Robert G. Smith, PLLC

The Critical Importance Of Understanding And Respecting The Client's Sentiments And Prerogatives

If you have enjoyed Malcolm Gladwell's writing, and the Power of Habit by the New York Times reporter Charles Duhigg, I heartily recommend Mr. Duhigg's newest work "Smarter Faster Better".   Among other things, the author alludes to something called the "locus of control" to explain studies which show that senior citizens in nursing homes benefit from what he calls "subversive" conduct to question authority and take control of their decision making muscles.  To express their independence, the senior citizens yanked their bureaus from the wall to re arrange the furniture, and traded food in the dining room.  Mr. Duhigg also describes how Marines are trained to cultivate their "locus of control"  to survive in combat instead of following orders literally.  Fascinating stuff.  And no, I do not know Mr. Duhigg.

I suspect that sometimes people getting a divorce have a similar ability and need to question the authority of a spouse who has suddenly become a traitor to the marital partnership.

I do settle a lot of cases.  But I am also a divorce lawyer who litigates, likes it, and doesn't feel guilty about pursuing excellence in the exercise of that skill.    So I have grown weary of the perjorative judgments from many mental health professionals and those professionals with licenses to practice law who express strong judgments that the divorcing client should only be influenced to go directly from point "A" to point "B" and not be assisted on any other path.   Isn't life a little more complicated than that ?   I for one do not consider myself qualified or authorized to act as an arm chair therapist or spiritual adviser.  It is after all, in the language of the mental health professionals, a primary psycho social stressor.

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Robert G. Smith, PLLC
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