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 co-parents.