Hi, I’m Virginia Gilbert MFT
I live in Los Angeles, where I specialize in helping people going through high-conflict divorce.
I help people who are considering divorce, are going through divorce, or have a high-conflict divorce that never seems to get any better. I recognize that many divorces will never be amicable and many exes will not be able to co-parent effectively.
If this is your situation, I will validate your experience and give you a space to process your frustrations about not having the kind of divorce other people tell you that you could have.
My approach is active and directive. I combine mindfulness techniques and solution-focused therapy to give you tools to manage your relationship with your ex and feel sane again.
I will help you learn how Parallel Parenting may lessen your conflict with your ex. Together, we’ll explore ways to get “unstuck” from dysfunctional patterns with your ex, approach your divorce with healthy detachment, and move on with your life.
What It’s Like Living With High-Conflict Divorce
Living with high-conflict divorce can be exhausting.
- You may feel anger, frustration, and fear on a daily basis.
- You may also be struggling with depression, anxiety, physical ailments, and panic attacks.
- Your painful feelings may have taken up all the space in your head, so you have trouble focusing on your children, your job, your friends, and the good things things in life.
- You want to stop worrying about your divorce and you want strategies on how to deal with an ex who never “gets over it” but you don’t know how to do these things.
Most People Don’t Understand High-Conflict Divorce
High-conflict divorce occurs when two people are unable to psychologically disentangle themselves. Their divorce and custody arrangement may have been settled long ago, but one or both parties have never gone through the “emotional divorce.”
They stay locked in battle when one or both engages in hostile email communication, seemingly unending litigation, breaking court orders, and putting kids in the middle. They are not bad people; they just have trouble regulating their emotions and they lack effective conflict resolution skills.
Individuals challenged by high-conflict divorce often feel shame because they can’t do what friends, family, divorce books, and even some therapists tell them to do: “get over it” and become amicable co-parents.
This makes them feel that they have failed because they don’t have the good divorce that everyone assures them they can have if they just do A, B, and C. They feel misunderstood by parenting coordinators and therapists. The shame they experience makes dealing with a difficult ex even more difficult.
As your therapist, I will validate your experience. I will never tell you that you can turn a bad divorce into a good one by “taking the high road” or that you can co-parent effectively when you’re in a situation where this is unlikely. What I will do is help you accept what you can’t change and focus on what you can.
My Professional Background
I received a Bachelor of Arts in English from Georgetown University and a Masters in Clinical Psychology from Antioch University, Los Angeles. I did my clinical training at the Southern California Counseling Center in Los Angeles. I am a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist in California. My license number is MFC 49578.
For seven years, I worked as a Unit Clinician at Vista Del Mar Child and Family Services in Los Angeles. I provided individual, family and group therapy in a residential setting for emotionally disturbed adolescents, many of whom presented with dual diagnosis and co-morbid psychiatric disorders.
I also worked as a Clinical Associate at The Center for Healthy Sex in Los Angeles, where I learned how to help adults challenged by sexual compulsivity, and their partners. If sexual compulsivity has impacted your life, I can help you with that too!
In addition to being a psychotherapist, I write web content on divorce and mental health topics. My work has been published in Huffington Post, Good Men Project, Weinberger Law Group blog, and numerous mental health web sites. I was also the Love Addiction Expert Blogger for Addiction.com.
Finally, I’m a volunteer presenter at Second Saturday L.A., a monthly divorce workshop for people who want to know more about the legal, financial, and emotional aspects of divorce before they get one. The workshops take place on the second Friday and Saturday of each month: Fridays in Santa Monica, and Saturdays in Beverly Hills.
Therapy With Me May Help You Manage Your Divorce
Meeting with a therapist who specializes in high-conflict divorce can really help by allowing you to feel accepted and supported as you learn to detach emotionally from your ex and feel more in control of your life.
If you’re interested in reaching out, I offer a free 15-minute consultation so you may ask me questions about my services and we can explore if we’d be a good fit. Call me at 323-528-6747. I’m here for you.