Category: Family

A Letter from China: International Collaboration with Mental Health and Divorce Professionals
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A Letter from China: International Collaboration with Mental Health and Divorce Professionals | Lauren Behrman

{Read in 3:30 minutes} Dear Colleagues: We’re sending this blog from Wuhan, China, where we are enjoying a few days of sightseeing and absorbing Chinese hospitality, history and culture from our wonderful colleagues and their graduate students.

Jeff is the current president of The Society for the Advancement of Psychotherapy,(SAP) Division 29 of the American Psychological Association (APA). The division has been working on increasing its international presence, and in 2016, SAP formalized an affiliation with Oriental Insight—a similar organization in China Normal University School of Psychology which was founded by Professor Jiang Guangrong, a leading psychologist at Central China. Professor Jiang is one of the leaders in the field of Counseling Psychotherapy and Mental Health on the Chinese mainland.

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Prepare and Plan to Ensure that Children’s Special Events are Truly Special
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Prepare and Plan to Ensure that Children’s Special Events are Truly Special | Lauren Behrman

{Read in 3:30 minutes} Children’s special events deserve to be memorable and positive. Whether it’s a graduation, confirmation, bar or bat mitzvah, recital or play, children benefit from divorced parents who plan ahead to ensure that the event—and the memory of the event—will not be spoiled by parental conflict.

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Governmental Benefits and the Special Needs Child
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 Governmental Benefits and the Special Needs Child | Susan Ingram

{2:48 minutes to read} In my next blog I will be discussing the various financial issues that affect the parents of a special needs child who are divorcing. Before doing that, however, I first need to describe the basic framework of governmental services and benefits that are provided to children and young adults with disabilities.

Click here to read Susan Ingram's entire article...

Divorcing Parents and Their Special Needs Children
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Authored by , re: Family, Family & Divorce, MEDIATION, Parenting, on .
Divorcing Parents and Their Special Needs Children | Susan Ingram

{3:12 minutes to read}  I just finished a mediation session with a divorcing couple who have a special needs child, in addition to two typically-developing children. While divorces involving special needs children are often complicated and involve more issues than the “normal” divorce, I find helping these families to be especially rewarding.

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Parenting for Transparency
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Authored by , re: Family, MENTAL HEALTH, Parenting, on .
Parenting for Transparency | David Zerella

{3:00 minutes to read} I provide therapy for many teenagers and their families who are dealing with a wide array of diagnoses and clinical issues—from oppositional defiance to anxiety to familial challenges and transition. In my practice, I emphasize family attendance and participation in order to maximize transparency.

Transparency is developing an open, honest relationship between parents and children in which conflict is not avoided but discussed candidly. As with all of my work, unconditional self esteem is the cornerstone for successful transparency. Therefore, I help families to understand and remind each other that, although they may not like one another’s behavior, they can still accept (love) each other.

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Children Becoming the Parents of Their Parents
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Children Becoming the Parents of Their Parents | Bob Bordett

When we were young we thought our parents were indestructible. They played with us in the yard and on the floor. They climbed ladders and would clean out the gutters every fall. As we grew older, we became more indestructible and watched as our parents became more cautious and careful. Then we started having our families and children (their grandchildren), and we started realizing we were not so indestructible either.

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When Is It Appropriate to See a Family in Family Therapy?
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When Is It Appropriate to See a Family in Family Therapy? | Brittany Starrantino

{2:54 minutes to read} Have you ever thought to yourself, “My family is crazy,” or “My family makes me crazy?” Well, if you have had that thought, it is not an unusual one, and there is even some truth to it. It is natural that the family unit plays a large role in our individual lives and emotions. In a majority of cases, when the family identifies one individual in need, the other individuals in the family are also in need.

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Lost in Silence
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Authored by , re: Elder Care, Family, on .

As mediators we know there are two kinds of silence: The first is tactical.  During a mediation, we may remain silent while one party to a dispute wrestles with how to respond to a proposal, or maybe comes up with an alternative offer.  This tactic can lead to a settlement.  I don’t use it often, but when employed at the right time, it can move the process forward and eventually yield agreement.

Click here to read Sig Cohen's full article...

Joint vs. Sole Custody – Part 3
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Joint vs. Sole Custody – Part 3 | Alberto Yohananoff

This is a continuation in our article series that focuses on joint and sole custody. Click here to read Part 1 or Part 2. Shared custody that involves young children – children below the age of four – must be handled with care. It is delicate to balance the need to foster attachment, security, and stability with their primary attachment figure against the need to foster a healthy relationship with both parties – a process which involves multiple and repeat visitations. According to research done by Pruett in 2012,

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Societal Regression & the Child-Focused Society
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Societal Regression & the Child-Focused Society | Ronald B. Cohen, MD

What Happens When Helicopter Parents Are Hit by Boomerang Children?

“If you keep doin’ what you’ve been doin’, you’ll keep gettin’ what you’ve been gettin’.”

Societies vary in functional levels of differentiation and amount of chronic anxiety in a manner similar to families and individuals. Emotionally reactive behaviors in a societal context follow the same attack—defend, pursue, withdraw—interactions as do familial relationships. Coalitions and group conflict are analogous to fusion and cut-off.

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What It Is, Is What It Is
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What It Is, Is What It Is | Ronald B. Cohen

Omelet and Soufflé, Same or Different?

A man is but the product of his thoughts - what he thinks, he becomes. ― Mahatma Gandhi

Most dichotomies are false ones; the mind/body and nature/nurture ones coming most readily to mind. A discussion in the LinkedIn Counselling & Psychotherapy Group concerning the latter revolved around the question “How do you like your eggs?” More specifically, the age-old question was finally resolved: the egg came before either the omelet or the soufflé. And then there was Humpty Dumpty.

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5 Tips to Beat Fertility Stress as a Couple
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5 Tips to Beat Fertility Stress as a Couple | Chloe Carmichael

{Read within 5:30 minutes} Many professional women deliberately postpone starting a family because they want to be in control of furthering their education, their career or accomplishing other important goals. Ironically, when it becomes time to start a family later in life, many women end up losing a degree of control because of fertility issues. The good news is that there are excellent fertility treatments available. The challenge is that they have the potential to take over a couple’s life.

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A Bowen Theory Lexicon
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A Bowen Theory Lexicon | Ronald B. Cohen

How Even the Great Ones Get Confused

‘When I use a word,’ Humpty Dumpty said in rather a scornful tone, it means just what I choose it to mean — neither more nor less.’ ’The question is,’ said Alice, ‘whether you can make words mean so many different things.’ ’The question is,’ said Humpty Dumpty, ‘which is to be master — that’s all.’ —  Lewis Carroll, Through the Looking Glass

Or as Hamlet put it way more succinctly, “Words, words, words,” which Liza Doolittle modernized as: “Words! Words! Words! I’m so sick of words! I get words all day through; first from him, now from you; is that all you blighters can do?”

Click here to read Ronald B. Cohen's full article...

On Triangles with Dead People
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On Triangles with Dead People | Ronald B. Cohen

“Death ends a life, but it does not end a relationship, which struggles on in the survivor’s mind toward some resolution which it may never find.” ― Robert Anderson

In a previous blog, The Structure, Function and Emotional Process of Triangles, I wrote “De-triangling occurs when strategically someone comes into a polarized situation and makes an effort to not take sides, and to relate well to each person.” A highly regarded, well-respected colleague who has, with great equanimity, integrity and compassion, withstood all of Hal’s attempts to befuddle and confuse, wondered, “What if they’re Dead?”, most specifically in regards to the primary parental triangle we all struggle to resolve.

Are You Really Listening?
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Authored by , re: Family, Family & Divorce, Marriage, on .
Are You Really Listening? | Susan Ingram

{2:54 minutes to read} Recently, I came upon the Chinese character for the word “Listening.” I was fascinated to learn that the character is comprised of 5 separate symbols related to listening. The meanings of those 5 symbols are discussed below. Ears: Since our ears are the part of our bodies that enables us to hear sound, they are the most obvious component of listening and typically the first thing we think of.

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The Practice Is the Performance
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The Practice Is the Performance | Ronald B. Cohen

Walking the Talk

“This work is a truly personal one; we only know the whole truth of ourselves.” — Rabbi Marcelo Bronstein

Murray Bowen began his essay Theory in the Practice of Psychotherapy with “There are striking discrepancies between theory and practice in psychotherapy,” which begs the question: what exactly is the practice of Bowen Family Systems Theory “Coaching”?

Click here to read Ronald B. Cohen's full article...

“I Feel Like a Homeless Person”
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“I Feel Like a Homeless Person” | Ada L. Hasloecher

These were the exact words expressed by a client during a relatively uncomplicated, amicable and straightforward mediation. What was surprising to me when the wife tearfully made this admission, was that this couple was in good financial straits, they were mediating beautifully, they were in agreement about the house, the move, the children… so the fear was completely unfounded. But there is was.

The Structure, Function and Emotional Process of Triangles
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The Structure, Function and Emotional Process of Triangles | Ronald B. Cohen

What Kind of Company Always Creates a Crowd?

“One’s company, two’s a crowd, and three’s a party.” — Andy Warhol

Life rarely happens in ones or twos, but almost always in threes or more; and more specifically and theoretically exactingly, in groups of interlocking threes. From the Bowen Center Web site:

“It [a triangle] is considered the building block or “molecule” of larger emotional systems because a triangle is the smallest stable relationship system.

Click here to read Dr. Ronald B. Cohen's full article...

The Children’s Bill of Rights
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The Children’s Bill of Rights | Susan Ingram

Many of the couples I see in my divorce mediation practice have children. Not surprisingly, I find that some parents are more able than others to keep their conflict separate from their relationship with the children. Understandably, this is no small feat, given all of the emotions, anxieties and fears that can arise during this challenging transition from married to separated/divorced.

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A Survey Reveals a Huge Disconnect for Couples
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A Survey Reveals a Huge Disconnect for Couples | Susan Ingram

I heard a startling fact on the radio the other day that really got my attention. The announcer declared that a recently released Fidelity Investments Study had found that “while 72% of couples say they communicate well, 43% of couples cannot correctly identify how much their partner makes.” (For the Study, couples were defined as those who were married or living together in a long-term relationship.)

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When Is It Appropriate to Introduce the Children to a Significant Other?
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When Is It Appropriate to Introduce the Children to a Significant Other? Part 2 | Ada L. Hasloecher

Part 2 – The 5 Questions to Ask Yourself

{5 minutes to read} So, back to the scenario I described in my previous article:

Your soon-to-be ex is pushing for the children to meet his new significant other, Sally* – as soon as possible. You are outraged at his temerity in bringing this up while you are still reeling from the revelation of your impending separation. You can’t believe this is such a sticking point for him,  AND he wants your answer right away.

Click here to read Ada Hasloecher’s full article…

There Is No Predictability in Divorce
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There Is No Predictability in Divorce | Daniel Burns

{2:18 minutes to read} At a recent conference, I sat in on an update on the law. The presenter, who was an attorney that was very knowledgeable about divorce law, was reviewing various cases and the legal lesson that the cases provided. And by the end of the session, I realized that there was simply no predictability in any of it.

For example, he discussed several cases involving spousal support that generated vastly different outcomes.

Click here to read Daniel Burns' full article...

Building a Solid, Stable Life: Community (Part 2)
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Authored by , re: Family, MENTAL HEALTH, Miscellaneous, on .
Building a Solid, Stable Life: Community (Part 2) | Jay Feld

The storms of life test the quality of the house we’ve built for ourselves. If we’ve built well, we will be kept safe in the storm; if not, we’ll find ourselves with a leaky roof and water in our basement, or worse. In the fall and winter of 2000, in the middle of the journey of my life, I found myself in the midst of a lot of storms.

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The Last Quarter: Part II – The Solution
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The Last Quarter: Part II – The Solution | Ron Cohen

Meaning Making and Reinvestment

‘And life is a journey: From childhood to maturity And youth to age;’ — Rabbi Alvin I. Fine

Previously on the FamilyFocusedSolutions.com blog, we were exploring a colleague’s struggle to ”do this work [of self-differentiation] in the last quarter [of one’s life].” How to make meaning from the multiple losses of people, resources, function and sense of purpose? How to respond when in the face of illness, death,disability and “cut offs,” “one’s world gets relationally more narrow”?

Click here to read Ron Cohen's full article...

Building a Solid, Stable Life: Community (Part 1)
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Authored by , re: Family, MENTAL HEALTH, on .

“Nothing we do, however virtuous, can be accomplished alone; therefore we must be saved by love.”

Reinhold Niebuhr

In October 2012, the New York City area felt the fury of Hurricane Sandy. The hurricane was responsible for about a hundred deaths (one in my neighborhood) and caused tens of billions of dollars in damage. After the storm had blown over, the re-builders had to make extra-sure they were now laying the best foundation possible in order to ensure the stability of the new structure.

Click here to read Jay R. Feld's full article...

Social Insecurity
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Authored by , re: Family, Family & Divorce, LAW RELATED ARTICLES, on .

{2:48 minutes to read} I recently attended the Annual Conference of the New York State Council on Divorce Mediation where one of the presentations dealt with Social Security and divorce. During the session, the presenter stated that as long as you were married for 10 years or more, your Social Security benefits would be based upon either your earnings or the earnings of your spouse, whichever provides a greater benefit. This would apply even if you and your spouse were divorced.

Click here to read Daniel Burns' full article...