The Emotional Roller Coaster of Divorce

The Emotional Roller Coaster of Divorce

Like most of life, divorce is a process and not an event, a journey and not a destination, a normative road taken by approximately half of all first married couples (though not taken by the other half), and also taken by a somewhat higher percentage of subsequently married couples. A road no less travelled by, a road filled with speed bumps and potholes, hair pin turns and flat out straight aways, with all the back seat drivers yelling “are we there yet” even though none of them know where they are going and fewer know where they’ve been. Some might even call it a road to nowhere, or as Yogi said, “When you come to a fork in the road, take it!”

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Conscious Uncoupling

Conscious Uncoupling

It’s Not About Gwyneth Paltrow
(It’s Not Even About Katherine Woodward Thomas)

—- and there is nothing new under the sun
— Kohelet 1:9

‘Conscious Uncoupling’ is not a new concept one. Twenty years ago Constance Ahrons, in her book The Good Divorce: Keeping Your Family Together When Your Marriage Comes Apart told the following anecdote:

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A Time to Die and a Time to Mourn

A Time to Die and a Time to Mourn

Death & The Family Life Cycle

The heart of the wise
is in the house of mourning
— Kohelet 7:4

While taxes may be avoidable, depending on the skill and daring of your accountant and tax attorney, death is not. Yet it remains, ahead of even sex and money, the subject people most avoid talking about. Few of us are prepared for the “emotional shock wave” that reverberates throughout the extended family system when confronted with the inescapability of the loss of our loved one’s physical presence.

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Family Palliative Care

Family Palliative Care

When a family member develops a serious, chronic or potentially life-shortening illness or disability, the entire family system. When death becomes imminent and/or inevitable, additional issues arise around anticipatory grief, mourning and bereavement. The integrity of the family is shattered, roles must be restructured and reassigned and the rules of daily living adapted to ever-changing circumstances.

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Whose Divorce is it Anyway?

Whose Divorce is it Anyway?

If we have her marriage and his marriage, or her marriage and her marriage, or his marriage and his marriage, then surely we must have some combination of his divorce and her divorce. No-fault divorce laws notwithstanding, if the partners were effectively unequal before and during the marriage, it would be folly to expect them to be equal at the time of and subsequent to the end of the marriage. If every marriage is two marriages, then every divorce process has multiple components, ‘hers’, ‘his’, ‘theirs’ and everybody else’s.

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The Dangers of Launching While Intoxicated

The Dangers of Launching While Intoxicated

In response to a previous blog on the difficulties of the Launching Phase, Patricia Rosen wondered how the process might be complicated by the presence of alcoholic drinking and/or chemical dependence.

The struggles of our adolescent and young adult children on their journey to economic and emotional self-sufficiency are greatly compounded by misuse and abuse of both legal and illegal “mind altering substances,” including misappropriation of prescription medications. Alcoholism, substance abuse, and chemical dependence can be devastating to the individual and the family. These all involve systemic processes that require systemic solutions.

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The Relational Trauma of Affairs

The Relational Trauma of Affairs

Every End is a New Beginning Do affairs destroy marriages or do troubled marriages lead to affairs? Does an affair create an insurmountable problem or can a marriage be saved after an affair? When thinking systemically, the answer is almost always yes, not either/or but both/and, which leads to a…

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The Collateral Damage of Bipolar Disorder

The Collateral Damage of Bipolar Disorder

What Do Children Want to Know When a Parent Has Bipolar Disorder, and even more important, How Do We Help Protect Them from Adverse Developmental Trauma? Jennifer Safian posed these questions, minus my paraphrasing, in response to my previous blog on Family-Focused Psychotherapy for Patients with Bipolar Disorder, and subsequently…

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Fathers in Post-Divorce Families

Fathers in Post-Divorce Families

Fathers often have a difficult time figuring out how to have a meaningful relationship with their children. As former spouses, each parent must simultaneously develop new rules and behaviors with each other while they find new ways of relating independently with their children

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The Unbalanced System

The Unbalanced System

Paying Attention to Power Differentials in Systemic Therapy In discussing the process of a smart divorce and post-divorce family reorganization, several people have raised the issue of how to proceed if there are large, seemingly insurmountable imbalances of power, control and hierarchical privilege. In situations of domestic violence, rape &…

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Bowen Family Systems Coaching


Bowen Family Systems Coaching with Ronald B Cohen, MD is the treatment of choice for complicated relationship problems and intergenerational conflicts. Include the whole family in resolving and improving what is going on right NOW! When the entire family works to make the difficult journey together, the results are almost magical.
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Why Ronald B Cohen, MD?


If you are experiencing family relationship problems and distress, don’t treat all therapists alike. Look for a Family Therapist who has had specific training, is comfortable with emotional intensity and will offer clear direction to help resolve identified problems. Ronald B. Cohen, MD works with the whole family in a manner that can save you time and be more cost effective than equal doses of individual therapy.
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For Mental Health Professionals


I offer both individual coaching and a consultation group to help facilitate the acquisition and further development of knowledge and expertise in Bowen Family Systems Theory and Coaching for the enhancement of clinical efficacy, productivity and satisfaction. If this is something you want to do professionally, and especially if you have not had significant training and experience in working with family dynamics and relationships, then experiential learning by doing is the best way to go.
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