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Family Law Lawyers Need Help Too

March 15, 2016

Family law lawyers have a uniquely stressful role, particularly those who practice litigation.

Even when a client is satisfied with the outcome, the client balks and expresses dismay at the cost; you can come off a victory at court only to have the client express little to no satisfaction and ask “what’s next; if losing a case, you are the subject of client scorn. Getting paid on some of these high cost accounts can also add to stress.

The American Psychological Association pegs the rate of suicide for lawyers at 3.5 times that of the general population. A just released study of the American Study of Addiction Medicine pegs the incidence of anxiety and depression over the course of one’s career at 60% and 45% respectively and problematic drinking at 20%. These are not trifling numbers. The likelihood of a lawyer seeking counseling is low with lawyers reporting not wanting others to find out they needed help as well as concerns for confidentiality.

In view of the above, I have long since advised lawyers that if seeking help, they may be more comfortable going outside the jurisdiction of their practice. To that end and perhaps given a portion of my work also in the clinical-legal arena, I do see lawyers for counseling who travel distances to see me.

If you or a colleague are subject to the stresses of your family law work or experiencing the challenges of those stresses on your personal, marital or family life, I can only encourage you to seek help.

I have offices in both Hamilton and Georgina Ontario and people do travel distances to see me because of my experience working years in the clinical-legal arena. I am typically able to see people quickly – within one to two weeks.

Here are links to two articles that may be of interest to back up the information above. The first is to a recent research article on mental health concerns among lawyers and the second is to my article discussing how to seek help:

The Prevalence of Substance Use and Other Mental Health Concerns Among American Attorneys

Even Lawyers Get the Blues

Know someone who might benefit from this information? Please scroll down and share this article.

I am Gary Direnfeld and I am a social worker. It would be my pleasure to be of service.

Gary Direnfeld, MSW, RSW

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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.

If your relationship is faltering, then set it as your priority.

Read: Marriage Rescue: Overcoming ten deadly sins in failing relationships.

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