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How A Storm Gave Me Empathy For People Seeking Divorce Counseling

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How A Storm Gave Me Empathy For People Seeking Divorce Counseling

A storm made me reflect on the challenges of people seeking divorce counseling

I just got back from visiting friends and family on the East Coast where I lived for most of my life. I enjoyed warm nights, fresh ocean breezes and even an exhilarating thunder storm!

As I was driving from Connecticut to Maine, however, I saw something I’d never seen before in my life — a  T O R N A D O  warning!

I realized that I had no idea what to do in the event that the twister came upon me: Should I stay in the car? Get out of the car? Find the nearest overpass and hide under there?

It was quite frightening.

Lucky for me, I missed the worst of the weather. My nephew in Kittery wasn’t so lucky. His car was pelted with hail the size of mini baseballs (no exaggeration!). There were lots of downed trees and power lines as well.

To make matters worse, I was running low on gas and service stations for miles were unable to pump gas due to the power outages they experienced. I stopped four different times without being able to fill up — each time, a bit closer to “E.”

Not knowing what to do when challenges arrive is a terrible feeling. Not having enough resources adds to the angst. I felt extremely vulnerable to the elements and, even though I realize we are never 100% protected from anything, it certainly feels better to be prepared.

I suppose I could have called someone or asked a fellow driver for help had I gotten into trouble but how much better would it have been to know in advance how to handle these types of emergencies!

That incident gave me a fresh reminder of how my clients feel when their relationship falls apart and they didn’t see it coming-or they did, but they still have no clue how to deal with it.

The people who get divorce help and information early in their process tend to do the best (meaning, they feel better about the process) because they are calmer and more confident.

Here are some questions that will guide you to get the right help and resources lined up from the start:

1. What kind of divorce process do you want to have (mediation, litigation orcollaboration)?

2. How do you know if you have the right attorney (and other divorce professionals) working for you?

3. How much should you spend?

4. How do you deal with your intense emotions during the process (and are they normal?)?

5. How do you want to feel when the paperwork is all signed?

I’m happy to help you answer these questions and I am also happy to send you a Suggested Reading List. You don’t need to go through the process alone and, even though you’d undoubtedly come out on the other side of your divorce, having the right guidance and help can determine whether you have a bad divorce or a better divorce.

Contact me at info@changingmarriage.com(link sends e-mail) and I’d be happy to share resources with you.

[Susan Pease Padua]

As a child of divorced parents, Susan knows first-hand how disruptive an unhappy marriage and subsequent marital dissolution can be. When her mother and father split in 1981 (on their 28th wedding anniversary), marriage counseling was unheard of and emotional divorce support virtually nonexistent.

Her own experience, combined with years of working with couples in distress – both in striving to save their marriage or transition out of it – led Susan to become passionate about offering support to people at perhaps one of the most crucial junctures in their lives.

In 2000, Susan founded the Transition Institute of Marin and began providing information and counseling to this underserved population.

Books

Eight years later, Susan wrote, Contemplating Divorce, A Step-by-Step Guide to Deciding Whether to Stay or Go
(New Harbinger Publishing, Inc. © 2008), a book that provides objective guidance to those struggling in a rocky marriage as well as invaluable information on how to navigate the divorce process. Contemplating Divorce became a San Francisco Chronicle best-seller its first week in publication.

In 2010, Susan completed a meditation book for those challenged by difficult emotions during and after divorce entitled, Stronger Day by Day, Reflections for Healing and Rebuilding After Divorce.

Susan’s latest book, The New I Do: Reshaping Marriage for Skeptics, Realists and Rebels, is a collaboration with journalist Vicki Larson. You can learn more about this project by clicking on The New I Do page.

Susan has helped hundreds of people gain clarity in their relationships. Her private therapy practice consists of couples, individuals (local and distance therapy clients) and the many relationship or divorce support groups she runs.

Susan in the Media

As an often-featured writer for the Huffington Post Divorce page, Susan also writes a regular column for PsychologyToday.com and Examiner.com.

Susan has been a guest on the CBS Early Show as well as numerous radio shows across the U.S. and Canada and has also been featured in: The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Psychology Today Magazine, Divorce Magazine, The View From the Bay and more.

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