Craine Counseling and Consulting Group provides counseling services, social work ethics consultations and social work ethics workshops in a variety of settings.

Archive for May, 2014

What is anger?

Anger is a secondary emotion to underlying hurt, frustration, resentment, and/or disappointment. The next time you feel angry, stop and take a deep breath before acting, speaking or reacting. Evaluate the underlying emotion and speak, act or react from that truth. Don’t forget to use I messages. Remember you have a right to all of your emotions; how you communicate those emotions may be the issue .

Using “I” messages to improve communication

It is very easy to blame another person by saying things like “you did this or that”. Much harder but also much healthier is to take responsibility for our own feelings and behavior by using “I” messages. For example, “I know I did “X” . I felt frustrated when you did “y”. I know that does not excuse my behavior. It would have been more helpful if you could have “Z”

I know this sounds simplistic. It is, and it isn’t. If we could all work hard at taking responsibility for our own emotions and behavior we could actually facilitate a shift in our relations with others and maybe have less conflict and more effective relationships and co-parenting. Through modeling and others having us relate to them in a calmer way, they in turn can’t help but relate to us differently as well. Remember that practice makes improvements; so keep practicing even if at first you don’t get the results you want from the other person. Always strive to feel better about your role in the communication process with the other person regardless of how they do or do not communicate with you.

Happy Memorial Day!

Not only is today a day to honor our veterans and all those who have served our country; lets also use today as a day to honor what is positive and good in our lives and relationships even the ones we struggle with!

Have a blessed day!

Co-parenting when your child gets diagnosed with cancer

This blog is suppose to be about co-parenting in general through separation or divorce. My own recent experience of having our 11 year old diagnosed with lymphoma has reminded me of the need to add in the stress of having illness with a child and how that can impact co-parenting regardless of the parental relationship status.

DON’T ASSUME . . . How to communicate even if the other person doesn’t.

You know the old saying that when you assume something you make an ass out of u and me? What does this really mean?

Well, it means that we should strive to never take another person for granted.  Every person we encounter has some value in our life even if they are not communicating with us in a manner we wish to be communicated with.

It means that we should not think we know what the other person is thinking or really means when they say something and that the other person automatically understands or knows what we are thinking or what we really mean when we speak. 

It means that we must strive to always speak with clarity and intention. 

It means that we must always ask the other person if we are understanding what they are saying before we respond.

It means that we are listening to the other person more than we are speaking really trying to understand what they are trying to share with us in an effort to connect to another human being. 

Only then, can we truly come to hear another person and understand what they are trying to tell us and help us to understand them.  Only then, can we hope to have true communication with another even if they are struggling in their ability to hear and understand us.

All human beings struggle to communicate effectively. Some people are better at not assuming than others. With practice, we can all rise to the challenge and help improve the quality of our connections for ourselves and our children!

What kind of energy do you invest in your relationships?

All relationships require us to use energy, either positive or negative.  The kind of energy we invest is likely the energy we will get back.  Talk a look at the energy you put into your relationships and see what comes back.  On the other hand, what happens if you receive negative energy from someone? Do you respond with negative energy through negative words or do you walk away?  or better, yet do you strive to respond with positive energy regardless of the negative that comes your way?  Nobody is perfect! We all are capable of responding with negative energy.  The question is where does it get us and what do we gain or lose in that scenario.  Only you can decide what kind of energy you should invest in your relationships, especially if you are co-parenting with someone.  Nonetheless, it is important to think about the kind of energy we want to attract from others. Keep in mind that you are only responsible for your own energy!


What does loss and grief have to do with effective co-parenting?

Loss is part of divorce or separation. There are many losses related to this. Grief is the set of emotions and stages that everyone goes through in a divorce or separation. These stages include denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and at some point acceptance. We each go through these stages in a way, and in a time frame, that is logical for who we are and what our life experiences have been around loss and grief. However, if we do not work through these emotions in a way that is “healthy” it can negatively impact how we related to our ex-spouse or partner thereby having a detrimental effect on how we co-parent which can be harmful to the children involved. Please share your thoughts and experiences on this issue.

Think win-win!

One step in getting a win-win is learning to understand the other person. If not, it is always about you versus them and nobody wins!! Understanding leaves room for disagreement and agreeing to disagree!

What is co-parenting and what makes it effective?

Co-parenting means two parents working together to raise a child.  Hopefully, it means that parents are able to put their adult issues aside with one another and put their child(ren) first.  What does this mean to you?  What are you and your co-parent doing effectively in raising your child(ren)? What could you use help with?




Ellen Craine  is divorce and family mediator in Oakland County, Michigan. She mediate at all stages of a divorce process and all kinds of family matters including Cohabitation and Separation Agreements for same-sex couples.  Ellen has a law degree and a Master’s Degree in Social Work. She has been a Social Worker since 1991, a mediator since 1996, and a parenting coordinator since 2007.  Currently, she is writing a book on co-parenting effectiveness for divorcing, divorced, and never-married co-parents including same-sex couples.