It’s good to talk
Director Rita Gupta writes:
Divorce can be a lonely process. For many of our clients, it’s difficult to talk to anyone outside of the relationship, even family. We find that, for many clients, our office is the only environment where they talk about what’s happening in their lives.
That experience led us to investigate the psychological benefits of talking through major life events such as divorce or separation. However, there are obvious benefits of speaking with a professional. Clients who have the right support are more receptive to technical information, and can make more informed choices. In turn, that led us to approach Theresa Carter, a clinical hypnotherapist and EMDR practitioner with a specialist interest in stress management.
As part of our “divorce is more than just about the law” series, we talk through some of Theresa’s top strategies for dealing with major life events such as the breakdown of your family, and why simply talking through your issues and emotions is so beneficial.
1 - Seek professional help
Theresa says: It may go against the grain for some, but the first step is to actually accept you need some help. A professional therapist is not going to judge you, or have an emotional response. They will simply help you speak your truth. Speaking your truth and being totally honest about how you are feeling can help you process your emotions and experiences much better.
Rita says: At LGFL, our approach is both sympathetic and professional. Clients can speak to us in total confidence, knowing that our approach is intelligent and assured, as well as sympathetic and supportive. However, we recognise the value of specialist counselling or other forms of therapy.
2 - Feelings are fruitful
Theresa says: The ability to allow yourself to feel is fundamental for your physical and mental wellbeing. If you allow yourself to feel emotions, they can dissipate more quickly, and allow your brain to process the experience. If you find it hard to let go of the past, this can lead to depression, as you cannot change what has already happened. Instead, seek help to try changing the way you feel about the past, to lift those dark depressive thoughts.
Rita says: Divorce has a pre-set timescale in England and Wales - there is no such thing as a ‘quickie’ divorce. Holding negative emotions inside for a sustained length of time is clearly not advisable, so we would encourage all our clients to consider seeking help if your divorce is complex or difficult at an early stage. Even a so-called ‘amicable divorce’ is a huge loss and a major change.
3 - You are doing your best
Theresa says: Many people are very ‘hard on themselves’ when experiencing life-changing events. Always remember, you are doing the very best you can with the knowledge you have, and the circumstances you are in. It may be a major effort even to get out of bed and put one foot in front of the other, but you did it. This is where affirmations can help, by affirming (and confirming) beliefs to yourself. An example affirmation is “I am stronger than I think I am”. Writing down your affirmations and then saying them out loud gives you the belief to overcome those nagging voices in your head. Sometimes, it’s good to talk to yourself too!
Rita says: Affirmations are particularly powerful if your divorce goes to court. Self-belief and calmness in court will always support you in your case.
4 - No comparisons
Theresa says: Never compare your life and circumstances with others. Instead, live the life you have with all your strength, and appreciate the growth it brings. Every challenge you face is making you stronger, wiser, and better equipped to deal with whatever lies ahead. It’s why experienced professionals seem to know what to do in almost every circumstance - they have been there, done that, and stored the experience as a resource to draw on if required.
Rita says: With years of experience in family law cases, both Anne and myself have that depth of knowledge resource our clients value. Our past cases help us offer the best advice and support to future clients, whatever their specific circumstances. We don’t judge, and very little shocks us.
5 - Don’t click Send straight away!
Theresa says: During a divorce, we can often work ourselves into a highly emotional state. We might say or think things we don’t intend, and the urge to post, text or email out of anger or hurt is almost overwhelming. However, don’t click that Send button. Put the device down, walk away, and take three long, deep breaths. Then count down from 100 to 1, out loud. Now, look again at whatever made you angry or upset with the mindset of your rational, adult self. Ask yourself, would I have dealt with that differently if I had been calmer and less stressed? Then choose how you wish to respond.
Rita says: I am often dealing with the consequences of ill-judged remarks and messages between clients and their partners, usually sent in haste and much repented at leisure. If a person uses abusive language towards you, never take it personally. It says much more about their state of mind than about you. However, there is another side to this in that it could be adduced as evidence in your case. Therefore.it is usually best not to put every thought in writing, which just fuels acrimony and is detrimental to your wellbeing. If however, you are experiencing repeated abuse, talk to us about protective measures such as an Injunction or a warning letter. Remember, abuse is not just physical. It is widely recognised that verbal, emotional and financial abuse are just as serious and in some cases can have even longer-term ramifications.
6 - High anxiety
Theresa says: Do you find yourself imagining the future, worrying about something that hasn’t happens yet, constantly thinking “What if…”? Stop right there! Bring yourself back to the here and now, and examine what evidence or actual proof you have that supports your imagined though or scenario.
Rita says: As family lawyers, we spend our professional lives ensuring our actions are based on factual information. We know how easy it is for clients to let their imaginations run away with them. I firmly believe that good sound legal advice can reduce the need to consider endless “What if’s”. We will guide you through the options and possible outcomes at our first meeting, and you can leave the progress of your case with us in confidence.
7 - Act now
If you are at a crossroads in your relationship, call us here at LGFL and book your free 30-minute consultation.. You can discuss your particular circumstances, and receive our professional advice and suggestions on your options moving forward. If you opt to continue with us, we can do the preparation now so you know it will be ‘good to go’ in the New Year. Book now for a January consultation, for a positive start in 2018.
More about Theresa Carter
A huge thank you from us to Theresa for her invaluable insights for this article, and we look forward to drawing on her expertise in the future. You’ll find much more about Theresa at her website, or ask us about her services at your next appointment.
Office: 0118 9547 870