Mediate BC Blog

Healing Rituals of Divorce: The Need for Closure

Posted by Walter.Brynjolfson

Mediate BC is excited to share and promote the publication of a locally authored book: Moving Forward: An Ancient Divorce Ritual for the Modern World. In it, Dr. Marilyn Beloff, a local psychotherapist and divorce mediator, discusses the topic of finding closure after separation. 

Since the subject matter is highly relevant to BC dispute resolution professionals, we’ve invited Maria Silva, a Mediate BC family roster mediator and friend of the author, to provide some thoughtful reflections. In part 1, Maria presents a scenario and in part 2, Dr. Beloff responds with 5 tips professional mediators can bear in mind to help clients find closure.

For those interested in this topic, the Vancouver Mediators’ Lounge will be hosting two events (Feb 20 and Feb 27) with Dr. Marilyn Beloff as the guest speaker. More info can be found here.  The paperback is also now available for pre-order on Amazon and will be released on Feb. 18.  Copies will be available for purchase at both events.

THE NEED FOR CLOSURE

Written by Maria Silva I met Dr. Marilyn Beloff for the first time in June 2017 as I enjoyed moderating a panel discussion on interfaith mediation. Dr. Beloff was one of the panelists and she was passionate about sharing her doctoral research on the Get (a Jewish divorce ritual) for its wisdom in healing the wounds of divorce. She spoke of her personal divorce journey and how she found closure through this ritual. Her story was fascinating and I was captivated. I had never heard of anything like this before and wanted to know more. That evening, I read her dissertation and realized how important it was for me, a divorce mediator, to recognize and learn more about closure for separating or divorcing couples. I asked myself if I could incorporate some informal processes to accommodate a wide variety of requests or if this would mean finding other professionals to refer my clients to. In mulling over these thoughts, it seemed suitable to address them with Marilyn herself in a blog post. This way we could share some of her valuable research and wisdom with fellow alternative dispute resolution professionals.  To do so, I will outline a common separation scenario where one individual wants to separate and the other hopes to stay together. Dr. Beloff will then analyze it through the lens of her work and research in part 2.

The Scenario

This story begins when Jack called me to explain that he and Jill were looking for a mediator to get everything in writing before going to see a lawyer. In a nutshell, they - had been living together for 8 years - have a son, aged 5 - own a property together, and - attended counselling but it didn’t help

Grieving Process

Although they both agreed to separate, each of them were in different places in the grieving process. Jack was the one that brought up the separation and had been stewing on his decision for close to a year.  Jill was hoping they would sort things out. She was having a hard time letting go emotionally and as a result was feeding the relationship (replaying memories of good and bad times, struggling to understand and figure things out from Jack’s perspective).  Jill was in the middle of the grieving process, experiencing denial along with hints of bargaining. Anger had not yet shown itself. Jack, on the other hand, had already been through the grieving process, while still a couple.  Jack did not want to hurt Jill, so chose to live an inauthentic life, pretending that he was ‘in’ the relationship out of fear of hurting her.  Although he liked and respected Jill, he fell out of love with her after their son was born. I explained the grieving process to each of them and expressed my hesitation to continue with mediation at this point in time. They agreed to postpone mediation. Approximately three months later, I heard back from Jack and Jill at different times. They wondered if I was still available.

 Takeaway

Not once did the word closure come up, I assume because the clients did not know what this term entailed and I was not familiar with formal divorce rituals. The hope is that the message in the book, Moving Forward: An Ancient Divorce Ritual for the Modern World brings “greater depth and meaning to those struggling with or serving families going through a separation and divorce.” I now turn to Dr. Beloff for further comment in Part 2.

For those interested in this topic, the Vancouver Mediators’ Lounge will be hosting two events (Feb 20 and Feb 27) with Dr. Marilyn Beloff as the guest speaker. More info can be found here.  The paperback is also now available for pre-order on Amazon and will be released on Feb. 18.  Copies will be available for purchase at both events.

 About the Blog Post Author

Maria Silva is a Certified Comprehensive Family Mediator with Family Mediation Canada and on both the Family and Civil Rosters at Mediate BC. In addition to mediation Maria provides conflict resolution coaching to her clients experiencing separation or divorce. Maria works in the Greater Vancouver area. For more information, you can visit her website:  http://www.mediationbc.com

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