Welcome to our series of guest Q&As with divorce experts. As mediators, we often have the opportunity to collaborate with and refer our clients to other talented professionals from various disciplines. We all have a stake in our clients’ well-being, both during and after the divorce proceedings.
Meet Darcie Brown, LMFT, an inspiring attorney-turned-full time marriage & family therapist. Darcie offers individual and couples therapy to support the treatment of anxiety, depression, life transitions, grief and loss, trauma, and relationship issues.
Darcie sees clients virtually throughout the states of California, South Carolina, and Idaho, offering flexible afternoon and evening hours to support convenience for all, on a HIPAA-compliant video platform accessible via laptop or cell phone via an easy-to-use app.
Can you provide tips for families going through the divorce process to help them to establish new traditions within their new family dynamics?
D.B.: First, divorce is so tough, especially around the holidays or other times of year when we may have family traditions. I highly recommend acknowledging that these times of year might be hard for quite some time. That’s okay and normal.
Second, establishing new traditions can be helpful for the brain to process the change and accept the new reality. Routines often make us feel safe, so having new traditions can bring comfort to difficult seasons.
Third, plan ahead. Discuss together how you might make changes to old traditions or come up with entirely new ones. Listen to what feels right for each family member and aim to honor each person’s individual needs. For some families, it might be helpful to create very different traditions to clearly mark this new, next chapter.
Fourth, remember that it’s okay to grieve the loss of old traditions you once loved. Many of us fall in love with our traditions and it can be hard to let them go. There may be some sadness, anger, or disappointment around the loss of these beloved moments. This is completely normal.
Finally, adjust as you go. It’s okay to play around with various traditions before settling on ones that you may end up keeping long-term. It can ease some of the pressure or stress of creating new traditions if there’s permission to be flexible as you grow and change post-divorce.
Through it all, be kind to yourself and remember that this adjustment takes time.
What type of client do you see? Or, who is your ideal client?
D.B.: I see individuals and couples in my practice. For individuals, one of my specialities is life transitions, as well as anxiety and depression which often show up during life transitions. For couples, I see couples who want to improve their relational dynamics as well as couples who want to prepare their families for separation or divorce (or are already going through it).
In all of these cases, I work with clients to develop healthy coping strategies to help them to better navigate life’s challenges.
What piece of advice would you offer to a couple going through a divorce?
D.B.: This is the one of the hardest (if not the hardest) things you will ever go through. Be gentle and compassionate with yourself as much as possible. Remind yourself often to feeling your feelings, whatever they may be. This is not only okay but also needed in order to process this huge life change. And get support – whatever that looks like for you.
Can you tell us an interesting fact about you or your business?
D.B.: Becoming a therapist was a huge career change for me, as I used to be an attorney. While there’s definitely some skill overlap, it required a big leap of faith to end one career and start another. I’m so proud of making this change years ago. I still hold it close to me as a reminder that we can all do hard things in life, and how getting through hard things feels extra meaningful when our decisions align with our values and/or the person we want to be.
You can learn more about Darcie and her individual + couples’ therapy services by visiting darciemft.com.
Looking for support regarding your family law issues or divorce? West Coast Family Mediation Center facilitates divorce outside of the courtroom environment, helping both parties resolve conflict and move forward. We can also refer you to other trusted practitioners who specialize in divorce. Contact West Coast Family Mediation Center for a free and confidential consultation.