What is “Conscious Uncoupling”?

In headline-making news yesterday, Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin announced their marital separation through a blog post on Paltrow’s lifestyle site, Goop.com titled “Conscious Uncoupling“:

“It is with hearts full of sadness that we have decided to separate,” the pair wrote. “We have been working hard for well over a year, some of it together, some of it separated, to see what might have been possible between us, and we have come to the conclusion that while we love each other very much we will remain separate.”

“We are parents first and foremost, to two incredibly wonderful children,” the note concluded, and we ask for their and our space and privacy to be respected at this difficult time. We have always conducted our relationship privately, and we hope that as we consciously uncouple and coparent, we will be able to continue in the same manner. Love, Gwyneth & Chris”

While this statement only addresses separation, below the announcement Paltrow included an article by physician and lifestyle guru Dr. Habib Sadeghi and his wife, Dr. Sherry Sami, with tips on how to make “conscious uncoupling” the centerpiece of divorce. Just what does this process entail? As the two holistic health practitioners describe, conscious uncoupling involves two spouses ultimately understanding that every irritation and argument they encountered was a signal to look inside themselves and “identify a negative internal object that needed healing.”

According to Sadeghi and Same, every pet peeve and bit of resentment is “just the echo of an older emotional injury.” From this perspective, they say, “there are no bad guys [in divorce], just two people, each playing teacher and student respectively.” Using these kinds of guiding principles, divorce can then become a way to complete a relationship in a way that will leave both parties feeling whole and healed and at peace.

Sound better than fighting your way through a bitter divorce? When translated into practical terms, conscious uncoupling is what most in the family law world refer to as collaborative divorce. In simple terms, collaborative divorce is a method of alternative dispute resolution in which the lawyers for both sides agree to assist the clients to resolve conflicts by employing cooperative techniques rather than adversarial strategies and litigation. All parties involved commit themselves to achieving a negotiated outcome in a peaceful way.

As for Chris Martin and Gwyneth Paltrow, during their separation, conscious uncoupling appears to be working. As they wrote in their announcement:

“We are, however, and always will be a family, and in many ways we are closer than we have ever been.”

Learn more about Divorce Mediation and the benefits of choosing impartial mediators to collaboratively resolve divorce issues.