How the Psychodynamics of Emotions Influence Divorce Mediation

The Complicated Emotions of Divorce

No matter what type of divorce you are experiencing, any time a couple decides to divorce, there are many different emotional layers involved in the process.  There is often mistrust and anger in divorce, but even the most amicable of divorces will have many different layers of emotions and those emotions will influence the mediation process at some point.  The exploration of these emotions is sometimes referred to as psychological dynamics, or psychodynamics.  Psychodynamics influence any type of mediation but they can be particularly difficult for couples to navigate during divorce.  Because of this, mediation is particularly important because the mediator will help maintain an atmosphere of mutual respect and find ways to make mutually agreeable decisions.

To Litigate or Mediate? How Psychodynamics Influence the Decision

Mistrust, resentment, and anger are common emotions in divorce.  Even if you are on good terms with your soon to be ex, it is scary to divide assets and make major legal decisions that could influence your finances, time with children, and living arrangements for the foreseeable future.  The uncertainty of the situation only fans the flames of mistrust, resentment and anger and if left unchecked, could be the deciding factor between litigation and mediation.  Because of this, mediation should be sought as soon as possible before these common emotions are allowed to consume the divorce process.  An experienced mediator, especially one with backgrounds in both law and psychology, knows how to address and normalize these emotions so that both parties are able to see that mediation is ultimately the best choice, rather than litigation.

How Do Psychodynamics Infiltrate the Divorce Mediation Process?

Just like there are stages of grief, there are different stages of psychodynamics in the divorce mediation process.  It is important to address the emotions of resentment, anger, mistrust, shame, perfectionism, passive-aggressiveness, victimization, grief, and the ultimate expectations of the individuals divorcing.  Unrealistic expectations can lead to disappointment and frustration. So it is important to normalize these common emotions and address behaviors so that they can be recognized and then overcome or worked-around in a positive and fair way.  While divorce attorneys representing clients in a traditional courtroom divorce might capitalize on some of those emotions to give their clients a competitive edge, divorce mediators work to find a fair agreement for both parties.

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