Before the first team meeting with the attorneys and professionals, the mental health professional will meet with the parties and then be able to provide invaluable information to the team about the parties’ needs as a person and mother or father.
The mental health professional will also be able to provide insight about “hot” issues or buttons that could make for unproductive full-team sessions. This insight from the mental health professional helps the attorneys know how best to handle the case before they even meet with the parties.
Before the case has even started, the four professionals can strategize over how best to handle the parties, how to structure the first team meeting, and how best to deal with the parties’ issues. Instead of each attorney meeting with their client to figure out how to destroy the other side, we work together as a team to figure out how to best help the couple. How do we manage emotions to be able to settle the case?
Because you have the benefit of speaking to the mental health professional before the first meeting with the clients, you have the opportunity to plan how to work with the couple and the first team meeting can go well. At the first meeting with the parties, you can introduce yourself and then deal with the “elephant in the room” right away so that you can move on to settlement discussions. You know what the issues are right away and move past them. The pre-briefing with the professionals helps them be better able to prepare as a team to help the clients achieve their goals, and get started on the right track.
Because in the Collaborative Process you work as a team, with pre-briefing and utilizing whatever sources are available, to better prepare the team to help the clients achieve their goals.