Ask The Experts
Counseling & Therapy
Ric Taylor, MA
9362 Teddy Lane, Suite 206, Lone Tree, CO 80124
Ric is the owner of Touchbase Counseling where he works with men and couples. Since 1999, his passion has been helping masculine-oriented people overcome debilitating coping behaviors and find meaning in their relationships and career. When he’s not in the trenches with his psychotherapy clients he frequently presents to corporate audiences on topics like communication, leadership and technology. Ric has been married 15 years with two kids and lives in the Denver area where he’s an avid trail runner.
Tell us a little bit about what you do and who you work with.
As a psychotherapist, I work mainly with men and couples around the life-cycle of personal and professional relationships. Clients see me when they’re struggling to find a healthy relationship, keep a relationship healthy, or end a relationship in the healthiest way possible.
How would you say what you do relates back to divorce and family law?
Marriages are an emotional and legal agreement between two people. Ending the relationship means there will be emotional impacts that are much deeper than most of us anticipate. This begins happening just when we need to be making clear-headed decisions. Your attorney is there to help you navigate what can seem like a legal labyrinth. I offer a non-judgmental and confidential way to help you navigate the tough moments ahead.
What kinds of issues do you see come up most frequently for your clients?
Some people are certain that they want to end their marriage. Others go back and forth wondering if they’ve done everything they can before they end it. Still others are in the midst of transitioning to a new life as a single person. These stages of transition all have their moments of pain and confusion leading my clients to see me for issues like:
- Relationship development (better communication and connection)
- Clarity about the marriage (too good to leave but too bad to stay)
- Career transition (restart or revamp your career)
- Divorce support (Many men are surprised by the intensity of the divorce process)
- Divorce Recovery (Starting over and designing the next phase of your life)
If you could, what is the one piece of advice you would want to give to a person who is about to go through divorce?
Set up meetings with friends at least once a week for lunch, coffee, whatever. You’re a human not a machine; having others around you on a regular basis is really important.
What is the number one thing parents can do to prepare their kids for divorce and to help them process the divorce?
It’s best when parents have a united message and reassurance for kids in three areas:
- You’re still a family. You’ll always be their mom and dad.
- They’ve done nothing wrong to cause this, which means there’s nothing they need to change so you’ll stay married. (sometimes kids believe that if they do well in school or behave like an angel you won’t get divorced)
- Explain how the divorce will impact their functional life. Where will they sleep, eat, and go to school. Who will be around them and take them places? Usually, their need for detail is much less than adults need; just enough to satisfy their curiosity.
What are some unconventional topics/issues people might not think about, but you find are highly relevant and come up often?
I occasionally come across couples who want to try co-habitation in the same house while separated or divorced. “Nesting,” as it’s called is an option some are considering because they get along just well enough and want to save money.
What do you wish more people knew about how divorce affects children?
Kids will sometimes have uncharacteristic outbursts of anger or deep sadness. They are experiencing complex emotions that they have not yet encountered. Be a patient listener as they work their way through the own intense feelings and how to deal with them.
What do you wish more people knew about how divorce affects men?
Divorce is a tough process that involves change, loss, and risk that pile-on stress and worry. Men are socialized to be problems solvers and are used to “figuring it out alone”. But divorce can be a surprisingly difficult transition phase for men even in the best circumstances. If a guy feels overwhelmed by his divorce, seeing a therapist is the sane thing to do.
What are some common issues you see men coming to you with that often lead to divorce?
In simplest terms, marriages end because spouses have not had their needs met in the relationship as they had hoped. This causes resentments to grow, further contributing to a cycle of dis-engagement. Men see me because the disengagement has become unbearable. They are angry, depressed, anxious, and numb. They often resort to uncharacteristic behaviors such as using substances or sex to help soothe bad feelings. Then, there’s an event that happens that causes them to call me and make an appointment. Maybe their secret coping behaviors have been discovered, an ultimatum has been made by their wife, or they’ve simply “had enough”.
What are some of the more common obstacles to therapy that you see with men?
A lack of imagining that life can get better. When therapy first starts, most of my clients have been stuck in a whirlpool of conflict, silent treatment, and tension for a long time. Life can change significantly in just 12 months when the three aspects of divorce (legal, emotional, and financial) are handled well.
Please feel free to expand upon anything here that I didn’t ask but you feel would be informative and helpful.
There’s a saying, the grass is greener where it’s watered. Many of my clients are simply seeking clarity about their relationship and how to proceed. Many of the features of their marriage including kids, sex, money, in-laws, neighbors, friends, career, income, health, and general well-being may be fulfilling, while one or two aspects are dismally unsatisfying. Unraveling the confusion may lead to developing a plan to rekindle the marriage or may lead to divorce. Either way, clarity gives us confidence to move forward and make change for the better.