A therapist’s perspective on divorce – Courier-Post – Cherry Hill Courier Post

Dr. Michael Plumeri, himself a child of divorce, helped Lisa Bien get through her own divorce experiences.

The Mount Laurel psychologist who wrote a foreword in Bien’s “Life Happens: Bounce Back,” at her request, recalls the Lisa he first met.

“When I first encountered Lisa,” Plumeri writes, “I found myself in the presence of a tremulously gifted woman who was encased in some profoundly destructive coping mechanisms. But she systematically and courageously took one step at time to bounce back from earlier pains in her life ...”

Plumeri, who devotes a large percentage of his practice to issues of marriage and divorce, likened his work with Bien, and many others struggling with marriage’s end, to peeling away the layers of denial, despair and self-blame. “There is deep, deep pain involved.”

Men and women, he reports, often, but not always, present differently.

Men who are leaving a marriage for another woman “vilify to justify,” finding reasons to expiate their guilt. “What’s her name?” Plumeri often asks at a very first meeting with a man who clearly has cheated on his current wife, but will not accept responsibility.

Plumeri’s goal is to help wounded women and men who also find themselves blindsided by the end of a marriage, to gain insight. “A divorce can magnify insecurities, but can also end up as an opportunity to rebuild self-esteem, as strange as that sounds.”

The psychologist advises his patients to postpone dating for at least three to six months because too often, the walking wounded settle for very wrong relationships that seldom work out in the long run. A period of healing and reflection is needed, he believes, before important decisions can be made.

“I urge people to absolutely stay away from drugs and other anesthetics like overeating, but I do suggest simple tools like regular exercise to help people through the emotional turmoil.”

The good news from Plumeri:

Divorce is not the end of the road for former spouses or children. He is not in favor of “stay together no matter what for the sake of the kids.”

He is, however, a devout believer in making absolutely sure that kids whose parents are going through a divorce are never pawns, and are always reminded they are not to blame.

“I know this may sound a little glib, but like Lisa Bien, I do believe that there can be a brighter future after divorce. And like her, I do believe that you can — and will — bounce back.”

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Source: Divorce - Google News

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