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 Counseling for Lawyers  

 

While accompanied by many rewards, the practice of law also brings with it an array of personal challenges. These may include:

  • An uncongenial work environment which stresses output and productivity (read “billable hours”) over personal and professional satisfaction.
  • A paucity of mentoring opportunities.
  • An “eat what you kill” environment that stifles collegiality.
  • A litigation environment that is increasingly combative.
  • A student debt load that leaves many feeling trapped in unsatisfying practices.

These, and other stressors, exact a growing toll on attorneys in our community. According to many observers, including Dr. Andrew Benjamin and Dr. Martin Seligman, lawyers can be at heightened risk for depression, substance abuse, strained relationships and a loss of direction and satisfaction from their work.

Using a short-term solution focused approach, combined with techniques to enhance relaxation and mindfulness, we can work together to regain your sense of “centeredness” and control of your life and career.

I also work with lawyers and their intimate partners to find re-connection by:

  1. Learning conflict resolution skills that work at home.
  2. Discovering (or rediscovering) avenues of shared meaning.
  3. Finding ways to support one another while retaining your own autonomy.
  4. Developing a real empathy for each other - so that each person feels heard and truly seen (and accepted) by the other.
  5. Identifying destructive forces in your relationship (such as criticism, contempt, defensiveness and stonewalling) and seeking to mitigate their presence and force.
  6. Understanding your common patterns of disconnection, misunderstanding and conflict and working to change these patterns.

I have written extensively about lawyers and well-being and have been published in numerous publications, including the King County Bar Journal (where I was a featured columnist for a number of years) and the Washington State Bar News. These articles include:

The Lawyer’s Personality
Forgiveness and the Practice of Law
Lawyers and Divorce
Finding Meaning in Our Work
Our Clients and Us
Protecting Our Marriages
Protecting Our Marriages - II
Protecting Our Marriages - III
Being With People Who’ll Love Us
Depression
Lawyers and Psychological Type
The Study Group - Further Discussions on Lawyers and Psychological Type
Finding and Maintaining Balance
Gratitude and Thanksgiving
Resolutions and Transitions
Optimistic Lawyers

 

 

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