An Artist with Minnesota Ties Speaks to Young Adults About their Parents’ Separation

A relatively new book, titled Broken Circle- Children of Divorce and Separation, by Karen Klein, who graduated from the University of Minnesota with a Master’s Degree in Fine Arts, has written and provided the photographs for young adults who talk about their experience with their parents’ divorce/separation.  The link to its purchase can be found at //www.amazon.com/Broken-Circle-Children-Divorce-Separation/dp/1492892254/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1389884855&sr=1-1&keywords=broken+circle+children+of+divorce+and+separation.  The book is beautifully photographed and lets the young adults speak in their own words about their experiences. This book does not have an agenda of disrespecting separating parents, but rather gives many perspectives from young adults about growing up with separating/separated parents.  Some view the separation as good, others do not.  In any event, it is a good reminder to parents that their actions impact their children’s lives far beyond preteen and adolescent years. This is a good book for family law attorneys to review and for mediators to consider having around so that parents can gain this perspective.  Mediation works much better if parents’ goals are aligned to lessen the negative impact of their separation on their...

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...

Transition realities-Minnesota resources

Parents must take care to avoid bleeding their own personal pain and hurt onto their children when separating.  In many cases, one partner is leaving and has ‘left’ the relationship emotionally months or even years previously.  This leaves the other partner bewildered and angry.  It is torture to be going through your own grieving period and then to have to look at a child who wonders why the other parent left.  This is where true parenting comes into play.  A parent’s role is to set aside their own feelings, albeit briefly, and address the issue as neutrally as possible. Although evaluators and judicial officers truly understand that there is a natural inclination to lash out and to tell children exactly why (in that parent’s view) the other party left, it is fundamentally bad for children.  I have several handouts I give to clients that address this issue.  However, another good resource is a Minneapolis-based therapist who has a set of free tools on her website, //www.betsysansby.com/pages/freetools.php.  I am especially fond of the STOP...
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