Skip to content

When Separated Parents Fight Over the Child’s Name

In the more contentious parental separations, parents not only fight over the time the children spend with each of them, but over their minds and identities. Indeed as an issue, that underlies what many call parental alienation.

It is not enough that the kids live between us as we want, but the kids must also have the same (negative) view of the other parent as do I and the kids must be more aligned in their identity with my family over the other.

So what’s in a name?

The name for many is the seat of identity. The given name may honor a living of prior family member. The surname reflects the clan to which one belongs.

And so the fight is on.

The fight for the child’s identity may have begun at birth with a parent’s name left off of the birth certificate. In other cases it seeps in over time with subtle or not so subtle messages how the child may not fully belong to the clan, given a different last name.

As these parents fight over the external identity, characterized by the name, the child’s internal identity is also being shaped and formed. It is the parental fight that is most formative of that internal identity.

Apart from the child having to choose sides by making the name a deciding factor, the child’s internal identify forms on the basis of the child’s actual experience of the parents. The child then develops a world view on the basis of that internal identity:

  • If one or both parents is bad, that at least half of me is bad;
  • I am born of bad blood;
  • Given exposure to the parental dispute one parent’s views of the other is validated by that other parent’s actual behavior;
  • Separated parents will NEVER get along;
  • I cannot like or love two people who themselves do not like each other;

Consider the life of the child who lives with an internal identity comprised of those beliefs.

  • How does this child ever feel about themself?
  • How will/does this child compensate/manage for how they feel internally about themself?
  • How will the child relate to the parent whose behavior validates the negative messages of the other parent?
  • How will this child come to manage life’s inevitable conflicts with their intimate partner or friends or colleagues?
  • Will this child ever feel safe in the company of both parents and what will that mean for things like graduation, marriage and other significant life events?

Being the better parent may require one to remove themself from the fight for the external identity to concentrate on the formation of the internal identity. This is a tall order.

It requires letting go of the usual indicators of identity – the name.

By letting go the fight, the child then has at least one parent who demonstrates making concessions to the greater good of the child. The child’s experience of that parent also stands in contrast to what is said of that parent. With one parent being reasonable it holds the door open that if both are present in the same space and time, while uncomfortable it can be safe.

When your child comes to you and demands to change their name consider if the fight for their external identity will be of value to you in the long run in terms of your life-long relationship with your child. How you manage this may validate negative impressions of you whereas letting go the fight may cause you to be internalized as caring and acting in your child’s interest to live in peace.

While you cannot control the impressions projected of you by others, you are always in control of the impressions your project of yourself. Manage your inputs to your child’s internal identity as that may better serve your child in the long run.

I am Gary Direnfeld and I am a social worker. Check out all my services and then call me if you need help with a personal issue, mental health concern, child behavior or relationship, divorce or separation issue or even help growing your practice. I am available in person and by Skype.

https://garydirenfeld.files.wordpress.com/2013/07/gary-feb-12.jpg?w=200&h=301

Gary Direnfeld, MSW, RSW

gary@yoursocialworker.com
http://www.yoursocialworker.com

facebook-logo   linked-in-logo   twitter-logo

Gary Direnfeld is a social worker. Courts in Ontario, Canada, consider him an expert in social work, marital and family therapy, child development, parent-child relations and custody and access matters. Gary is the host of the TV reality show, Newlywed, Nearly Dead, parenting columnist for the Hamilton Spectator and author of Marriage Rescue: Overcoming the ten deadly sins in failing relationships. Gary maintains a private practice in Dundas and Georgina Ontario, providing a range of services for people in distress. He speaks at conferences and workshops throughout North America. He consults to mental health professionals as well as to mediators and collaborative law professionals about good practice as well as building their practice.

Loving What You Do is Important to a Successful Practice

I gave a workshop recently geared towards mostly mental health professionals who have peacemaking practices. Those are practices that include dispute resolutions strategies such as mediation and Collaborative Law. The workshop was also attended by a few lawyers who practice similarly. The workshop was called Blowing the Lid Off Your Peacemaking Practice. It was presented at the International Academy of Collaborative Professionals at the annual conference in Philadelphia in October, 2017.

Of the topics covered in this 90 minute session we discussed what people do currently in their practice and how they present what they do to others, mostly through electronic media. Everyone included similar information. There were several who included distinctly unique services which I listed on the board.

Then I asked what people would love to do.

Only a few of what was mentioned as things they would love to do were included in the services they first presented.

Later in the workshop I was asked where I get the time and energy to write as much as I write and engage as much as I do on social media.

I explained that we all seem to find the time to do what we love.

If people do what they love, then they are motivated to talk about it and somehow, finding the time is not even an issue. Loving what you do is where motivation comes from.

The workshop was about helping people determine what they would love to do in their practice; convey it in everyday language that anyone can understand; and get the word out to the public.

The workshop also encourages people to use less jargon and convey a multitude of ways they can be helpful. The key in all this is differentiating your practice from others and demonstrating a passion for what you do.

When you differentiate what you do an exude a passion for it, then clients can appreciate the value of what you offer and that you are committed to service.

I think the best compliment coming out of the workshop is the attendee who told me she knew exactly what she was going to do differently the next morning when she arrived to work.

If you want to grow your practice or change what you do, call me. I am pleased to work with people individually or provide workshops on behalf of practice groups, organizations or companies. Here’s the next workshop coming in November.

BTW – Loving what you do is key to success.

I am Gary Direnfeld and I am a social worker. Check out all my services and then call me if you need help with a personal issue, mental health concern, child behavior or relationship, divorce or separation issue or even help growing your practice. I am available in person and by Skype.

https://garydirenfeld.files.wordpress.com/2013/07/gary-feb-12.jpg?w=200&h=301

Gary Direnfeld, MSW, RSW

gary@yoursocialworker.com
http://www.yoursocialworker.com

facebook-logo   linked-in-logo   twitter-logo

Gary Direnfeld is a social worker. Courts in Ontario, Canada, consider him an expert in social work, marital and family therapy, child development, parent-child relations and custody and access matters. Gary is the host of the TV reality show, Newlywed, Nearly Dead, parenting columnist for the Hamilton Spectator and author of Marriage Rescue: Overcoming the ten deadly sins in failing relationships. Gary maintains a private practice in Dundas and Georgina Ontario, providing a range of services for people in distress. He speaks at conferences and workshops throughout North America. He consults to mental health professionals as well as to mediators and collaborative law professionals about good practice as well as building their practice.

Can’t get your twenty-something out of the house? Maybe it’s an Anxiety Disorder…

I am seeing more and more families where an adult child (20 – 25) has a serious anxiety disorder with some depression, where the implications of this as an issue of mental illness is not fully understood. The call for help is from one of the parents.

Their adult child barely gets out of the home and is frequently up much of the night and spending time on-line or with video games. The adult child is seen as non-productive, unmotivated and there is often parent/child conflict and also conflict between the parents in terms of how to manage the adult-child.

Because the implications of this as a mental illness is not fully understood, the issues of the affected person are taken as willful behavior instead of understanding that the behavior observed is rooted in a mental illness.

It is so important to understand the implications of an anxiety disorder to appreciate appropriate from inappropriate expectations. It is also important because without a good understanding of the disorder, the wrong treatment may be provided to no effect which only serves to make matters worse.

With regard to anxiety and treatment, so many people are searching for the right key, thinking that with the right key you may get the engine started and the person will be on their way.

The issue though isn’t the key. The issue is the engine itself. There is (a biological basis to the issue.

We may not be able to “fix” the engine.

However, understanding the issues and limitations of the engine, we can set more reasonable expectations and work better within the abilities of that engine.

Knowing these things reduces stress and conflict which in and of itself can help improve function to some degree.

Knowing these things, then we may apply strategies to manage better with the engine we’ve got. Those strategies are likely to include a combination of medication and “psycho-education” which means we explain and educate on the nature and effect of anxiety and strategies for better self-management (not change).

When the parent phones, I get a very brief history on the phone and then set a first meeting with the parents only. More often than not, their adult child has already been well diagnosed with an anxiety disorder.

In the meeting, I obtain from the parents a detailed history of the family and members from a bio-psycho-social perspective. I am seeking information trans-generational in nature and probing for issues related to mental health, physical health, addictions, violence/abuse, quality of relationships, developmental histories, personality styles, etc. I am looking for or assessing issues that may be either contributory or intervening variables to the presenting problem.

From there the next meeting is typically with the parents and young adult child together. The assessment continues and on the basis thereof, education and information is provided.

Today’s client found it helpful to have the nature and effect of anxiety explained for their own benefit as well as to the benefit of the parents. The feedback suggested that the information provided was fully consistent with the experience of the person and the parents’ experience of their adult child. The parents found it helpful to have the information in order to be more appropriately supportive. The adult child found it helpful to finally realize what they are grappling with.

We will continue to meet and I will continue to offer coping and management strategies. These meetings are monthly and will only continue as necessary and as helpful.

I am Gary Direnfeld and I am a social worker. Check out all my services and then call me if you need help with a personal issue, mental health concern, child behavior or relationship, divorce or separation issue or even help growing your practice. I am available in person and by Skype.

https://garydirenfeld.files.wordpress.com/2013/07/gary-feb-12.jpg?w=200&h=301

Gary Direnfeld, MSW, RSW

gary@yoursocialworker.com
http://www.yoursocialworker.com

facebook-logo   linked-in-logo   twitter-logo

Gary Direnfeld is a social worker. Courts in Ontario, Canada, consider him an expert in social work, marital and family therapy, child development, parent-child relations and custody and access matters. Gary is the host of the TV reality show, Newlywed, Nearly Dead, parenting columnist for the Hamilton Spectator and author of Marriage Rescue: Overcoming the ten deadly sins in failing relationships. Gary maintains a private practice in Dundas and Georgina Ontario, providing a range of services for people in distress. He speaks at conferences and workshops throughout North America. He consults to mental health professionals as well as to mediators and collaborative law professionals about good practice as well as building their practice.

We All Want a Successful Practice.

In addition to my social work practice, I have been consulting, coaching and training others on practical strategies to grow their practice. You may have seen my private practice tips or blog posts on Linked In. In addition, you may have seen my announcement for workshops provided at provincial and international conferences helping others build the practice.

If you are seeking to build your practice, there are several ways I may be of service:

  1. The first is by providing content for your website, blog or social media. For this I provide 2 options;
    • You can freely use any of the content from my website where you will find hundreds of article related to family life, parenting, relationships, divorce and separation. All I ask is that if using my readymade content, that you provide appropriate reference – Authored by: Gary Direnfeld, MSW, RSW.
    • If you want original content, as a professional writer, I can provide content for your use under your name. We would chat; I would obtain an understanding of the theme and issues to be addressed and provide you with written material for use on your website, blog or social media.
  2. The second way I can be of service is through consultation or coaching. We can meet in person, by phone or video conferencing to chat about strategies for growing your practice.
  3. The third way I can be of service is through invitation by your company or professional organization to provide a workshop on growing your practice.
  4. Lastly, you can attend my exclusive small group workshops when available. The next workshop takes place Friday, November 10 and is limited to 8 persons. For more information, see:  Build, Brand, Market, Close: Building Your Successful Peacemaking or Counseling Practice

I love seeing others succeed. It would be my pleasure to help you do so.

I am Gary Direnfeld and I am a social worker. Check out all my services and then call me if you need help with a personal issue, mental health concern, child behavior or relationship, divorce or separation issue or even help growing your practice. I am available in person and by Skype.

https://garydirenfeld.files.wordpress.com/2013/07/gary-feb-12.jpg?w=200&h=301

Gary Direnfeld, MSW, RSW

gary@yoursocialworker.com
http://www.yoursocialworker.com

Facebook
Linked In
Twitter

Gary Direnfeld is a social worker. Courts in Ontario, Canada, consider him an expert in social work, marital and family therapy, child development, parent-child relations and custody and access matters. Gary is the host of the TV reality show, Newlywed, Nearly Dead, parenting columnist for the Hamilton Spectator and author of Marriage Rescue: Overcoming the ten deadly sins in failing relationships. Gary maintains a private practice in Dundas and Georgina Ontario, providing a range of services for people in distress. He speaks at conferences and workshops throughout North America. He consults to mental health professionals as well as to mediators and collaborative law professionals about good practice as well as building their practice.

Examining Therapy

Therapy is a funny thing.

Although the history of psychotherapy can be traced earlier, it was Sigmund Freud’s “talking cure” that created the template for today’s psychotherapy.

That template is built on assumptions such as the standard 50 minute session and letting people “free associate”. In Freud’s time, the person actually laid down on a couch with the psychotherapist sitting in a chair just behind and out of the person’s field of vision. If the therapist said anything it was to reflect back some of what was heard or to offer an interpretation. In the context of Freudian therapy, the therapist was the expert.

Years later, Carl Rogers developed what he came to call in the latter part of his career as “person-centered therapy”. This moved the therapist from behind the couch to a face to face position with the person served. As a former minister, for Rogers, having a connection with the person was important to his style of practice. Without going into the underlying theory, important in his approach was seeing the person as expert rather than the therapist. The therapist was there to provide unconditional positive regard (UPR), empathy and to reflect back positively what was heard from the client. In this context, the therapeutic relationship was seen as pivotal for facilitating wellness.

There have been many other remarkable and notable therapists before and since. However, common to virtually all psycho-therapeutic approaches is the 50-minute hour, empathy and letting the client take the lead.

The thinking or theory held by many psychotherapists given the history of psychotherapy, is that if they create a “safe place”, typically thought of as free from judgment where the person is allowed to speak freely, the person will come to trust the therapist and then after however many session it takes, reveal either directly or indirectly events that have shaped their lives, but they were either out of touch with or felt shameful about.

It is in finally revealing those past events that provides relief. The other thinking is that “timing” is involved. The traditional therapist believes that past issues can or should only be revealed when the client is ready.

Here’s the thing…

People seeking help for emotional or interpersonal distress typically haven’t read or are familiar with the history of psychotherapy. As such, it is only through attendance over time do they learn to be a client. However, depending on the time and the discomfort of the issues, many people drop out of therapy not having attained the relief or resolution sought. To add, if the service is private pay, the persons served can develop an even greater sense of dissatisfaction, not having obtained a desired result for time or money spent. This leads to treatment failure and an experience that leaves the person reluctant to try therapy again.

I have never taken to a traditional view of psychotherapy. From sitting in my original counseling class in undergrad psychology with a remarkable woman who trained with Carl Rogers, to present, I have always held the view, that while the therapist is not the expert on the life of the client, the therapist can hold expertise and knowledge to be used directly in the service of the client. As such, it not only behooves the therapist to be knowledgeable on therapeutic approaches, but also social science research, understanding those issues that give rise to emotional, cognitive and behavioral issues as well as those conditions that promote healing and wellness.

From this perspective and approach, the therapist is very active in the therapeutic process, asking direct questions regarding one’s background and life experiences. “Safety” in this context is derived from the therapist’s comfort in and non-judgmental listening to the content brought forth by the client’s disclosure of material from direct questions.

By asking direct questions and with a good knowledge of social science research as well as biological factors underlying behavior and issues related to mental health or illness, the therapist can more forthrightly uncover those issues that may relate to current matters of distress.

Whereas many therapists, including myself rely upon the genogram (pictorial representation of one’s family history or family tree) , the more traditional therapist build their genogram over time, based on content delivered session after session. In my approach, I seek to build the genogram within the extended first meeting, that first meeting scheduled for 3 hours.

By creating a more elaborate genogram in one sitting, within the first session and with knowledge of social science research, the therapist is then able to sooner provide connections between life events and current circumstances rather than relying on the passage of time and for the person to eventually come to their own deconstruction-reconstruction of factors contributory to their issues. It also helps the therapist rule in or out issues that may be historical and/or biological and thus lends itself to more efficient treatment.

Guidance, information and treatment recommendations may flow from the single encounter, sufficient to meeting the person’s needs.

If necessary, a follow-up meeting is set to support the use of strategies or increased knowledge or information provided to the person. Follow-up meetings may also serve for examining hypotheses that may have also been generated at the meeting and then tested between appointments.

With this approach if a follow up meeting is set, it usually is some 4 or more weeks into the future. This allows feedback or guidance provided in the first meeting to percolate with the person and to provide time to practice, adjust, explore or implement any of the strategies provided. As in the first meeting, 3 hour chunks of time are always provided yet only the time used is actually billed to the person. With this approach, the meeting concludes more when it makes sense rather than arbitrarily having run out of time. This lowers concern for the person that they will run out of time before addressing issues and also lowers concern for losing momentum not having addressed issues of concern from one meeting to the next.

There is nothing to say this approach is better or worse than any other approach, but to say it is different. It isn’t helpful to all persons, but in my experience the persons I serve typically express satisfaction.

My bottom line in writing this blog is to bring to therapists’ attention that just as we seek to have people examine their lives, we too who provide therapeutic services, must examine our beliefs and approaches too. That is the nature of reflective practice.

I am Gary Direnfeld and I am a social worker. Check out all my services and then call me if you need help with a personal issue, mental health concern, child behavior or relationship, divorce or separation issue or even help growing your practice. I am available in person and by Skype.

https://garydirenfeld.files.wordpress.com/2013/07/gary-feb-12.jpg?w=200&h=301

Gary Direnfeld, MSW, RSW

gary@yoursocialworker.com
http://www.yoursocialworker.com

facebook-logo   linked-in-logo   twitter-logo

Gary Direnfeld is a social worker. Courts in Ontario, Canada, consider him an expert in social work, marital and family therapy, child development, parent-child relations and custody and access matters. Gary is the host of the TV reality show, Newlywed, Nearly Dead, parenting columnist for the Hamilton Spectator and author of Marriage Rescue: Overcoming the ten deadly sins in failing relationships. Gary maintains a private practice in Dundas and Georgina Ontario, providing a range of services for people in distress. He speaks at conferences and workshops throughout North America. He consults to mental health professionals as well as to mediators and collaborative law professionals about good practice as well as building their practice.

7 Questions to a Successful Peacemaking or Clinical Practice

Are you a Collaborative Lawyer, Mental Health Professional, Divorce Financial Specialist, Mediator or Clinician/Therapist/Counselor?

To have a successful practice, you must be able to answer these questions affirmatively:

  1. Is you practice really client centered?
  2. Do you know your client’s experience of your practice?
  3. Do you ever debrief with a client after meeting?
  4. Does your website really convey who you are and what you do in an easy to understand manner?
  5. Are you using social media and if so, are you engaging with your followers?
  6. Are you able to convey what you do in simple terms?
  7. From the moment of first contact, be it a website, social media or phone call, will the person seeking service see you as the go to person to meet their needs?

To have a successful practice, you not only must be able to answer those questions affirmatively, but you must also be able to identify those elements that contribute to your answers, otherwise, you are just guessing and hoping. Growing your practice by chance isn’t good enough in today’s world of choices. Growing your practice today must be a purposeful endeavor.

Today’s client has a world of options available to them. To serve them well, you must be clear about who you are, what you do and who you can do it for.

To have a successful practice you must not only invest in the skills associated with your profession, but also marketing and business development skills. While you may hire an outside consultant to facilitate your branding, marketing and even service processes, you still must be able to convey to your outside consultant who you are, what you are seeking to achieve, who your client is and how your client thinks. Your business is your baby and you can make it grow best.

Build, Brand, Market, Close: Building your successful peacemaking or counseling practice is a workshop designed to assist you in learning about and addressing concepts associated with practice business development.

The benefit in attending is to help you better conceptualize what you do, how you do it and how to convey it to others.

Interestingly enough, being able to identify and articulate who you are, what differentiates you from others and how you may be of service also helps you in your practice. Knowing who you are, what you do and how to convey it to others helps you focus yourself and your service making you more on point and confident in your work.

They say it takes 3 to 5 years to develop a successful business.

Regardless of when you started your practice, where do you want it to be in 3 to 5 years time?

Kick start your goal by learning and being purposeful and focused in how you build your practice.

Attend this workshop or invite me to provide this workshop for your association, practice group or organization.

Build, Brand, Market, Close: Building your successful peacemaking or counseling practice

My next workshop is offered as an exclusive small group experience taking place from my residence/retreat in Georgina (Keswisk) Ontario, ½ hour north of Newmarket, an hour north of mid-Toronto. It takes place Friday, November 10, 9:00 am.

Hope to see you there or hope to enjoy your invitation to present on behalf of your group, organization or association.

When you invest in yourself and your learning, even for practice business development, you are serving your client. Bottom line, the client experiences your attention to your business on their behalf. That’s attractive. It serves your client.

Be a stand out.

I am Gary Direnfeld and I am a social worker. Check out all my services and then call me if you need help with a personal issue, mental health concern, child behavior or relationship, divorce or separation issue or even help growing your practice. I am available in person and by Skype.

https://garydirenfeld.files.wordpress.com/2013/07/gary-feb-12.jpg?w=200&h=301

Gary Direnfeld, MSW, RSW

gary@yoursocialworker.com
http://www.yoursocialworker.com

Facebook
Linked In
Twitter

Gary Direnfeld is a social worker. Courts in Ontario, Canada, consider him an expert in social work, marital and family therapy, child development, parent-child relations and custody and access matters. Gary is the host of the TV reality show, Newlywed, Nearly Dead, parenting columnist for the Hamilton Spectator and author of Marriage Rescue: Overcoming the ten deadly sins in failing relationships. Gary maintains a private practice in Dundas and Georgina Ontario, providing a range of services for people in distress. He speaks at conferences and workshops throughout North America. He consults to mental health professionals as well as to mediators and collaborative law professionals about good practice as well as building their practice.

Is It Real or Really Just in Your Head?

Did you know that emotions like to anchor themselves in life events?

However, some emotions that while coinciding with a life event or experience, are actually independent of that experience or at least felt disproportionate to the experience. Hence, not all emotions are truly anchored in a life event or experience and in some cases, people may actually construct a version of a life event to try and make sense of an emotion. Emotions seek to have external justification.

This is the nature of mental illness – we try to make sense of our feelings in view of what is happening in our life, yet the feeling may be more internally or biologically determined than by an outside stimulus. The feeling may actually be quite independent of a life event or experience.

Hence we distinguish between endogenous and exogenous contributions to mental illness.

If endogenous, the depression, anxiety or other disturbances are more biologically determined even if one tries to make sense of the feeling by attributing it to an experience.

It is just that you don’t have to have experienced serious life events to have an endogenously determined mental illness. To add, there is a good likelihood that a close relative, (parent, grandparent, sibling, aunt, uncle, cousin) also has the same or similar mental illness.

If exogenous, then the issues are truly tied to external events, such as loss of a loved one, abuse, neglect, etc.

It may also be the case that both endogenous and exogenous issues are at play.

To further complicate matters, significant negative life experiences (trauma) or less serious but ongoing negative life events can alter the brain to then evoke biological changes to create a longer lasting endogenous mental illness.

This is so important to understand and determine as it affects treatment: Endogenous, exogenous, or both and to what degree?

It can mean the difference in the kind of medication that may be helpful and the duration for using medication. It can also mean the difference in terms of the type of counseling that will be most helpful.

That is why assessment before treatment is so important. We seek to understand and determine the appropriate diagnosis and the degree to which factors involved are biologically determined or the result of certain events or experiences – or both.

I am Gary Direnfeld and I am a social worker. Check out all my services and then call me if you need help with a personal issue, mental health concern, child behavior or relationship, divorce or separation issue or even help growing your practice. I am available in person and by Skype.

https://garydirenfeld.files.wordpress.com/2013/07/gary-feb-12.jpg?w=200&h=301

Gary Direnfeld, MSW, RSW

gary@yoursocialworker.com
http://www.yoursocialworker.com

Facebook
Linked In
Twitter

Gary Direnfeld is a social worker. Courts in Ontario, Canada, consider him an expert in social work, marital and family therapy, child development, parent-child relations and custody and access matters. Gary is the host of the TV reality show, Newlywed, Nearly Dead, parenting columnist for the Hamilton Spectator and author of Marriage Rescue: Overcoming the ten deadly sins in failing relationships. Gary maintains a private practice in Dundas and Georgina Ontario, providing a range of services for people in distress. He speaks at conferences and workshops throughout North America. He consults to mental health professionals as well as to mediators and collaborative law professionals about good practice as well as building their practice.

10 Communication Strategies from One Counseling Session

Not all communication difficulties in relationships are due to attitude or bad will. Sometimes one of both partners may actually have some biologically determined issues.

Such was the case with regard to a couple I met with recently.

Apart from whatever else was going on, the one partner did have a significant bilateral hearing loss (both ears), as well as what sounded like an auditory processing problem. The person also advised that going back to elementary school, a comprehension problem was detected.

What some couples don’t realize is that those biologically determined issues on top of some family or emotional issues create the conditions for complex communication challenges. That is also why the counselor or treating clinician is best to have considerable training and experience in a number of related areas.

On the basis of meeting with the couple, I advised how the biologically determined issues were co-mingling with other family and emotional issues and we discussed strategies for therefore communicating more effectively. When I asked what this person will do differently on the basis of our discussion, the person came up with a great list:

  1. Be more involved mentally;
  2. Know when to step back and think;
  3. Admit to shortcomings;
  4. If taking a break to think things through, come back prepared to share what you thought;
  5. Read words of encouragement to learn them and then use them;
  6. Acknowledge what was heard;
  7. Ask someone to rephrase if something is not well understood;
  8. Ask to affirm my understanding;
  9. Recognize my own sensitivity versus just going to a defensive place.
  10. Write down what I want to remember to say.

I asked the person’s permission to share their strategies and permission was granted. The person said, my providing them on the blog would serve as their reminder to follow through with the strategies.

Maybe some of their strategies can be of service to you in your relationship.

I am Gary Direnfeld and I am a social worker. Check out all my services and then call me if you need help with a personal issue, mental health concern, child behavior or relationship, divorce or separation issue or even help growing your practice. I am available in person and by Skype.

https://garydirenfeld.files.wordpress.com/2013/07/gary-feb-12.jpg?w=200&h=301

Gary Direnfeld, MSW, RSW

gary@yoursocialworker.com
http://www.yoursocialworker.com

Facebook
Linked In
Twitter

Gary Direnfeld is a social worker. Courts in Ontario, Canada, consider him an expert in social work, marital and family therapy, child development, parent-child relations and custody and access matters. Gary is the host of the TV reality show, Newlywed, Nearly Dead, parenting columnist for the Hamilton Spectator and author of Marriage Rescue: Overcoming the ten deadly sins in failing relationships. Gary maintains a private practice in Dundas and Georgina Ontario, providing a range of services for people in distress. He speaks at conferences and workshops throughout North America. He consults to mental health professionals as well as to mediators and collaborative law professionals about good practice as well as building their practice.

 

 

When Separated Parents Badmouth

Think about it. Separated parents sometimes say awful things about each other to the child.

However, your child looks up and sees himself as half of both parents.

If one parent badmouths the other to the child, then the child internalizes, “I am half bad.”

If the other parent reciprocates and causes the child to see the other parent as bad, then the child internalizes, “I am all bad.”

If your child comes to you and tells you how the other parent says you are awful, you have choices to make. You can rant and rave and rail about the shortcomings of the other parent, but if you do, you will likely reinforce the view of you perpetrated by the other parent. You will look scary and intimidating, proving to the child you are as described.

However, you can choose differently.

You can shrug your shoulders and tell your child, “Yup, other parent has lots to say about me, now let’s get dinner ready”.

Letting the child’s message roll off your back takes the weight out of it. Redirecting to whatever you were intending on doing moves you to a better place.

So often we think we have to defend ourselves against every attack. Sometimes the best defense is not getting sucked in and simply enjoy your time with your kids.

Which do you think your kids would prefer?

I am Gary Direnfeld and I am a social worker. Check out all my services and then call me if you need help with a personal issue, mental health concern, child behavior or relationship, divorce or separation issue or even help growing your practice. I am available in person and by Skype.

https://garydirenfeld.files.wordpress.com/2013/07/gary-feb-12.jpg?w=200&h=301

Gary Direnfeld, MSW, RSW

gary@yoursocialworker.com
http://www.yoursocialworker.com

Facebook
Linked In
Twitter

Gary Direnfeld is a social worker. Courts in Ontario, Canada, consider him an expert in social work, marital and family therapy, child development, parent-child relations and custody and access matters. Gary is the host of the TV reality show, Newlywed, Nearly Dead, parenting columnist for the Hamilton Spectator and author of Marriage Rescue: Overcoming the ten deadly sins in failing relationships. Gary maintains a private practice in Dundas and Georgina Ontario, providing a range of services for people in distress. He speaks at conferences and workshops throughout North America. He consults to mental health professionals as well as to mediators and collaborative law professionals about good practice as well as building their practice.

How Does Your Practice Grow?

I swung into private practice as a social worker back in 1990. I was confident in my skills as a social worker and thought that by telling a few potential referral sources about my availability, I would be busy in no time. I sent out some 75 cards to local family doctors and sat back.

I waited and waited.

In my first year of practice I did about $6,000 worth of business. Without the support of my wife we wouldn’t have survived.

I waited and waited.

In the second year of practice I did about $12,000 worth of business. Thank goodness my wife had her job.

My wife was working for an employer who didn’t treat their employees respectfully. I was filling my time as house-husband. Push was coming to shove. She was growing more distressed with her workplace. I was growing more perturbed for a lack of referrals.

I broke my silence and spoke to a few people about my lack of business. Several told me the same thing:

People only refer to people they have already met. People need to see that you don’t have 4 eyes and 6 ears. Given that people are sending you their clients, friends or family, they have to have confidence in your service as your service will be a reflection on them.

Wow, I was awakened.

I got out of my office in so many ways.

  • I volunteered on community groups;
  • I met directly with family doctors;
  • I provided workshops;
  • I courted the media – radio, print and television;
  • I found ways of differentiating what I do;
  • I found ways of making it known to others;
  • I closed the loop by letting my referral sources know how things were going.
  • I found the power of the Internet and hit the web with everything I had.

I realized that if I wanted a successful practice, it would take more than my social work skills. I needed to develop my marketing skills.

By my third year of practice my wife was able to leave her job. We haven’t looked back since.

Sine those days and increasingly over time, I have been sought out to help others develop their practice. I have long since held the view that I shouldn’t worry about my competition, but be a resource to anyone seeking my support. This too has helped develop my practice.

Now I am presenting more and more at provincial and international conferences, less about social work and more about helping others develop their practice.

If you work in a helping profession, if you are trying to help others get along better and resolve their differences and you want to grow your practice, I would be delighted to be of service.

This is becoming my next calling and business endeavor – helping other peacemaking professionals grow their practice.

You don’t have to wait years to learn as I did. You can learn now.

I love what I do and do what I love.

You should too.

Build, Brand, Market, Close: Building Your Successful Peacemaking or Counseling Practice  – November 10 2017

I am Gary Direnfeld and I am a social worker. Check out all my services and then call me if you need help with a personal issue, mental health concern, child behavior or relationship, divorce or separation issue or even help growing your practice. I am available in person and by Skype.

https://garydirenfeld.files.wordpress.com/2013/07/gary-feb-12.jpg?w=200&h=301

Gary Direnfeld, MSW, RSW

gary@yoursocialworker.com
http://www.yoursocialworker.com

Facebook
Linked In
Twitter

Gary Direnfeld is a social worker. Courts in Ontario, Canada, consider him an expert in social work, marital and family therapy, child development, parent-child relations and custody and access matters. Gary is the host of the TV reality show, Newlywed, Nearly Dead, parenting columnist for the Hamilton Spectator and author of Marriage Rescue: Overcoming the ten deadly sins in failing relationships. Gary maintains a private practice in Dundas and Georgina Ontario, providing a range of services for people in distress. He speaks at conferences and workshops throughout North America. He consults to mental health professionals as well as to mediators and collaborative law professionals about good practice as well as building their practice.