Managing Emotions During Litigation
As a lawyer experienced in litigation, and with family law in particular, I know that managing the emotions of the matter is probably more important than anything else. A client who is healthy, attentive, confident, and prepared stands a much greater chance of helping their lawyer achieve maximum results. Clients who are emotional, angry and resentful, or overly fearful, can obstruct and interfere with their own case. That is why our firm considers it of utmost importance to work on these things with the client.
In our initial interview, we tell our clients that we want them to approach their crisis from the standpoint of taking care of their minds, their bodies, and their spirit.
We tell them that the best way to take care of their minds is to get educated. Education comes in many forms. Our web site contains information on the divorce laws and process, as well as our “Divorce Client Notebook.” We also provide handouts and books to our clients.
For example, a lady who is complaining of abuse but unable to articulate the abuse, is given a book on abuse such as The Verbally Abusive Relationship. Another example is a woman who said she wanted to try and negotiate her divorce with her husband. She was given Herb Cohen’s book on negotiation, You Can Negotiate Anything. When people educate themselves, they may not learn all they need to know, but several positive things happen. First, they gain confidence from knowing that they are helping themselves. Second, they have less fear. And third, they become better at discussing their case and digesting the meaning of events.
We tell our clients to take great care of their bodies. We suggest that they monitor their diet carefully, eating things which are healthy such as fruits and vegetables. We encourage eating a healthy breakfast. A healthy diet enhances performance and elevates mood both of which are necessary tools for enduring a crisis.
We suggest that our clients exercise regularly. For those that have not exercised before coming to us, we suggest that they develop a morning ritual of getting up at sunrise and walking for a half hour. Exercise produces many positive effects, such as preparing the body for the difficulties of the day, enhancing mood, and reducing the effects of stress.
Finally, spirit. The spirit is the most important element of the human make up. Without a healthy spirit, everything else breaks down. We require all of our clients to receive regular, scheduled therapy with a mental health counselor. I explain that I do not require that because I think they are “crazy,” but because they are going through what many people say is the worst experience of life, and they should have someone who is well trained guide them through it.
I use the example of Mammoth Cave. Mammoth Cave is a huge cave in Kentucky. It is beautiful with unimaginable and wondrous sites, but it is also a dangerous labyrinth which, if entered without a guide, would prove deadly. The guide has been in the cave many, many times and knows which direction to walk to avoid danger in order to see the beauty and return safely. A counselor, then, is nothing more than a guide to help you get through this crisis safely, and maybe even see some beauty along the way. Most people understand this advice.
We encourage our clients to take care of their spirit by any one of the following means: meditation, taking personal time, taking a sabbatical, and going to worship services on a regular and frequent basis.
- READY TO GIVE UP YOUR BAGGAGE?
- DON’T LOOK BACK – Reconciliation and the Past
- REMEMBER LAZARUS – Healing and Reconciliation
- THE NEW YORKERS SUNDAY SCHOOL CLASS VIDEOS
We deal with crises every day and find that one must pay careful attention to not only the mind and the body, but also the spirit, to deal with the crises effectively. And, after all, how can taking good care of your mind, body, and spirit be a bad thing? There is no down side.
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