Divorce Coaches

The divorce coaches are licensed mental health professionals who are experienced in working with couples, families and children and are knowledgeable about the problems and issues of separation and divorce. They have been trained in the Collaborative Family Law approach  and are governed by professional organizations which ensure the highest standards of practice. The divorce coach is included in the Participation Agreement which states that all discussions involving the divorce coaches are part of the collaborative process and therefore protected from any future adversarial action. The divorce coaches are not acting as therapists or counsellors, but are using their training and skills to help the couple focus on their goals and achieve a positive outcome in the collaborative process.

In individual meetings, the coach will :

  • Help  identify and prioritize clients’ concerns, needs and goals
  • Help clients sort out  feelings and issues about separation and/or divorce
  • Help clients express and think through any highly emotionally-charged issues
  • Address the emotional crises that may arise during separation/divorce and help clients manage anger or distress
  • Help clients clearly identify their experience and clearly articulate it to the other spouse and understand their impact on the other spouse
  • Help clients learn communication skills and self-care skills to use in the collaborative negotiations and in the co-parenting relationship
  • Give clients appropriate information regarding marital transitions
  • Educate clients on how the separation and divorce process impacts their child(ren) developmentally,  the best ways to minimize the impact on the child(ren) and the ways in which they can support their child(ren) through this process
  • Teach parenting skills when needed, and address parenting issues that may arise
  • Provide information to help the client create a co-parenting plan.

In 4 way coaching meetings, the coach  will :

  • Help clients learn and/or use good communication skills to discuss issues
  • Keep the collaborative process moving toward resolution
  • Help clients talk about a co-parenting plan that fits the needs of the child(ren)
  • Address problems and concerns around parenting issues
  • Establish a positive style of communicating to use in the post-divorce co-parenting relationship

In working with the team the coach will :

  • Help team members understand how best to approach and respond to each partner
  • Increase awareness of sensitive issues and hot spots
  • Assist if emotional blocks arise that interfere with reaching a satisfactory agreement
  • Offer information about emotional areas that need attention

Qualifications of  the Divorce Coach

1. Registration and accreditation in good standing in British Columbia as one or more of the following:

  • Registered psychologist  (R.Psych)
  • Registered clinical counselor  (RCC)
  • Registered social worker approved for independent practice  (RSW)
  • Psychiatrist
  • Registered with the Association for Marriage and Family Therapy  (AMFT)
  • Registered with the Canadian Counsellors Association   (CCA)

2.  Background, education and experience in:

  • Family systems theory
  • Individual and family life cycle and development
  • Assessment of individual and family strengths
  • Assessment and challenges of family dynamics in separation and divorce

3.  At least two years of clinical experience with a focus on couples, families and systemic issues

4.  At least two years of therapeutic experience working with couples or families who are experiencing separation / divorce

5.  Membership in good standing in the Victoria Collaborative Family Separation Professionals group

6.  An accumulation or aggregate of fifteen hours of training in any or all of the following areas:

  • Basic professional coach training
  • Communications skills training
  • Collaborative training beyond minimum twelve hours of initial collaborative training
  • Advanced mediation training