Sunday, October 30, 2011

Divorce Mediation: "People dont get OVER stuff, we get THROUGH it"

This weekend I began my journey to become a Professional Mediator.  The certification course, in conjunction with my education and experience working as both an attorney and a therapist will allow me to practice as soon as my course is completed in the middle of next month.

This is something that feels promising to me.  I was the only dually educated therapist/lawyer in the room although the panel of professional mediators was evenly divided between therapists and lawyers.

We focused much of this weekend on the interpersonal skills that therapists seem to have more training in when compared to attorneys.  Nuances of joining, body language, reframing, restating, normalizing, balancing, validating, empathizing, and facilitating the restructuring the family roles seemed paramount in this process this weekend.  Of course next weekend we will get into parenting time, child support, alimony, equitable distribution, and other budgeting issues which I expect the lawyers to excel.

I must admit that I tremendously enjoyed witnessing a room full of people attempt to reconcile the polarized perspectives offered by law compared to therapy and vice versa.  I have struggled with this for a long time.  I was pleased to discover the field of mediation was founded by a lawyer who turned therapist after his messy divorce and decided there must be a better way.  I have renewed hope the reconciliation of the left and right side of my brain is possible :).  

One of the things I heard today that resonated with me and hopefully will become incorporated into my work in all my capacities was a comment that goes something like: "People don't GET OVER stuff.  It is unfair to suggest that someone need to get over something in order to move forward. We don't float OVER problems to land safely on the other side where it cannot bother us any longer. People GET THROUGH  stuff, by fighting through the thick of it and emerging a little beaten down and scratch up on the other side. But the GETTING THROUGH is the hardest part.  Once on the other side, we can then begin to heal, repair, and move on." 


  1. Thank you L.A. Runner for reading and taking the time to send your thoughts!
    -Shannon :)

  2. wow! Do you have a post somewhere that talks about this professional transition? I am a divorce attorney, and my mother is a therapist, and we talk all the time about how I should have gone into her field and not mine. You just gave me hope!

  3. I don't have anything more than what I have here. It is a nice way to use the law to really help clients in a few meetings.

  4. Very nice and thanks for sharing your thoughts.