When someone is starting or going through the divorce process, they are often overwhelmed by the emotional stress involved with their relationship ending. And there’s a very good chance they will get stuck on telling the “story” of their divorce because their entire focus is on what led to this point, how and why it happened, and who is to blame. This not only takes an emotional toll on both the divorce client and whoever is listening, it keeps them from moving forward, and concentrating on the task at hand, which is to navigate through the business of the divorce process.
Everyone has heard the phrase, “let them vent, it’s good to get it all out in the open.” According to Dr. Brad J. Bush, “Venting anger is like using gasoline to put out a fire. It just feeds the flame. Venting keeps arousal levels high and keeps aggressive thoughts and angry feelings alive.” And the fact is that it creates emotional stress for both the person telling their “story” and the person listening to it.
Stress On Divorce Client:
1. Takes Client down an emotional rabbit hole
2. Keeps reliving the same emotional upset over and over
3. Raises blood pressure
4. Isn’t making forward progress
5. Client resists new ideas
6. Client feels stuck
Stress On Listener:
1. Overwhelming circumstances overwhelm
2. Feel powerless to be able to help
3. Wears out friends and family
4. Hard to know where to begin
5. Can’t focus on what they are there to do
As a divorce coach, it’s up to you to interrupt the story while still honoring and validating the person telling it. Ask a question while including facts of the story that shows you were listening and heard what they were saying. For example, “Can I ask you a question? I’ve heard you talk about the children and custody, and I’ve heard you talk about the house, and I’ve heard your concerns on the financial situation. Which of those is most important to you right now?”
Asking that simple question will get them focused on one thing, rather than all of those things. And it also says, “I’ve heard what you said. I understand that all of these are important to you. Which would you like to focus on first?” By focusing on one thing, the overwhelm is reduced and you can now begin helping the client determine their wants and needs in an organized and professional manner.
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