FamilyCraft: The Private Practice of Family & Divorce Mediation

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Sorcery, Family Mediation & Picasso

I'm fond of that great quote from Picasso:
You can't be a sorcerer every day!

the fresh air couple
Yesterday afternoon, I had one of those couples that have such a positive regard for each other -- it's simply inspiring to be in their presence.

the struggling couple
In contrast, in the morning, I worked with a couple who - three and a half years earlier had left mediation because of their persistent struggles over control and trust. Sadly, they were in the same dynamic and they immediately questioned "the other's sufficient commitment to the process," and spoke of beginning a serious divorce war with lawyers. We talked about how much more delay that might entail.

I suggested that they owed themselves and their children (and new significant others!) resolution and closure of their divorce dance. They agreed to put down nearly nonrefundable deposits for two more sessions (we agreed in writing to an oppressive cancellation policy!), so that they might commit to the work and move forward.

Earlier in our work together, the wife stormed out of mediation, after a zinger from her husband. I knew from my experience NOT to go after her. They simply weren't yet ready for moving on; the allure of conflict held too much meaning at that point. I'm STILL uncertain whether "the time has come, the Walrus said."

I urged them to consider Jeffrey Wittmann's wonderful book "Custody Chaos, Personal Peace: Sharing Custody with an Ex Who Drives You Crazy." (It's all about what YOU can do, urges Wittmann, in an entreaty to self-empowerment by forgetting silly notions of changing your spouse.)

No sorcery yesterday, but I tried something different: a process approach (commitment by fee advances) that might just move this couple onward.


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