Karen Donahue has a Doctorate of Psychology, and is Licensed Professional Counselor. Over the past ten years, Dr. Donahue’s private practice has focused on the unique needs of children, families, and adults in need of emotional support during life’s difficult transitions. Her specialized training in child psychology and family dynamics enables her to understand each family member’s unique needs, allowing her to formulate meaningful interventions for all of her clients. Dr. Donahue recognizes that although divorce is inherently a legal matter, the majority of obstacles that interfere with amicable negotiations and productive decision-making are driven by highly charged emotions. Just as great emotional bonds bring a couple to marriage, the dissolution of those connections oftentimes intensify the divorce process immensely. This common reality creates a vital need for the contributions of an experienced psychologist on the Collaborative Divorce Team.
Within the Collaborative Team model, there are two crucial roles uniquely suited to a Psychologist’s specialized training, namely the roles of a Divorce Coach and a Child Specialist. As a Divorce Coach, I assist clients by recognizing the emotionally charged issues that impede divorce negotiations, and work with clients to effectively manage the resulting anger and distress. My objective is to help clients and lawyers anticipate and manage the “hot button” emotional issues that inevitably arise so clients may reach fair and equitable agreements that foster a healthy adjustment to post divorce outcomes and more positive co-parenting situations.
As a Child Specialist, I act as a neutral voice for the children as they transition through their parent’s divorce. I share with parents the latest research findings to best mitigate the negative effects of divorce on children so they are free to love each parent as they transition towards co-parenting households. My role as the Child Specialist allows the children to have meaningful participation in decisions that will effect them for the rest of their lives, and manage any misperceptions they may have about their parents decision to divorce. I help parents focus on the needs of the children by providing education and insight into how the children are coping, as well as guidance to best address a child’s developmental needs. The addition of a Child Specialist allows the children to be included in the process in a very constructive, age appropriate, and safe manner.