Melanie Belmont, Mental Health
We begin marriages and domestic partnerships with the hopes and intentions of having a relationship that will bring friendship, love and satisfaction to our lives and the lives of the children we have or may have together. When we discover that the bonds we’ve formed have, for whatever reason, come apart, we are confronted with emotions ranging from shock, denial and anger to relief, guilt and resolve. Dissolving our union requires we act on many levels including grieving the loss of what we had hoped for and of what we had as a family and, at the same time, putting on our business hats and thinking about our and our family’s financial and emotional well-being in the future. We can feel angry that someone whom we trusted has made a decision that may mean a loss in the time we spend with our kids and a loss in our standard of living. We may be surprised by or feel ashamed of our own feelings and the behaviors that accompany them. There is nothing easy about the process of dissolving a marriage or domestic partnership. Melanie works with her clients to help them cope with what is by its nature a very challenging transition, to discover and become clear about what is most important to them and why and how to articulate this to their spouse or partner in a clear, non-provocative way. She assists her clients to be clear thinkers when they are triggered by emotional reactions, to learn to be prepared for what they might hear during negotiations and anticipate when they might react emotionally to a topic or their partner’s behaviors. Melanie assists her clients to think through what their children’s needs are and how best to support them during this transition and after. Melanie received her Bachelor of Arts from the University of California, Berkeley and her Masters of Science in Clinical Child and School Psychology from California State University East Bay. She has been licensed as a Marriage and Family therapist since 1993. She brings years of experience working with families in transition to Collaborative Law and mediation, and is described by clients and collaborative peers alike as being simultaneously empathic, compassionate, clear and direct. Melanie offers services in divorce coaching, custody mediation, co-parent counseling and crisis intervention for couples who are trying to save their marriages or partnerships.