I appreciate your story on conscious uncoupling (“Is ‘Conscious Uncoupling’ a Better Way to Divorce?” March 30), a concept I first saw when the Gwyneth Paltrow story broke on national news. What I like about the concept is that for married people and partners who might have thought it wasn’t possible to reasonably resolve a relationship ending without massive litigation, the concept and story offer hope. However, what confuses me is why Ms. Paltrow’s mentors think they’ve invented something new.
Many of us have been working as divorce mediators for about 20 years. We help people end their relationships in restorative ways. People come to work with mediators to work out all the financial entanglements of their relationships and to work out parenting plans that benefit their children and each of them.
Many people who work out their differences in mediation find newly defined ways to interact, and many engage in shared activities with their children. Many family mediators have a wide understanding of the emotional issues that arise during divorce and breakups and, while not at all serving as therapists, do a great job in supporting people to move through emotional stages and guide people in shifting from the past, to the present and into the future. This process of mediation ends in an articulation of all agreements — financial and parenting — and often provides a structure to resolve conflicts if they arise.
So, I applaud the notion, the effort and the notoriety that someone like Ms. Paltrow brings to, perhaps, a wider audience. People need to know more about what’s available for them. Conscious uncoupling is an art of words, however; it’s not an art of process. Divorce and relationship mediation has a long history and outstanding results.
ANN L. BEGLER