A basic premise
of this Web site is that typical
divorcing families and
are significantly more complex than average intact biofamilies. They
encounter special needs as they work to negotiate many alien extra
life-cycle steps. One common need is for
qualified professional support along the way, starting in courtship. As
several biofamilies and stabilize, they need
informed help from
clergy, counselors or therapists, attorneys, school staffs, financial
advisors, and medical professionals. Typical co-parents also need support
from informed relatives, friends,
and religious communities.
In my experience as a stepfamily therapist since 1981, few human-service
professionals are adequately trained to fill the special needs of these
families. Most professionals - and their instructors and supervisors - don't
know what they need to know. These Web articles
for professionals summarize what I believe they need to know to provide
to typical divorced and re/married families.
This article outlines ways
to assess whether you have the requisites for effective service beyond those
needed to practice your profession.
Clinicians (marriage, family,
and pastoral counselors, psychotherapists, clinical social workers and
psychologists, and psychiatrists) and the people who train, supervise,
license, and accredit their organizations
have more requisites than
typical legal, educational, financial, mediation, social service, and other
Use the links
above and what follows to estimate your current qualifications, and whether
you need to improve them:
Keystone - a Self-led Personality
An essential requisite for effective
human service to any clients, patients, or students is to have your
(capital "S") consistently guiding the many
that comprise your
in calm and conflictual situations. In my experience, many human-service
professionals bear significant
They're often governed by a
and don't know it or what it
Virtually no diploma, licensing, or accreditation examiners will assess for
this, because they and our society aren't aware of it yet. For perspective,
read this true example of an average
three-home nuclear stepfamily affected
by psychological wounds, and then return here.
a clinician or other professional, and a parent or not, you can choose to
assess who really runs your life - your true Self, or other
subselves. To do this, study the following resources for background:
Now you're prepared to
decide whether or not to
assess yourself for false-self
dominance. If you choose not to, that's a probable sign of
protective false-self control. This assessment process is the same as
this site encourages typical client co-parents to do.
This slide presentation on the unseen
[wounds + unawareness] cycle
that stresses most U.S. families and wounds their descendents;
A summary of typical
traits of a high-nurturance family (is or was
This slide presentation on
personality subselves and "false self"
wounds, and common questions
A two-page overview of
what happens to adults who grew up in a low-nurturance family;
true Self and false self traits; and...
This article overviewing recovery from common psychological wounds.
In my work with
over 1,000 Midwestern co-parents since 1981, it appears that most U.S.
bioparents and stepparents are significantly ruled by false selves - and
are living half-lives and unintentionally
their kids. Psychological and legal
is a major symptom - and
over half of U.S. marriages fail legally or psychologically. Has
your other personality subselves is the gateway to your
(b) achieving your full professional competence.
If you're often ruled by a
well-meaning false self, the rest of these requisites won't help as much as
they could. There is an
to free your true Self, with patience, courage, and informed help. If
you're skeptical about these "inner-family" ideas, please meditate on
this with an open mind...
Now let's look
at how to assess for the other requisites to qualify for serving
divorced-family and stepfamily clients effectively. Skip the next section if
you're not a clinician.
Self assessment for
propose specific clinical requisites in each category in the table above.
Option: follow the links below to self-assess which requisites you have and
which you need, and keep notes as you review.
knowledge of human systems, relationships, personalities,
communications, grieving, stepfamilies, and the therapeutic process;
personal traits to augment your
Your true Self usually guides your other subselves in all situations;
Requisite attitudes about (a)
these clients and (b) the therapeutic process;
assessment and intervention skills to
fill these clients' special needs;
of an informed, high-nurturance workplace
- An inventory of recommended
resources related to these clients.
Reality check: to be well-qualified to work with
these clients, you should be able to discuss most or all of these
questions typical clinicians should ask. Note that
the mosaic of interlinked articles here propose most of the knowledge you'll
need to serve these clients. The non-clinical articles are summarized in
these lay guidebooks for convenient reference. I hope to integrate these
professional articles into a similar guidebook by 2005.
Self assessment for
theme here is becoming fully qualified to providing
to typical divorcing-family and stepfamily clients, patients, and/or
students. If you provide (a) direct
non-clinical service or (b) administrative support to direct providers
(instruction, consultation, administration, evaluation, ...),
you need your true Self to lead
your personality and these requisites:
Knowledge: Be able to confidently answer and
discuss all questions in these quizzes about
personalities and relationships, effective
stepfamilies. For "extra credit," (1)
learn how to answer each of these questions co-parents should ask, and (2)
learn the underlying themes in this mosaic
of common divorced-family and stepfamily surface problems.
your behavior with these clients is semi-consciously shaped by a group of
beliefs and values (good <> bad, right <> wrong, safe <> unsafe)
attitudes) your subselves have acquired - often in childhood. With your
Self guiding your inner family, review this proposal of
requisite attitudes about
these clients, and see what you learn. The most essential requisite is "
- genuine mutual respect. Do you have an effective way of intentionally
shifting your core attitudes, as life and your wisdom and awareness
traits: A (personality)
trait differs from a skill in that it is inherent, rather than
learned. Most people can sing or learn to play the piano. A minority
are gifted (innately talented) and can consistently create unusually evocative (touching,
inspiring, entertaining, uplifting, moving) music. Can you name some unique
traits that set you apart from most other people?
With your Self in charge, review these eight
special traits that can
significantly enhance professional service to these clients (and others).
Option: ask for honest feedback from those who know you as to which of the
traits you display. Do you believe people can intentionally develop
desirable personal traits?
Workplace environment: A
human-service professional's "work environment" is anything that
significantly affects his or her (a)
(b) behavior with clients or patients. It
co-workers - including colleagues,
supervisors, office staff, administrators, and policy makers;
employer's and professional-association's attitudes and in/formal policies (e.g. on
ethical behavior), and...
contracts with other provides and/or grant providers or other funders, if any; and...
_ referral sources, _ community members, and _ media; and...
relevant state laws, legislators, and departments; and...
the physical workplace setting.
The collective effect of all of these can
inhibit or enhance direct service to these clients. Once aware of this,
professionals can (a) intentionally try to improve aspects of their work
environment, or (b) choose a new environment more conducive to effective
service. With your Self in charge, get curious and honestly assess your
working environment with some version of
Do you feel
your environment helps or hinders the service you provide? Option: use the
reality-check following the linked criteria. Then try out this
skill to unearth your
environmental needs, and decide if you need to change something.
groups of resources can significantly help non-clinical professionals
deliver effective service to these (and other) clients: (a)
organizational/human assets, and (b) selected media assets. To acquire
these, direct-service providers need to acquire them intentionally, or have qualified
administrators or colleagues acquire and maintain them. When your Self is
leading, invest time in reading this
article to assess (a) what special human and media resources you may
profit from for these clients, and (b) where to get them.
This article summarizes a way for licensed clinicians and other
human-service providers to self-assess six or seven requisites to see if
they're fully qualified to serve typical complex, low-nurturance
families and trauma survivors. re are at least three things that can hinder
professionals wanting to
attain these vital requisites:
typical divorcing and stepfamily clients aren't motivated to shop for
fully-qualified professionals - specially in
professionals are uninformed about how to refer battling co-parents to fully-qualified mediators or clinicians. Clients are usually
(a) unaware of their
(b) the requisites above, so they can't shop for them or evaluate
well-intentioned referrals; and...
current U.S. media doesn't promote lay or professional
awareness of these requisites. This is part of a larger societal
denial of - and indifference to - our tragic
divorce epidemic, the
[wounds + unawareness]
that causes it, and its toxic personal, family, and social impacts.
Pause and reflect: what needs were you trying to fill by reading this
article? Did you fill them? If any new needs appeared, can you name
them? Is there someone you want to show this article to and/or discuss it
Now do you feel qualified enough to serve your divorced and re/married client families well?
+ + +
Prior page /
Add to favorites
Email this article's address
site intro / course outline / site search / definitions / chat / contact
September 30, 2015