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Managing the Narcissistic Ex: Counseling vs. Coaching

March 18, 2021

There is a big difference between counseling and coaching to address issues arising from managing with someone identified as a narcissistic ex.

In counseling we can help you process your feelings. However, it does little to address the management of the source of distress.

In coaching, we concern ourselves less with the feelings and seek to provide strategies to manage the source of distress.

Indeed, my view is that coaching is better than counseling because in the end, if one learns strategies to manage the former partner more effectively, there is less to be sad or anxious about.

In a recent session, the person was managing with a remarkably challenging former partner. I provided numerous strategies to address issues and manage more effectively.

Here is a list of topics I covered in a single meeting, remembering my meetings are set for three hours. Each strategy was explained in detail:

1. Use of women shelter services for support at court (court support worker);

2. Advising security at court of concerns, possibly to attend in court;

3. Bill Eddy’s resources: BIFF, So What’s Your Proposal, EAR Statements;

4. Mirror Neurons – how/why we get triggered;

5. Mindfulness/Meditation – how to bring our calm to situations of distress;

6. The role of medication and how to address it if used against you to suggest “you have a problem”;

7. Court processes – meetings (conferences) – opportunities for negotiation – how to negotiate;

8. FLIC Office (Family Law Information centre) for on-site mediation on any day with a court appearance;

9. MIP – Mandatory Information Program – what’s it about and what to take from it.

This list was determined by the issues and circumstances described by the person and tailored on the spot to meet their needs.

The strategies/tools provide the person with many takeaways and things to practice.

With improved competence to manage, feelings take care of themselves.

This is what empowerment is all about.


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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 video conferencing.

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Gary Direnfeld, MSW, RSW

gary@yoursocialworker.com
www.yoursocialworker.com for counseling and support

www.garydirenfeld.com – to build your successful practice

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, former 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 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.

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