Family Law Attorneys and Counseling Clients by Lisa Kallemeyn Coon Rapids MN Lawyer

  A now-retired judge from the Anoka County MN bench used to hammer at family law attorneys and their clients about their roles.  He would caution the parties against spending their children’s college education funds fighting with each other. Then he would turn on the attorneys, noting that in the ‘old days’, attorneys held themselves out to be ‘attorneys and counselors’ at law.  His admonition to attorneys was to ‘counsel’ their clients to behave correctly and to counsel their clients in their behaviors and attitudes and to provide honest assessments of what is likely to happen if their case is litigated.  “You’re not just a mouthpiece for your client’s position,” he would say.  “Your job is to get them through this.” I found an interesting piece about this in Dr Mark Goulston’s blog, Road Back from Hell (which deals primarily with depression issues). This blog was post dated January 31, 2013: This is how he defines counseling: Counseling – the role of counseling is similar to being a consultant, but assessing problems in life, work and relationships and proposing actionable solutions. I really do consider myself a problem solver, and when advising clients about how to speak to their ex spouses, I keep in mind that these people will always be parents to their children, and snarky comments or unreasonable emphasis on ‘rights’ don’t help these folks move forward to be good...

Depression and Divorce/Separation

Recently I was provided with a list of psychotropic medications that are commonly used to address mental health issues.  The handout listed 27 different formulations used to treat depression.  I do not always remember to ask my clients about their mental health issues, but my assumption is that if they are in my office, they are experiencing some kind of depression issue.  This depression is most probably ‘transitory’, and will diminish naturally, but divorce and separation are serious issues and cause serious stress.  If a client is particularly sad, forgetful, angry, or calls me more frequently than normal, I will recommend that the speak to their physician and/or to a therapist to help them through the process.  Some people feel that there is a stigma to depression, but in family law the stigma is all but gone.  As an Early Neutral Evaluator, I am more concerned about untreated depression or denial about depressive symptoms than I am about someone who is seeing a therapist and taking medication. Two things about treatment of depression: There are 27 different formulations because everyone’s body chemistry is different.  Just like one kind of shampoo may not work best for every hair type, one anti depressant medication does not work for every individual.  This is where communication with a physician is important:  if one medication isn’t working or is giving side effects, try another.  And keep trying until something fits. Other, more holistic approaches are out there.  Diet has been linked to depression, as has lack of exercise, as has lack of daylight.  Especially important in Minnesota this time of year.  I use what...
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