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“The most important difference you can make in the world is the difference you can make in yourself.”
Susan Allan, the Divorce Forum™

“Peace isn’t going to find us; we have to find peace.”
Susan Allan, the Divorce Forum™

As seen in The Santa Monica Observer Weekly


Did you know that in 2001, 60% of all American marriages ended in divorce? By 2005, 70% of our marriages are expected to end. My research shows that our second marriages are less successful. What can we do? Why do we get divorced? How can we avoid divorce? As The Divorce Coach©, I will answer your questions in this ongoing column.

For some of my clients, their marriage ends before it begins. Love can be the “Evolving Door” and you may discover different feelings and needs as your marriage progresses. Others try to save their relationship, but may lack crucial communication skills. In this column, couples will learn how to reconnect. Coaching may create a door you can walk through together. For parents, this may seem miraculous.

I created The Divorce Forum™ seminars and the website, , to present strategies that I had discovered myself for surviving and healing. Since 1999, 2 million people have visited to “Ask the Divorce Coach©” and other experts how to avoid pitfalls in finance, parenting and emotional issues.

The mission of this column is to provide answers to your most difficult questions during divorce. We will look at divorce being one path to enlightenment and personal growth, and it will offer a paradigm shift in divorce to each of you. Whether your divorce will make you more loving and more peaceful or whether you will become embittered and fearful is up to you and not up to your spouse. Peace isn’t going to find us; we have to find peace and that is the mission of The Divorce Forum™.

Divorce can be the Hero’s Journey; your private odyssey. There is an opportunity inherent for everyone in the process of divorce. This column will demonstrate a route from pain to your very own Declaration of Independence through mourning and final healing. My request is that you email your questions to, and I will respond. In addition to my advice, there will be answers from prominent Santa Monica experts: Mark Patt, Esq., managing partner of Trope and Trope, renowned family law firm; Deanie Kramer, “Divorce Court Television” mediator, Dr. Patricia Fitzgerald, of The Santa Monica Wellness Center and William Stierle of Corporate Culture Development . Additional experts include specialists in parenting, finance, therapy and spirituality.

Who can benefit from coaching? The value of divorce coaching© has been experienced by entire families and since divorce affects almost 100% of the population, your results may be extensive.

Why should you endure a divorce that rivals The California Gold Rush for greed and desperation? Future columns will offer exercises to process your emotions and create a new life, by immersing yourself in THE 7 STAGES of DIVORCE©: Panic, Denial, Agony, Rage, Epiphany, Negotiation & Peace. Each week, articles will include secrets from my upcoming book, Divorce: The Marry-Go-Round© or How to Save your Money, Your Sanity or Your Life. You will be offered training in 100 techniques such as Nonviolent Communication and Herrmann Brain Dominance Typing.

Learn The 4 Steps to divorce: During Step 1. Protection, one client discovered how to create safety for herself and her children by learning new ways to discuss her needs with her husband. In Step 2. Legal measures, another client learned skills to interview different attorneys and received referrals. I had a client who dealt with Step 3. Compromise, through options for negotiation. The most important considerations in Step 4. Healing are the training that clients receive in considering different styles of therapy and healing.

How can you understand the divorce process? Why ask The Divorce Coach©? This is the first holistic healing for divorce. When we begin to heal the different Stages; AGONY, PANIC or RAGE, we begin on the surface, dealing with what is directly in front of us. As we continue with the healing, deeper layers of pain are healed and may disappear. Divorce Coaching© allows you to reach the 7th STAGE, PEACE, and to move from the painful past to a peaceful future. None of us is prepared for a divorce; some marriages end amicably, some end with bitterness and financial ruin. More than half of all divorces render one or both partners homeless. The emotions are not only experienced by our conscious minds, these feelings reach deeply into our souls. Even if you are a determined and rational person, divorce can reach you “where you live”.


By Rev. Bernard Goodman

The purpose of divorce is completion and freedom.

Completion of the lessons learned, and freedom to move on to a better life, a better you, a better everything … with more strength and more knowledge than before.

Divorce is one road to healing. It Is the next step to the rest of your life. as challenging as it may or may not be, your life is heading for a better place, because you have made the statement, the decision, that you have the courage to move on to bigger and better things, without, the need of your partner.

As in any journey, one step at a time is required to direct you to where your "next" will be.

And even if you are still connected to or in contact with your partner, you are still going it alone. Good for you.

The courage it takes to step out on your own, whether with children or without children, still says that you are strong enough, willing enough, powerful enough to do this.

So, please be aware that millions of people, before you and after you, have done and will do the same.

So, you are not alone, you are not the only one going through whatever you may be going through, and I congratulate you for taking this step.

Everybody knows the courage it takes, the wisdom it takes, the strength it takes … and you got it!

So, keep moving forward. Keep applying yourself to the future. Keep seeking the higher ground from which you can see farther than before. And keep being you … no matter what. For God made only one of you. And that's the truth.

So love yourself, give yourself hugs, acknowledge yourself for the courage, and know that you are stronger for it.

With praise and honor to you. God bless.

Bernard Goodman


"Divorce gave me the opportunity to become a whole person . I wish I had known how to do that before I got married the first time. I discovered my own identity after my divorce because trying to define who I was as half of a partnership left me as half of a person. You're a much better parent when you're a whole person. The nuclear family works when both parents are whole people. "

Sally Franz , parenting expert The Divorce Forum


Your first decision must be to heal yourself. You, alone, have the power to define yourself. Your second decision must be to heal the relationship whether or not you want to stay together. These are inevitably linked together.

You may decide to let the relationship go which will involve one type of healing. Or, together with your partner, you may decide to explore the relationship and work together toward mutual healing.

But first, you must make a conscious choice to walk into this Healing Circle. To enter into healing, whether for reconciliation or not, you must look in all directions as healing must come from all directions and encircle you.

The following questionnaire, developed by Frank Zizzo, PhD., offers insight into the issues involved in the process of reconciliation. These questions may be employed to discover our expectations and requirements and to listen to those of our partner. The third step in the process of healing is understanding. Even when you have been in a relationship for a very long time, your idea of your partners' needs may not be accurate. But as you work through these questions and their answers together, or with the help of a therapist, you will develop a clearer view of the areas of agreement and where the problems are most likely to arise.

This questionnaire is best utilized with a 3rd party to whom both sets of answers are given simultaneously. In this way, there is no chance that the more eager partner can change the answers to fit the needs of the other; thereby creating a reconciliation that reconciles nothing.

1. What do you want your ideal relationship to look like?

2. What are you willing to give to have this relationship?

3. What do you expect from the other person?

4. What do you think is the other person's idea of an ideal relationship?

5. What will change about you if you get the relationship you desire?

6. What will you change about you if you don't get the relationship you desire?

After you've shared and discussed this, take a moment and notice how you feel. Remember that feelings are an important way of telling yourself the truth. And the truth is the only place from which to start the healing process.


The Definition of a Healthy Relationship

A relationship is a sacred merging of two souls within or without the legal vows or matrimony. This union encompasses all aspects of physical, emotional and psychological domains.

While there may be differences of opinion and preferences there will be no more struggle than when the left and right leg go for a walk together, each part o f the same body, benefiting from the other for balance.

Susan Allan
The Divorce Forum



By Helen Parsons

Power is inner directed; control is outer directed
Power looks to join with power in others; control wants to separate and establish a hierarchy
Power needs no agreement; control thrives on agreement
Power doesn't judge, compare or attack; control is sustained by these things
Power is rooted in an acceptance of what is; control is the action of illusions trying to make themselves real
Power recognizes that love assures that no one sacrifices; control demands that there be a winner and a loser
Power is universal, it looks the same in everyone; control is personal and particular

The outcome of living from power is peace; the outcome of living from control is fear



By Bernard Goodman

Victimology is the psychological (real or unreal), the emotional, and/or the physical result of a divorcé(e) who believes that he or she is a victim of the relationship.

It includes many factors, real or unreal, as the mind creates its own horror at times.

Traumatic events cause the mind to interpret and deal with them any way it sees fit in order to justify, explain, or attempt to heal or diminish or deny their existence.

Victimology is the category of responding to and then the seeking of healing, dissolving, completing, atoning, identifying, acknowledging, and ultimately recognizing the truth vs the illusion or mis-interpretation.

The desired end result is focusing on what the truth is and then doing whatever process is necessary to heal.

If one considers a courtship and/or a relationship, a marriage, and then a divorce as a journey, the completion of this journey is much more palatable.

As a journey, there is a beginning, a middle, and an end.

Since life is filled with journeys; marriage and divorce is just one of them. It is not the end-all to everything.

Divorce is just another way of having a new beginning. A beginning that can transmit you into a better life and a higher understanding of your life.

A spiritual look at this entire journey is a higher way of looking at all the events that occurred which have brought you to where you are now.

And since now is all you have, now is where you begin the new journey of perhaps healing and moving on to the next journey, whatever that may be.

However, since you are still here, it is suggested that you are a better person, a stronger person, a more enlightened and aware person than you were perhaps before.

So in the greater scheme of things, a divorce may actually be a good thing. It is definitely more freeing than the captivity of the marriage, if this is your case.

So, being true to yourself, being more than you were before, being willing to go beyond before … this all enters your new life as a divorcé(e) and your new journey which can start right now.

And by the way, "divorcé" or "divorcée" is not a dirty word.

The Cause of and Possible Solution to Pressure and Stress

By Rev. Bernard Goodman

In the last twenty-five years, scientists have discovered the root of dis-ease in stress which creates a weakened immune system and many curable and incurable symptoms. As the speed of life accelerates and as our opportunities and goals expand at warp speed, it is natural for us to consider pressure and stress as an automatic component of life. But perhaps, pressure and stress are the largest illusions that we perpetrate upon ourselves.

Pressure and stress come from fear. And fear is an illusion that we create in our own mind and which is translated and transmitted to our body and to our health. So it is our own inner thinking, our own conclusion, our own choice that creates the pressure and the stress. And so it is our own inner thinking that can let go of the pressure and the stress that we have created.

By letting go we have peace. And this is one secret to life.

The truth is that for some reason, whether it is from something we saw, heard, thought, believed, bought, accepted, felt, imagined, misconstrued, or desired ... we accepted that pressure and stress have to be part of life. And this is the illusion. The mind creates pressure and an alteration of the nervous system and this altered state is called stress.

We create pressure when we live from the point of view that we don't have enough … enough of time or money or love or any other commodity. How true this is ... is questionable.

The truth is that we alone are the ones who create our thoughts. And it is what we think at any given moment that determines what we do or don't do. So, if and when any one of us feels pressure or stress, we may want to look at what is going on and then choose whether to continue the pressure and stress or to let go of whatever is causing it. Often these thoughts or decisions may be false, out of date, or inappropriate. Sometimes they may have served us before, and now are no longer necessary, valid, wanted, or needed.

We are the only ones translating our experiences into pressure and stress. And as soon as we realize that there is no one else doing this to us and that it is an illusion, we can let go of the outdated concept. When we do this, the pressure disappears.

When the mind takes over and stress is imminent use the following technique: take a deep breath, hold it, and then let it out slowly. If once is not enough; 2 or 3 times in succession may be sufficient. This will automatically slow down the internal functions such as heart beat, pulse rate, blood flow and a racing mind.
Whether the cause is real, imaginary, or illusionary, by slowing down your internal system, you slow down your action or reaction thereby allowing yourself the time and space to look at what is going on and to choose a different response.

Every time we do this we ease our entire nervous system, thus allowing ourselves the time to consider or reconsider what is going on. When you affect the external, the effect is internal; when you alter the inner you transmute the outer.

When you feel pressure and stress you may want to look at what is going on and then choose the truly appropriate response. To find peace, let go. By letting go of the thought that this is the way it has to be, you can allow yourself to feel better than you may have considered possible. And sometimes the easiest way to do this is to slow down.

Also, please be aware that not all situations afford the instant ability to do the above. You may have to wait until you have the time and place to experience the release; if that is what you choose.


Interview with Dan Couvrette CEO and publisher of Divorce Magazine and Susan Allan, CEO of The Divorce ForumT

This is the first in our series of articles demonstrating the inspiration that divorce can be with the proper "glass half full" attitude. In "You've Got Mail", the Meg Ryan character says, "They say that change is a good thing; but all it means is that something you didn't want to happen at all, happens."

Dan Couvrette, editor and CEO of Divorce, has used his own divorce as a springboard for his successful magazine. While recuperating from his own experiences he has created an invaluable resource for all of us.

Susan: "Dan, how many years ago were you divorced?"
Dan: "In June 1994 my former wife and I separated. My background is in publishing...City Magazine, Business magazine, Visitor Magazine, and a wedding magazine. And so as I was starting the divorce process I thought, well, why isn't there anything out there to help people who are going through a divorce? So I started looking around, researching... "
S: "Now did you have a good divorce? Or did you have a terrible divorce?"
D: (Laughs)
S: "How would someone on the outside describe it and how would you describe it?"
D: "Ours wasn't "The War of the Roses". But it was my wife's choice to end our marriage, and so I wasn't happy about it. But there were no lawyers going at each other."
S: "Do you have children?"
D: "I have two children. They're now ten and fifteen. At the time they were five and ten. I was just trying to figure out how are things going to be? Am I ever going to feel better? Where am I going to live? How's life going to be with my kids?"
S: "Now, we talked about the different emotions, which some people call the same emotions that you go through in confronting death. There's denial, and anger and all that. Would you say that you were stuck in any one emotion longer than the others?"
D: "Hmmm. Probably denial. Probably just that, 'No, it's not possible....' state. They're all kind of intermingled - all of the emotions. They're very much intertwined. I'd say the biggest one and the one I had to work on would be just denying that this was could this possibly happen to me?...Why would this happen?...Can't this be fixed? Even though I remarried three years ago, I was still in denial about the divorce... I still even had hoped as I was getting married that 'Gee, maybe she'll come rushing to the alter and say, 'No, no, I want to be back together with you.' It was like when I quit smoking and every moment of your first day I wanted to have a cigarette; so, every moment we were separated I wanted to be back together. And then over time... and still every so often I really wish I was back together, I really wish I was...the way it was, at least for me. Obviously it wasn't the same way for her, otherwise we wouldn't be divorced."
S: "Were you married a long time?"
D: "Ten years. We were together for twelve years...
S: "Are you on friendly terms?"
D: "Oh yeah. We get along really great. One of the benefits of being the publisher of a magazine I think...I guess there's two things. One is that I have done and continue to do a lot of personal development work-courses, seminars, workshops."
S: "For example?"
D: "The most recent one was called the Grief Recovery workshop in Los Angeles. But they offer them all over ..."
S: "And was it grief recovery for your divorce or was it something else?"
D: "For other people it was a death of a father, and another person was a Mormon and they were breaking away from the Mormon Church. So it was a real grieving process there. Another one was the death of their wife. My former wife was a seminar leader in The Landmark organization. My current wife was also a seminar leader in Landmark. So I like to say that they had slept together before I had slept with my current wife. Because they were seminar leaders, they'd go to New York together they'd share a room there. So that's kind of an inside joke. And I had done the work, too."
(Laughing from Susan)
D: "So having that background helped. It didn't seem like it was helping the first year, but, I mean even still, it was helping. And I was getting coaching."
S: "So you got every possible support, which is fantastic."
D: "A lot of support. I've changed my relationship with men. I didn't disrespect men before but now I have a much higher regard, respect, for men. I'm not quite sure how that transition came about...for what men go through. Men know, up until recently, been trained to -hold it, bottle it up, keep it tight, don't show your emotions, don't express yourself, if it hurts, well, that's just too bad. And so part of what I could see as a possibility for men is that there really is an opportunity to open up, let loose, you know it wouldn't hurt any man to cry for six months. It might be a good opportunity for them."
S: "You know what I've learned? I've learned that a lot of women aren't even able to do that. Because in my divorce and then a succeeding relationship after that which has been excruciatingly painful, I am very much in touch with all of my emotions and I'm not willing to suppress them at all. And it appalls me how many women that I speak to just stuffed it. And there are a lot of men I know who don't and haven't stuffed it and yet the women did. But what you're saying is almost identical to me; that there are some people who are in touch with their emotions who are really alive and then there are a lot of people who just aren't. Irrespective of their sex."

D: "But I do think that there's seems like there's more space in society for women to feel their emotions."
S: "So you didn't start this magazine to get even!"
D: "When I first started doing it, I thought that if I started a magazine about divorce my wife would be so impressed. Because my whole thing was that I wanted to get back together with her. It's like the artist who cut off his ear and sent it off to his girlfriend or wife or...."
S: "Van Gogh."
D: "Van Gogh. So I thought, well, you know, I did that. It's almost the same thing, but to me it was some sort of..."
S: "So it was a love gift."
D: "Yeah."
S: "You were creating a gift of love. Better than when my cat brought me dead mice!"

D: "Right. But she didn't care."
S: "Is she happy now? She's moved on in her life and is she happy? She's having a good life? As far as you can tell?"
D: "She seems to be having a good life. Yeah. She very much wanted to be independent, do her own thing. Not to feel like she was in any way being controlled or directed. I mean she's a very responsible mother, takes complete care of her children. It's not like she's flipped out or anything like that. And I also saw that there was a business opportunity as well since I had a publishing background..."
S: "It was a natural."
D: "Right. It was a natural. And the intention was if I do this maybe she'll come to her senses, and we'll be back together. And then what got clearer after about six or seven months after asking eight million times if we were, you know...what's the possibility?... I remember seeing the movie 'Dumb and Dumber?' And Jim Carey asks this girl he's interested in, 'What are the chances of you and I getting together?' Her answer is one in two hundred fifty million or something like that. So he's says, 'So what you're saying is that there's a chance!' [Laughing from Susan] So that's kind of how I operated. So what you're saying is that if I'm still breathing a thousand million years from now, and if I'm the only other person on this planet that then, we might possibly have dinner? So if it's not going to get us together then I'm going to try to make her as miserable as possible. And so I used the magazine in a way to kind of get back at her. That stage didn't last for very long because I ..."
S: "Cause you decided to do the work on yourself instead."
D: "That and I noticed that for every unit of grief I was causing her, I was causing myself five or ten. So the first six months was trying to get back together. The next six months was trying to make her life miserable. And I just said I've got to give it up because I was getting emotionally bankrupt myself. I was withdrawing too much emotionally for myself and it didn't seem to be having that much of an effect on her. So I just wasn't getting to Jeanette. And from that point on- about one year into the process-I still had some hope, but it was like that cigarette smoker. The hope was every week it would come up, rather than every hour. And then it became every month and then every so often."
S: "I find it fascinating that you are seeing that addictive quality of relationships that we create. And if in a sense we believe that the purpose of relationships is nothing more than to learn from the mirror of the other person and once we learn what was necessary to learn, it is only logical that we should be moving on. However, in our culture, where somebody needs to take care of those children, we would all prefer it if everyone would just stay where they were and we don't have to keep, you know, dance cards and score cards and everyone's right where you left them. But, in fact, if we're speaking about transformational and personal growth, the truth is - you're here, you're a mirror for me, and at some point in time there isn't anything else for me to do but to evolve out of the relationship."
D: "That's where doing transformational work ...spiritual work, whatever it might be; that's where your value comes from. You get it...if you don't get it experientially, then you get it intellectually through these courses and seminars. At least it's a reminder to you that you've got to let go because it's time and that's the way it is and you've got to move on. And you don't always get to pull your heart out as your going..."
S: "Sword out. The heart's still there but the sword is right in the middle of have to get out. Little by little."
D: "Right."
S: "Let me give you like an example. We hear about people who've had cancer. And you get to the point that if you hear one more person says that having cancer was the greatest thing that ever happened in their lives, you're going to scream. And yet for me, my divorce-as excruciating and horrendous and grotesque and terrifying as it was-what turned around in me made it into the best experience I've ever had. Was there something in your life that the pain of the divorce shifted in you?"

D: "There definitely is. A greater appreciation for life itself, I do think I have that. A greater ability to be in the moment, I think that that's true for me as well. And I think just...also certainly-absolutely-a greater compassion for people. A greater understanding of what people might be going through. Without also presupposing that how they feel is anything like the way that I feel. And just knowing that it' know, life is challenging, shit happens, and it just let's me be a little bit easier to be around."
S: "You know what I've noticed? I just watched 'An Unmarried Woman' which I had originally seen twenty years ago. It takes place in the seventies and at the time I was very young and I did not have this experience of pain and loss, except in facing the death of older people, which somehow you put into perspective. And when I saw this movie a couple of days ago, I realized that I had become one of those women, who lives through life experiences, who kind of bends like the bamboo in the wind and doesn't break, and I realized that that is maturity. That only by having these deeply affecting experiences can we even begin to mature. And that it took something like this for me to evolve. That's exactly what you're saying."
D: "Right. Right."
S: "Thank you so much Dan."



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