This week we were excited to receive our copy of Katherine Woodward Thomas’ book Conscious Uncoupling - How to Break Up in A Whole New Way.
Gwyneth Paltrow’s announcement of her separation from Chris Martin informed the world that they were 'consciously uncoupling’ and that they intended to always be a family. Since the announcement Paltrow has said using the term was a mistake and even Woodward Thomas, the US psychotherapist behind Gwyneth Paltrow's divorce term, admits that "'Conscious uncoupling' does sound a little California-ish" .
Whilst the suggestion of an uncoupling ceremony involving both partners to mark the end of a relationship might not appeal to everyone, couples increasingly want their separation to be ‘characterised by goodwill, generosity and respect’ and to do ‘minimal damage to themselves, to each other, and to their children’. This is, according to Woodward Thomas, what conscious uncoupling is.
But we’re not sure that what Woodward Thomas is suggesting is a new way. No-fault divorce does not yet exist and the Court has traditionally been seen as the first port of call for resolving issues following a separation, it is easy for high conflict and deep animosity to characterise separation with children getting caught in the middle, feeling the impact of the hostility. For a long time, family mediation has provided an alternative, constructive way to deal with separation. Not only is it a process in which sorting practical arrangements can be made, but values and ways of communicating can also be discussed. This is vitally important where there is a commitment to co-parent and decisions about children need to be made.