Dr Andre, What is Collaborative Divorce?

Collaborative Divorce is a team-based process with the purpose of providing a non-litigious and efficient process for couples who are divorcing.  It is structured very differently than what most people think of in a traditional divorce process.  There are 6 team members trained in the process: two attorneys, two therapists who serve as coaches, a therapist who serves as a child specialist, and a financial planner.  These professionals are trained to guide each person in the couple through to a “win-win” resolution of all matters related to the divorce while avoiding any court involvement.

..a non-litigious and efficient process for couples who are divorcing

The couple is assisted in working out their own custody arrangements and financial outcomes within the legal constraints in Louisiana.  This allows them to keep control over their outcomes, as opposed to a judge making such decisions.  Additionally, the process allows the matter to remain private, which is often important to business people who don’t want their financials to become part of public record and available to others such a business competition.  Another benefit is that, because each person has a supported voice in the process, the agreements reached are ones that both people can live with for the long-term, which greatly decreases the likelihood of revisiting custody or other matters well after the divorce is final.

…a “win-win” resolution of all matters related to the divorce while avoiding any court involvement.  

Some people have questions about the cost of this process as compared to traditional divorces.  While there are more professionals involved in a Collaborative Divorce, this does not mean the cost is higher.  Less time is required of the attorneys, who typically have the highest fees.  Attorneys also are not spending time sitting in courts waiting for your case to be heard, which can be a large expense.  The coaches and financial professional spend the majority of the time with the couple in order to work prepare them for productively moving through the important decisions and minimizing attorney time.  Therefore, time is not lost in conflict, disagreements, or court time.  The team can flex the use of the professionals to the specific needs of the couple, thereby streamlining costs.

Clients of the Collaborative Divorce process experience an effective and productive working environment in which all parties are assisted to remain neutral and both people’s concerns are addressed.  This process helps take the “drama” out of divorce.

Want to know more about what is collaborative divorce? Call our office for an appointment. We’re located in Metairie (504) 717-4043 or Mandeville (985) 624-2942


-Andre Sagrera Judice, Ph.D., LPC, LMFT, DCEP

Dr Andre: Do I have Obsessive Compulsive Disorder?

Doctor, Do I suffer from OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder)? 

Often we throw around the term “OCD” as a way to describe someone who tends to be meticulous, controlling, or otherwise particular about wanting things a certain way. While most of us can recognize that we likely do not really suffer from Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, how do we know if there is a chance that we actually do?

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder is diagnosed based on two major benchmarks.

The first is the presence of an obsessive thought. This is not a passing worry, but a thought that does not go away after some period of time or once a problem is solved. An obsessive thought that occurs with this disorder is often irrational (for example, that a catastrophe is going to happen), and does not go away until the second benchmark of this disorder is performed, the compulsive act. A compulsion is the urge to complete an act in order to get rid of the obsessive thought. For example, often people who are diagnosed with this disorder may believe that unless they wash their hands repeatedly throughout the day, they will contract a deadly disease. Some people must check things, like doors or light-switches in order to alleviate thoughts that someone will get into their unlocked house or their house will burn down from a light being left on.

The second major component to this disorder is that those thoughts or acts are intrusive in the sufferer’s life. That is, the person cannot skip the compulsive act to alleviate the thought, or else that thought or fear intrudes on the person’s ability to proceed with daily functioning.

Is there a possibility you are suffering from this disorder? The good news is that there is help that really works. On the Northshore (Mandeville) and Southshore (Metairie) Counseling and Wellness, we offer a comprehensive approach to working with people who may be trying to deal with these symptoms. There are two components to the treatment of this disorder: counseling and medication therapy. Our trained therapists utilize cognitive-behavioral techniques, focusing on helping the client gain control over the thoughts that become so intrusive. Looking at all the various stressors and components of that client’s life is often part of this approach too. Processing ways to cope with stress, ways to gain and utilize support systems, and helping the client feel more empowered over this disorder are just a few additional ways that therapy can be beneficial. We can also offer assistance in helping the client determine the best course to take when making decisions about medication as well.

Call our office for an appointment to help you manage living with OCD. We’re located in Metairie (504) 717-4043 or Mandeville (985) 624-2942 For more information about OCD, visit the National Institute of Mental Health’s OCD information.

Submitted by: Micah P. Hatchett, Ph.D., LPC-S, NCC