Whitney M WhitmanWhitney M Whitman LPC LLC

Co-Parenting

Separation and/or divorce are an incredibly difficult emotional experience for both parents and children. Every member of the family is grieving. Parents are often frightened by the idea of losing time with their children, while managing the financial stressors that occur when people look at dividing one household into two. There is usually conflict and resentment amongst the parents. Any differences of opinion that existed throughout the relationship are heightened as tension grows. Parents may have lost faith in each other, and trust may be deeply broken. Yet, it is imperative that each parent manages their emotions and fears so they can provide emotional support for their children as well. This is a daunting prospect, even while you may see the possibility of a positive end result.

My approach to co-parent counseling is one that begins with the premise that the parent’s relationship is changing, not ending. Children become the primary focus, their best interest at the heart of decision-making. Children are given the freedom to maintain an equally loving and emotionally intimate relationship with each of their parents, and this transition is supported by both parents’ behaviors and intentions.

I will provide education that is developmental in nature, meeting your children’s needs in ways that are appropriate for their age. I work with parents on creating consistency in both homes, while allowing for the normal and natural differences that occur. We work on positive communication that is appropriate for the age of your child/ren. Finding ways to discuss the change and transitions the family is going through, helping them redefine their concept of family. I will also provide education that supports parents in finding ways to offer their children the opportunity to experience a range of emotions children while helping them learn to cope and self-soothe.

I am able to assist parents in creating and negotiating individual and child-centric custody schedules. Children suffer the greatest emotional impact from a family’s separation; this can be traumatic and create life-long emotional injuries if not attended to with the child’s best interest in mind. Sharing both parents’ homes is the centerfold of divorce for a child. How often they transition, bringing their belongings back and forth, how parents manage attending social and academic events together, who is throwing a birthday party this year, all of these decisions can be made in such a way that children’s resiliency and ability to manage change with ease are at the forefront of this major life change.

I am able to work closely with each parents attorney, if they are involved in the legal system. I am also a member of the Alaska Association of Collaborative Professionals. I am passionate about the approach of Collaborative Law to helping a family through the transition of divorce and am happy to initiate this process and/or make referrals for people to begin a Collaborative Law divorce.