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A bit about me! 
Clarissa Rayward 
Director Brisbane Family Law Centre 
Accredited Family Law Specialist 
Mediator & Collaborative Family Lawyer 
Also known as “The Happy Family Lawyer” 
www.thehappyfamilylawyer.com
Today we 
are joined by- 
Sophie Jordan 
Intern Psychologist 
Brisbane Family Law Centre
How will this work? 
• Please ask questions 
• This is general information 
and remember you should 
obtain advice specific to 
your family
What are we going to cover? 
Self care after separation 
Grief and Loss 
What can you do while grieving? 
What helps immediately following 
separation? 
Life After Grief 
Re-examine and re-structure 
Supporting Children Through Grief 
Warning Signs of Depression
Grief and Loss 
Likely to feel loss of 
• The relationship & companionship 
• Finances and sense of financial 
security 
• Time with children 
• A component of your identity 
• Your anticipated future
Stages of Grief 
1. Disbelief (or shock) – feeling confused, numb, 
overwhelmed 
2. Anger – towards self, ex-partner, others, God/the 
universe 
3. Sadness – sense of loss. 
4. Bargaining (self-blame) – I would’ve, should’ve, 
could’ve 
5. Re-integration – feeling healed, less emotional 
pain 
Think of grief as not just a process within itself, but 
also a means to an end, which is re-integration
What can you do while grieving 
• Your feelings are normal and valid 
• Allow yourself to feel emotions and don’t 
try to bypass grief 
• Wanting to bypass grief is normal 
• Tips for accessing grief and feeling 
emotions 
-Being brave in baby-steps 
-Being kind and self-compassionate 
• Respite from grief
Being brave in baby steps 
• Allocate a time of day (of any length) 
• Have a space that’s quiet, away from children, 
with no distractions, where you feel safe 
• In this time period & this space give yourself 
permission to feel emotions without 
boundaries or judgment 
- journaling, controlled breathing 
• When time is up, move back to your activities 
• Each time, increase the time length. 
• Recognise that it’s brave to let yourself feel 
grief
Kindness & Self Compassion 
• Being hard on yourself doesn’t work 
• Trying to push against grief or push 
through grief doesn’t work 
• Being kind to yourself does work 
• Practice self-compassion – speaking to 
yourself the way you would speak to 
your best friend 
• Allocate self-time to relax once a day
Respite from Grief 
• Grief isn’t a structured process 
• You’ll have mini periods of “grief 
amnesia” – being happy and grief isn’t 
apparent 
• Respite is normal, healthy and important 
• You will snap back into grief – re-shock 
• Respite is the mechanism that lessens 
grief and moves you into re-integration
How to use Respite 
Ask yourself - 
• What are you doing? 
• Why do you enjoy what you’re doing? 
• Who are you with? 
• How strong was your grief (or negative 
emotions) when you snapped back into grief? 
– scale of 1 to 10 
• How can you increase opportunities for 
respite? 
If you never experience respite consider talking 
to a counsellor, psychologist or GP
What Helps Immediately After Separation 
• Seek support 
• Minimise Stress and 
unhelpful behaviour 
• Cope with anxiety
Social Support 
• Online support groups 
• Enlist a confidant 
• Concrete and emotional support 
• Build your friendship network 
• Parenting support – Triple P, 123 
Magic, child psychologist
Minimising Stress, Unhelpful 
Behaviours & Helpful Behaviours 
Stress - 
• Change as little as possible 
• Work out short term living and child contact 
arrangements 
• Get into a routine 
Unhelpful Behaviours - 
• Avoid alcohol and drugs 
• Avoid Facebook and social networking 
Helpful Behaviours - 
• Sleep, eating and exercise
Cope with Anxiety 
about the Future 
• The unknown is frightening and creates 
anxiety 
• People generally try to escape anxiety 
• Trying to escape leads to avoidance or 
increased anxiety 
• Learn to “sit with anxiety” – build a 
tolerance 
- Make up a catch phrase 
• Brainstorm all possible futures
Life after Grief 
• Be completely honest with yourself 
• Re-examine your relationships 
• Re-examine your values and goals 
- Goals, things you want to achieve 
- Values, underlying principles or traits 
that you consider important in life 
- Your values will lead you to your goals 
• Start re-structuring
Supporting children through grief 
• Protect your children from your own 
grief and conflict 
• Give them time and space to grieve 
• Be cautious and wise about 
introducing a new partner 
• Seek support for your children – make 
sure they have someone to talk to
Warning signs of 
depression 
• Feeling helpless or hopeless 
• Loss of interest in daily activities, previously 
enjoyed activities or your ability to feel pleasure 
• Appetite or weight changes 
• Sleep changes 
• Anger or irritability 
• Concentration problems 
• Loss of energy 
• Self-loathing 
• Reckless behaviour 
http://www.helpguide.org
Sophie’s Top 5 Tips for Surviving Separation 
1. Allow yourself to experience the grief 
process and utilise respite 
2. Avoid contact and conflict with your ex-partner 
3. Give yourself time to re-examine and 
re-structure before beginning a new 
relationship 
4. Protect your children from conflict and 
understand their grief 
5. Access social support and professional 
support
Any Questions?
Wednesday 10 September 
12.30pm
THANK YOU!
When life gives you lemons make margaritas-Looking after yourself after separation or divorce

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When life gives you lemons make margaritas-Looking after yourself after separation or divorce

  • 1.
  • 2. A bit about me! Clarissa Rayward Director Brisbane Family Law Centre Accredited Family Law Specialist Mediator & Collaborative Family Lawyer Also known as “The Happy Family Lawyer” www.thehappyfamilylawyer.com
  • 3. Today we are joined by- Sophie Jordan Intern Psychologist Brisbane Family Law Centre
  • 4. How will this work? • Please ask questions • This is general information and remember you should obtain advice specific to your family
  • 5. What are we going to cover? Self care after separation Grief and Loss What can you do while grieving? What helps immediately following separation? Life After Grief Re-examine and re-structure Supporting Children Through Grief Warning Signs of Depression
  • 6. Grief and Loss Likely to feel loss of • The relationship & companionship • Finances and sense of financial security • Time with children • A component of your identity • Your anticipated future
  • 7. Stages of Grief 1. Disbelief (or shock) – feeling confused, numb, overwhelmed 2. Anger – towards self, ex-partner, others, God/the universe 3. Sadness – sense of loss. 4. Bargaining (self-blame) – I would’ve, should’ve, could’ve 5. Re-integration – feeling healed, less emotional pain Think of grief as not just a process within itself, but also a means to an end, which is re-integration
  • 8. What can you do while grieving • Your feelings are normal and valid • Allow yourself to feel emotions and don’t try to bypass grief • Wanting to bypass grief is normal • Tips for accessing grief and feeling emotions -Being brave in baby-steps -Being kind and self-compassionate • Respite from grief
  • 9. Being brave in baby steps • Allocate a time of day (of any length) • Have a space that’s quiet, away from children, with no distractions, where you feel safe • In this time period & this space give yourself permission to feel emotions without boundaries or judgment - journaling, controlled breathing • When time is up, move back to your activities • Each time, increase the time length. • Recognise that it’s brave to let yourself feel grief
  • 10. Kindness & Self Compassion • Being hard on yourself doesn’t work • Trying to push against grief or push through grief doesn’t work • Being kind to yourself does work • Practice self-compassion – speaking to yourself the way you would speak to your best friend • Allocate self-time to relax once a day
  • 11. Respite from Grief • Grief isn’t a structured process • You’ll have mini periods of “grief amnesia” – being happy and grief isn’t apparent • Respite is normal, healthy and important • You will snap back into grief – re-shock • Respite is the mechanism that lessens grief and moves you into re-integration
  • 12. How to use Respite Ask yourself - • What are you doing? • Why do you enjoy what you’re doing? • Who are you with? • How strong was your grief (or negative emotions) when you snapped back into grief? – scale of 1 to 10 • How can you increase opportunities for respite? If you never experience respite consider talking to a counsellor, psychologist or GP
  • 13. What Helps Immediately After Separation • Seek support • Minimise Stress and unhelpful behaviour • Cope with anxiety
  • 14. Social Support • Online support groups • Enlist a confidant • Concrete and emotional support • Build your friendship network • Parenting support – Triple P, 123 Magic, child psychologist
  • 15. Minimising Stress, Unhelpful Behaviours & Helpful Behaviours Stress - • Change as little as possible • Work out short term living and child contact arrangements • Get into a routine Unhelpful Behaviours - • Avoid alcohol and drugs • Avoid Facebook and social networking Helpful Behaviours - • Sleep, eating and exercise
  • 16. Cope with Anxiety about the Future • The unknown is frightening and creates anxiety • People generally try to escape anxiety • Trying to escape leads to avoidance or increased anxiety • Learn to “sit with anxiety” – build a tolerance - Make up a catch phrase • Brainstorm all possible futures
  • 17. Life after Grief • Be completely honest with yourself • Re-examine your relationships • Re-examine your values and goals - Goals, things you want to achieve - Values, underlying principles or traits that you consider important in life - Your values will lead you to your goals • Start re-structuring
  • 18. Supporting children through grief • Protect your children from your own grief and conflict • Give them time and space to grieve • Be cautious and wise about introducing a new partner • Seek support for your children – make sure they have someone to talk to
  • 19. Warning signs of depression • Feeling helpless or hopeless • Loss of interest in daily activities, previously enjoyed activities or your ability to feel pleasure • Appetite or weight changes • Sleep changes • Anger or irritability • Concentration problems • Loss of energy • Self-loathing • Reckless behaviour http://www.helpguide.org
  • 20. Sophie’s Top 5 Tips for Surviving Separation 1. Allow yourself to experience the grief process and utilise respite 2. Avoid contact and conflict with your ex-partner 3. Give yourself time to re-examine and re-structure before beginning a new relationship 4. Protect your children from conflict and understand their grief 5. Access social support and professional support