Many experts estimate that 80% to 90% of divorce is emotional, while only 10% to 20% is legal. Very often, even the financial matters are really emotional issues at their core. The Divorce Coach is a licensed mental health professional, guiding the couple through the pain and stress that come with closing a chapter to one season of life, and embarking upon another. A licensed clinical psychologist, Dr. Petrich helps couples focus on their goals for the future as well as the present, and prepares them to be “their best” during the divorce. As a coach, Dr. Petrich can help insure that couples are taking positive steps to a new life. She can also help them understand how their emotions are clouding their financial decision making or the way they interact with their spouse or children. With the team approach, lawyers also benefit from advice from coaches about communication processes, emotional readiness of the couple, and methods for “leveling the playing field” of the parties.
In increasing numbers, even litigating couples are using coaches to ease the emotional burden and the “wear and tear” of the judicial process. Clients in litigation also seek consultations from psychologists like Dr. Petrich to assist them in communicating with their lawyers. Many divorce attorneys see themselves as the only emotional support their clients need, but this emotional support comes at a high cost in fees. At a lower billing rate and with much more training, a coach like Dr. Petrich is one step removed from the process and can help the divorcing client maintain more objectivity in the process. She can also help explain the legal process and the reasons the lawyer is using specific tools and strategies.
How is coaching different from therapy? Therapy is a long-time relationship that examines the client’s history and patterns of relating that affect work and relationships. By contrast, divorce coaches like Dr. Petrich help handle emotional issues ONLY AS THEY RELATE TO THE DIVORCE and the couple's future. Coaches help couples stay focused on talking to each other, and help them arrive at creative solutions for especially difficult problems that don’t have obvious legal solutions (like unadopted step-children, complicated inlaw or extended family relationships, disabled children, family business issues, etc.)
As a coach, Dr. Petrich can do career coaching or referrals; assist in financial education as it relates to the emotional issues; help find resources (support groups, childcare, therapy, employment); and help retain friendships and family relationships so friends and family don’t need to "take sides."