Emotional support during mediation or legal proceedings
Nobody wants to end up in legal proceedings. Even though mediation can seem like a softer option, it can be incredibly stressful as well.
This experience can bring old traumas to the surface and create new ones. It can impact your sleep, your ability to focus on your work and parenting, pretty much every area of your life.
Often, issues discussed in mediation or legal proceedings are very closely linked to your sense of safety. The ongoing uncertainty around those issues can put you into a constant fight-flight-freeze-appease state.
If you are feeling overwhelmed, confused, irritable, unable to make decisions or take action, if you find yourself procrastinating, if you are feeling withdrawn, disengaged - these are all normal, natural and understandable responses to dealing with mediation or legal proceedings.
In the video below, I talk about how it happens and what can be done about it.
Let’s have a look at some examples of how we might respond when we are in a fight-flight-freeze-appease state:
Fight - firing that text message or letter in the heat of the moment. Then looking back and thinking: "Well, that was a bit unnecessary..."
Flight - not answering emails, disengaging, trying to block the whole thing out, pretending that it does not exist.
Freeze - not being able to take in or discuss new information, not being able to express preferences or make decisions. The mediator or solicitor might be sharing crucial information, and it is just not going in. The brain feels, well... frozen.
Appease - agreeing with anything just to get out of that situation, to get it over and done with as soon as possible.
As I mentioned initially, even those responses might not be pretty, but they are perfectly normal, natural and understandable.
That’s where my emotional support during mediation and legal proceedings comes in. I practice Brainspotting therapy, which is a very gentle and effective way to deliver the message to the downstairs brains that the situation is reasonably safe so that it can calm down and the upstairs brain can re-engage.
When your brain is in a connected state, it is much easier to engage with what you need to do, be present in the discussion, and take an active part in shaping its outcome.
It is not about making decisions, but often when the upstairs brain comes back online, you just have that clarity, connect with your wisdom, and know what's the best thing for you and what's the right next step to take.
This work not only helps you with how you manage mediation and legal proceedings but it can also impact the overall quality of your life. It can help you go from feeling that this big heavy thing is always hanging over you to a place where it feels much more contained.
Imagine your life as a pizza. It might be a strange request but bear with me. Imagine that mediation or legal proceedings were just one slice of that pizza, and other slices - other things that are important to you: your children, your work, your hobbies... Emotional support sessions are designed to help you still enjoy those other parts of your life while you are going through mediation or legal proceedings. And then, when it comes to tending to the mediation or legal proceedings slice our sessions can help you deal with it in a more efficient way, to focus on the specific steps you have to take until you get to the end of this process.
How it works
Emotional support sessions are delivered online via Zoom and last one hour.
The number of sessions depends on your timeline and what you would like to achieve. We can discuss that in our initial consultation. It can be anything between a couple of sessions and ongoing support for as long as you need it.
The fee is £75 per session.
If you have a sense that you might benefit from this support, and you would like to find out more, book a free initial consultation. You’ll find the link below to my bookings page. I look forward to hearing from you.
(all names have been changed)
I got in touch with Una two months before my next court hearing.
My 3-year-old daughter Rhian was seeing her dad every Saturday for two hours at the contact centre. By Wednesday, the tension would begin to rise both in Rhian and me, and by Saturday morning, it would take every inch of my being to keep it together and somehow make it to the contact centre.
I would always make sure I got there super early to avoid bumping into Rhian’s dad. My heart would jump into my throat if a car similar to his passed by on the way.
It would take her a couple of days to recover from the visit, and then the new cycle would start again.
Those Saturdays were hanging over me like a dark heavy cloud that was always there, getting in the way of my biggest wish - to enjoy being Rhian’s mum.
To make matters worse, the hearing was about moving the contact out of the contact centre. The thought of meeting my ex face to face stopped me in my tracks. I had no idea how to manage seeing him in the courtroom and the handovers outside the contact centre.
In my sessions with Una, we worked through some abuse that happened in our relationship. It wasn’t long before I could think about my ex without going into a full-blown fight or flight response. As the hearing day came closer, we spoke more about my thoughts and feelings about the hearing itself.
The hearing day came, and I had to face her ex for the first time in months. To my surprise, I could look at him, and nothing moved in me.
After the hearing, we started doing handovers at the local library, and I am managing much better than I thought I would.