Amanda and Cheryl chat about the pathways after divorce so that parenting can still be successful.

For accuracy you will need to view the YouTube, but I have also provided a generalised transcript.  Who says what is less important than the content and for this reason I have not coded who says what.

Disclaimer: this transcript was mechanically transcribed and the author has done her best to make certain grammatical corrections and ensure that it makes sense.  The true version is in the video. What follows below is slightly modified to help the reader make sense of the content. Please respect that spoken language often transcribes with confusion and some doubling up. Regardless, enjoy.

And a warm welcome to today’s listeners. Allow me to introduce myself as the host of Today’s episode. 

My name is Amanda Dounis and I am the founder of the positive thinking clinic located at Wolli Creek, Sydney. Here at the positive thinking clinic, I see clients of all ages. 

I see individuals, couples, families, and small groups. I conduct psychotherapy and use a variety of modalities delivered through counselling techniques and hypnotherapy.

I am a professional counsellor a clinical hypnotherapist and strategic psychotherapist. I’m an early childhood teacher and an NLP master practitioner.

To learn more about what I do and what I offer, visit my website www.posititivethinkingclinic.com.au. The easiest way to connect with me on social media is to search my name. Amanda Dounis or my clinic, positive thinking clinic. You may also access my social media at the bottom of my web site.

I am the author of my coping skills handbook aimed at kids 8 to 12 years of age. I have also turned this into an online course. 

I have a range of podcasts that can be found on amandadounis.podbean.com  In addition to the positive thinking clinic I am the owner of four early learning centers. I am passionate about quality care and emotional wellness of all ages. I believe we set the foundation for emotional wellness from a very young age.

My early learning centers are licensed as positive living skills services. I also have an emotional wellness & kids Facebook group. 

One of my greatest hobbies is learning. I think I am always enrolled in a variety of courses no matter how small. I enjoy adding to my skill set as an integrated therapist. I learn diverse skills and select the best fit for any situation. 

If you wonder if I have any other hobbies I am also into fitness.

I have run a number of marathons including two ultra marathons.

 So that’s me in a nutshell. If you wanted to get in touch you can use the contact form on my website positivethinkingclinic.com.au I would love to hear from you. 

Signing out and moving forward, you’re listening to Amanda Dounis. 

Joining us today is Cheryl Duffy. Cheryl Duffy’s from this divorce tango and her company is actually virtual. She’s a one stop shop for divorce referral to lawyers, mediation, mediators, counselors, coaches, and financial planners. She has a co parenting program to help parents create successful co parenting relationships.

Cheryl is a certified divorce coach. She’s an accredited mediator. She is author of the divorce tango and founder of the divorce center. You can find out more about Cheryl at www.thedivorcetango.com.au

You can also find her on Facebook through the divorce tango.

And you can also find her through Instagram. Divorce tango and Twitter by searching divorce tango.

She has written the divorce tango book and it is available on her Web site Cheryl has also created the Co parenting with civility program. And that’s available on her Web site as well.

Cheryl Duffy is the founder of the divorce Center and author of the divorce tango, Certified Divorce coach an accredited mediator. She enjoys helping people find the courage and the confidence through their divorce journey.

Returning men to professionals or referring men to professionals as required to minimize costs and also to accelerate their recovery. 

Cheryl has a keen passion to help others through volunteering overseas. 

And being involved in international projects director for the Rotary Club of …Greater Sydney to make a difference to the impoverished communities of developing countries.

In the past Cheryl was with IBM she was part of the Asia Pacific, driving leading transformational program a very big step across Asia Pacific. But the hardest change that she ever had to manage was her divorce after an eight year hellish recovery.

She transformed her life and made it her mission to help others going through divorce so that they didn’t waste eight years of their life Cheryl says. I hope those embarking on their divorce to be empowered and also help those who are stuck and unable to let go. So that they can create the life that they deserve.

Cheryl would like to publish another book to help adolescents through the impacts of divorce and teach them how to cope when their parents are not coping so that they can avoid the conflict that they’re impacted by two warring parents a high school roadshow.

To help kids through the impact of divorce the easiest way for our listeners to get in contact with show is through the divorce tango. Thank you. 

Hi Cheryl. Thank you so much for joining us today I really appreciate your time.

And although I introduced to you as thoroughly as I know I think our listeners would absolutely love to hear from your mouth. What you can offer and what your strengths are. Can you please let us know a little bit more about you. OK. So thank you Amanda. I’m the founder of the divorce centre. So I’ve got my accreditation as a mediator. I’m a certified divorce coach and the author of the divorce tango.

So what I do for people is making sure that they’re with the right, at the right time throughout..  that enables them to minimize their cost and accelerate the recovery. So I help them during and beyond so they can rebuild their life. You know just before you go on there. It’s so extremely important the role that you play here.

I’m in the early childhood industry and I’ve been there for the last 20 or so years and so I’ve been exposed to many families who have encountered that rocky road. And I see the value in what you do and what you have to offer because if this part of their journey is not done smoothly the kids are impacted so other families themselves or the adults themselves as well.

So tell me a little bit more about that well with the families. 

I run a parenting with stability program. I come across so many families who have such toxic relationships because they ,may be x’s that would punish the other person for turning their world upside down or they’re just you know not separating them the way they feel about the breakup with their co parenting responsibilities and who are the victims in that the children.

So I have the co parenting and civility program that helps them to be able to be good role models to be their best selves, reduce the conflict so that it minimizes the impact on the children that’s that’s so good to know. Can you give me a snapshot about what the parenting program actually involves like how long is it. How do they get in contact with you. Is it both parents at the same time.

No I don’t encourage both parents to be there at the same time. I have each parent in a different what a different program. So programs can be called weekly program. That’s one night a week or they if they wanted to which I have a lot of people coming in saying look I’m going to court you know very very soon I need I don’t have to 12 weeks. So I do have weekend programs that do to four hour blocks on the Saturday and Sunday.

So they’re able to get their program pleated and be able to have their completions. Which demonstrates to the courts that they’re really committed to a successful parenting relationship. So overall it’s about eight 8 hours is a eight to twelve hours the weekend one’s eight hours and the weekly one’s twelve and what kind of a response to get off towards what what are the outcomes achieved well people are saying that even throughout the program particularly obviously the 12 week one because I do the positive test is reducing the effect.

We go through various scenarios that they had in the past having the prison and what they anticipate in the future. And we work through various options of different alternative ways of dealing with that. To get a better outcome. So I’ve had so many people say oh you know the drama has reduced conflicts reduced.

We’re getting along a lot better having this formal sort of business like transactional relationship which is you know reducing a lot of this in the benefit so it becomes more like a professional relationship rather than an emotional one. Yeah.

It’s like the business of wars as opposed to you know having this relationship which is fractured it’s separating out how they feel about the other person about how the breakup happened. It’s completely separating that and focusing totally on being a good parent. And I guess at the end of the day that’s what you’re left with all the yucky stuff ends up being in the past.

But the co parenting is there today. Tomorrow you say and in the future. So I guess they really need this skills from a professional like yourself so that they can be guided to at least say that they’ve done it as best as they know yeah. Absolutely and that co parenting mission ship goes for years and years and years until the kids are like 18 and beyond if you can try and have a successful parenting relationship it sets you up for the future.

But if you start off and you will allow it to become toxic and damaged it’s it’s very hard to pull that back. So I try to get parents who are just separated so that we can get them on the right track to have a good co parenting relationship. That’s right. And it’s really important that kids that are living in both homes get to experience the same love attention comfort stability that can be achieved.

Yes I know there’s less about sorry an old school myth is that kids can’t be in two different homes it disrupts them but quite often being in the one home and in a dysfunctional parenting relationship is more harmful to children when you actually can achieve two healthy homes completely. 

So they’re happy homes and loving homes and the kids just thrive in that environment.

So kids need both parents in their lives. It’s not good for them to not have a parent absent from their lives because it can affect them their own romantic relationships into the future. 

So it’s good for them to have both parents heavily involved in their life and having a good strong relationship with both.

Because if they if they are alienated from a parent it takes such a long time for that bond to be reestablished later on down the track and that’s such a valid point that you’ve made in my clinic quite often when I am speaking with adults and they told me the story they may be here for depression or anxiety or or habits that they need to break again.

Tell me this story quite often. How they were separated from their parents or one parent or their parents got divorced or they had to live in a dysfunctional stall family dynamic relationship and they may be 40 years old at this point or 50 and they still bringing that into the therapy room goes to show how important it is to have a program like yours available for those who seek it for their children. Absolutely.

Yeah. Yeah. Because for kids to grow up in a home that’s full of conflict just is so damaging to their development their behaviors. It doesn’t set them up for a good future. They need to be able to thrive in their environment. And how about when you’re in a situation like this where the two parents want to say oh no look I’m coming to this program because it needs to change or she needs to change.

That’s not the fact at all. So we need to change our selves absent absolute behaviors. And yet because we can’t change. Yeah we can’t change our ex’s behavior but which change how we respond to it. And it’s good if both parents attend the program on different time slots so that they can both learn how to handle the stress they’re on the learn how to be good role be their best selves and be able to work with the conflict scenarios and get the better outcome.

Now if one parent decides not I’m not doing it. Then at least the other parents can can do the program and not be in battle with the other parent because they develop skills to be able to not buy into the drama to handle those different conflict scenarios so that they can respond differently instead of reacting off the handle or getting mad because they’re just so annoyed with their ex.

It’s strategies to enable them to respond in a different way so that they can make sure that they can have a civil relationship. Absolutely it’s about filling up our our toolkit with coping skills. And like you said it’s the reactions that often cause all the all of the drama. And yes you may not have both parents willing to do this program.

Conflict occurs and they may not agree to participate but still it’s still good enough even if one participates because that one he or she can still learn their skills and learn to be that co parent as best as they know how to minimize conflict. Exactly. And they do it once the other one. So if you can calm things down then it diffuses the other person’s behavior.

Because I find there’s lots of parents it’s tit for tat like one will say something and escalate the other one are punished by saying little or doing that. So it just continues to escalate constantly between the two of them. But if one can be that calming and just making sure that it’s very kids focused then it has that effect of influencing the other one to calm down and let’s just focus on the needs of the children.

No it’s not about us. It’s about the needs of the kids. That’s right. I remember once educating myself on the empowering parenting. And one of the courses that I undertook there. They spoke of. Conflict but in terms of parties it’s like so. You don’t have to attend to every party that you’re invited to. And it wasn’t just aimed at the kids.

Like when teenagers come in they want to show their hostility their anger or they want to pick a fight with mom or dad and they say to parents you don’t have to attend that party just because your child is inviting you. Same goes with adults when they get attacked and bit of resentment and one wants to trigger something. We don’t have to attend to the parties that were invited to by our ex-partners Absolutely and the exes are always trying to push your hot buttons.

And that’s something we learn in my program what your hot buttons are. No when they’re being triggered and not buying into it because they’re trying to basically get a reaction from you that they can then use as evidence against you as being over react to the emotion. Aggressive. So it’s very very important to have control over your own. I know a lot about yourself and how you respond in conflict. That’s right.

Tell me about your book. So the divorce tango basically helps people through and beyond divorce. So it’s my story it’s got case studies in there with interviews I’ve done with other people who have gone through the Boston advice they offer. I also have interviews in there with lawyers and counselors and so forth giving their information and advice their professional advice.

In the book so that it helps people who are just putting out wonderful was their world turned upside down and it gives them a guide to how to get through it and understand what emotions they’re going through and what to expect. Basically. Yeah that becomes a real handy handbook so to speak. Point of reference. Something to turn to something reliable. A good source. Yeah. And I understand that you’re also wanting to do another book yes.

So I see out there there’s lots of information lots of books for young children but when it comes to teenagers there’s not really any of them. So I’d like to either write a book or create another program that is for adolescents where it can be used by schools or or you know it could be run by the Divorce Center so that parents aren’t really worried about their teen ager.

They can see if they’d like to put their teenagers through the course so that the children sort of understand what’s happening because it’s something that’s sort of put on them that they have adult control of it’s happening to them. So giving them some help to get through it and very very important that they don’t then be used as the messenger to you know I find this teenagers that step up and take the place of the missing parent especially if there’s a parent that’s struggling to cope know that that eldest child.

Tends to step into those shoes to take on that responsibility to help that grieving parent. And you know this just things that go on in the family structure whereby if one parent’s gone then that teen age it just feels takes on that responsibility. So it’s important for them to sort of understand the boundaries that they set when they’re having you know the families going to the polls. Absolutely.

I must say I do have a lot of kids and teenagers that come through my clinic and one of the most stark emotions I see out teenagers is anger. Yes. And it’s I really believe this is a critical time even for teenagers who are not experiencing parents who are divorcing or family dysfunction.

Still it can be a difficult time just because they’re teenagers and absolutely much changes happening in their bodies their minds their hormones. They’re just just it’s just life. So already they’re being challenged and when I have had kids. Who are in a situation where their parents are being divorced or are divorced I always see that what their parents think is best for the children.

The children often have a different view and often feel that they haven’t been understood or often feel that it’s not safe. And so there’s a real lack of communication or shall I say assumed knowledge. Yes. Yes there needs to be heard. So their voice is needing to be heard and the parents feel that they’re listening to the needs of the kids not just thinking all this is this will be better for them.

And that’s why it’s I think that’s a great idea to have this opportunity for kids in this situation to be able to access a resource like that at least a model or a formula to follow a protocol something like that’s really really important because soon there will be adults. Yes. And how much of an impact will this have had on them.

What will they carry with them through the course of their life when they become parents when they go when they’ve experienced such conflict between their parents and they have a taste of that in their own marital life or adult relationships. It’s really important that they deal with things at the current moment as healthy as adaptable so that they can learn their coping skills and what their triggers they need to deal with.

This and also learning about what you know about the healthy mind activities to have a positive mindset and be able to look at conflict and how to manage it without reacting and being able to be having good problem solving skills as opposed to them not being equipped for last year.

So if they’re a child of divorce they will understand what they’re going through and how they can make changes to be empowered to get through it. But then if they ultimately end up divorcing delves into the future they still have those on the skills that are being taught to them as teenagers to get through it. That’s absolutely right. I think at any age we need to always replenish our toolkit and skills.

We are evolving creatures at any age and stage we are not the same as we were 10 years ago five years ago 20 years ago. And of course I’d imagine we will be different in five years time ten years time etc because life itself brings challenges. So what we can deal with today doesn’t mean we’ll be able to do that in five years because we may be faced with a secondary issue or we couldn’t deal with five years ago. We can deal with that today.

So it’s really important that we have. Our. Resource. Available to us. Yes definitely. So in my child care centres I. Am still connected with a lot of these families who. Their kids have grown up now. I’ve been in the industry for so long and I do have families and kids and workshops and everything that happens in my clinic.

So I think it’s a really nice way too for you to be able to connect with therapists such as myself and I as an early childhood industry teacher to be able to have someone like as a point of reference as well because I’d come in contact with parents who need help. Sure we can be there for or we can recognize that couples are distressed and then go for relationship counselling. But what about when the divorce has already happened.

So do you have counselors as well and therapists do you refer on. I refer you to all the different types of professionals that people need during divorce. So that’s lawyers mediators counselors. Therapists financial planners and most coaches. So yes. So you know as like a lot of people just go direct lawyer and they sort of get caught up in this battle.

So it’s much better if they can be with a divorced coach first to be become their best selves through the divorce be empowered and be able. It is impeccable as possible and only engage with the lawyers if and when necessary. So it’s more like a holistic approach instead of just kind of wondered if it’s not just about signing that paper or taking half or most of you know the settlement for example it’s you’ve got to keep yourself well as well because it’s about co parenting the infant.

Yes. Definitely. It’s also securing your Durante for the future but not at the expense of your kids. So it’s a case of making sure that you’re going to be fair and ethical and you’re being your best self. You know being in this mindset of you know going to take him to the cleaners or not let her get any of it just because they’re trying to punish the ex.

So it’s very important. And if they can you know be able to be helped emotionally to be able to do things amicably and to do it. Coming from their best self. Because even if they do these things they can read it later if they are doing it in a meets and girlfriend’s wanting to just lash out. So you know they can be battling it out in court and lose thousands and thousands of that family well.

And you know that’s you know something that could have set themselves up to help them out of divorce and rebuild their life. So it’s important not to get caught up in this battle which ends up costing mom you know tens to hundreds of thousands of dollars sometimes. Yeah that’s right. It’s. I think it’s really great that you’re available as a coach.

So for all of our listeners out there to get in contact with you is what’s the best way. They can go to my website and do those tango of accompany you. So they’ll be able to contact me and they’ll be able to get a lot of information off the side of what I do and the different programs I run. That’s what your site is so well organized.

I had a look through it and it’s very resourceful and I really encourage anybody that’s in that situation that they want to become the best version of themselves during this difficult time. And it is a time to move forward successfully during these cocoa and teen program. It’s a great idea. Is there anything else that you’d like our listeners to know. Well I’ve also launched a Divorce Recovery Program so that one helps people particularly post divorce when they’re OK for years not able to let go and move on.

I was one of those people so it took me eight years as I mentioned to recover from my divorce. So I hope people to be able to let go and move on build the life they deserve. You’ve just launched that yep just a couple of weeks ago. And that that is not for co parenting that’s for the parents struggling. Yes. The parents struggling to let go.

Okay so just so I can understand that part. So the co parenting program is for what we’ve just discussed. But this new launch is just to get unstuck and move forward with your life. Yes definitely because you can get quite stuck and you can go by. Absolutely.

Did you realize that it’s time to move forward and you just didn’t know how yeah we just what’s going to happen is so that’s basically getting them through to acceptance in the emotional great and being able to look at what they’re afraid of moving forward what’s holding them back. You know there’s usually an underlying issue where they don’t feel they’re good enough.

Their confidence and self-esteem and self-worth is has plummeted particularly people who have been left so these people are then helped to become neighbors to tap into their strength to create a life that is going to give them their full potential and give them all the possibilities of having a wonderful life ahead. Just as you said all of that.

I do so much of that in my hypnotherapy sessions when I have individuals who come here who feel stuck. Name everything that you just named and I guess this this counselling sessions and this hypnotic sessions and I think both are just as good as each other. But like I said you reminded me when I do my hypnotherapy sessions. That’s what we work on getting unstuck creating the life that you want.

Finding your self worth believing in yourself knowing you can be the best version of you moving forward visualizing you accepting everything even forgiveness. Forgiveness doesn’t make it okay for any other person has done wrong but forgiveness sure helps set you free. Yeah it releases you in that prison. And that’s what I want my classes there. Yes definitely. And all my programs are great programs.

So I know yours are one of one programs mine check to be brief ones so that they’re there with other people in a group. So there’s also that sharing of experience then meeting the one or one support. You know I did the most coaching but obviously you with counseling can get into those deep seated childhood traumas that divorce is triggered. You know those painful memories that they have all the trauma they’ve had in their minds.

So I see that you know we both play such a critical role in helping people move on and live their lives. Yeah that’s right. This is a myth that I’ve learned as world’s called Timeline therapy did that when I was doing my psychotherapy. And it’s it’s really about your timeline and your your past events.

It’s a matter of cleaning up your relationship to them to be quite honest sometimes out we bring out past events into today’s living was really we can’t change anything that’s occurred in the past. No but we can’t change our relationship to it and so that I should shift to now events in our old circumstances that keep us stuck and that’s what we need to release.

Acceptance like you said and a new relationship to what’s occurred so that we can be freed so that we can move forward. Absolutely. Well I’ve really enjoyed chatting with you today. I hope our listeners get a lot out of this and a lot of good guidance and some useful tips. At least they get hope yes and a point of reference or axis for show. Thank you so much thank you. Thank you for having me today.

It’s been great. Thank you so much. You go and have yourself a wonderful day and I’ll chat with you soon. Thank you Amanda.

Click here to listen to an interview about the importance of emotional support at the onset of separation.

Amanda Dounis

Positive Thinking Clinic

1/7 Magdalene Terrace

Wolli Creek, 2205

0458 850 850



It is important to know that resources are available if you are experiencing anxiety , and exploring other websites, such as mindaustralia, and headspace.  

I welcome you to visit my podcast to learn about anxiety basics.

In any emergency you can always reach out to lifeline.

Help is also available for kids, and support for families too.

You may find my Coping Skills Handbook a great resource.  It teaches kids how to cope with everyday challenges using a simple C.O.P.E. formula.

You can find out more about me on natural therapy pages or psychology today

I am a level 3 member of the Australian Counselling Association and am a member of the Hypnotherapy Council of Australia

Here is a short clip on FAQ at Positive Thinking Clinic https://youtu.be/GNWaRVsC-OU

Ways that Positive Thinking Clinic can help you https://youtu.be/m0z-f0PSQNM

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