When Homelife Changes – Finding a New Path After Divorce

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Posted by: Sue Atkins

 

Yasmin Patel’s One Page Profile

 

I’ve used one-page profiles in my work for many years and with my own family and can’t rave enough about their usefulness for improving communication, relationships, a child’s self esteem and self confidence

More recently I have been using one-page profiles to help children and families going through the often challenging and traumatic experience of a divorce as well as working with children whose parents have separated, experiencing  all of the changes that this can bring; from living in two different homes,  splitting their time between mum and dad, moving schools, to experiencing lots of changing routines,

I tell my clients; divorce is a process not an event and over time you begin to see the opportunities that change can open up for you.

My children are grown up now but many of the parents that I work with have younger children and they come to me because they understand that divorce is life changing and that whilst the adults are making the decisions the children can be left feeling like everything that they knew is different, leading to feelings of powerlessness, insecurity and isolation.

By using one-page profiles with families going through divorce we are able to uncover what is working and not working from the child’s perspective, what is important to them and for them and what support they need during this time. It puts the child at the centre of the decision making and brings back the focus to them so that their voices are heard above the noise of a relationship break-up.

This family were struggling under the pressures of a divorce, a pending move, arguments and stressful exams. They needed support to rebuild their confidence, listen and hear each other well. Here’s an example of how one-page profiles can be used to support families experiencing divorce.

Yasmin worked for a University as a PA. She came to me because her home-life was changing dramatically. Her teenage kids were suffering from arguments as they were both studying for important exams. She had a comfortable lifestyle but was going through an acrimonious divorce and was transfixed with fear about losing her home and how she was going to cope with all the changes that lay ahead.

Yasmin wanted support to rebuild her confidence, determine her new path in life and form ideas about how to handle her husband’s furious outbursts in front of the children during the divorcing process.

Yasmin had found out that her husband, a doctor, was having an affair with a younger nurse at the hospital. He suffers from OCD himself and the unhappy atmosphere in the house was unbearable as her husband initially refused to move out despite his affair. This family lived in Birmingham and the daughter was studying for her A Levels whilst the younger brother was studying for his GCSE’s during this traumatic, stressful time. Things were so difficult that Yasmin’s daughter started suffering from alopecia.

min and I had three, one-hour secession over the phone where we created her one-page profile with the aim of giving her clarity, direction and empowerment. Then I coached each child for an hour over the phone to help them in creating theirs. I always start with parents when creating one-page profiles with a family. It is so important that mum gets her confidence back and feels able to express herself, identifying what is important and what support she needs first in order to be able to support her children.

Whilst creating the one-page profiles we had good conversations about what was working and not working. This was the most powerful part of the process for the children who both finally felt heard and could be supported in the way they wanted to be supported.

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