengage from the debilitating power of the other parent and become more effective. Successful parenting depends on the willingness of the parents to participate.

Parenting Coordination

Parenting Coordination is a form of alternative dispute resolution designed to assist high-conflict parents in minimizing conflict and better meet the needs of their children and, whenever possible, resolve issues without litigation. It is a child-centered constructive process intended to empower parents and reduce disputes. It is different from Co-Parent Counseling in that it is not voluntary and in certain circumstances the Parenting Coordinator can make decisions. It is also not fully confidential.

Parenting Coordinators assist in the development or implementation of a parenting plan, but cannot do both. This is done through education, mediation and arbitration.

By the time a parenting coordinator is called in, the parents’ relationship has deteriorated to a place where any kind of cooperation, co-parenting and accountability has ceased to exist.

A Parenting Coordinator’s decisions are bound by the court and must be adhered to until the court rules otherwise. Sanctions for non-compliance can vary but may include allocation of costs and, at the extreme, the resignation of the parenting coordinator.

Where psychological services are offered, the person or family receiving the services is the client and the rules of confidentiality apply. In contrast, with forensic services, such as parenting coordination, the person who hires Dr. Winter, such as the courts, may receive information and the rules of confidentiality do not apply in the same manner. Parenting Coordinators are appointed by mutual consent and/or court endorsement. Dr. Winter can be hired at the request of the attorneys and approval of the court or by order directly from the court.

You Don’t Need to Do This Alone

If you need help navigating the decision, course or aftermath of divorce, contact me via phone or email. I can help you gain the strength you need to move through the process.

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