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Is conscious uncoupling a valuable concept?

A great deal of media attention has been focused around the concept of “conscious uncoupling” in recent weeks. This phrase seemed to become ubiquitous on television and on the Internet after Gwyneth Paltrow used it to describe her split from Coldplay musician Chris Martin. Many individuals have responded negatively to this phrase and to Paltrow’s announcement for a number of reasons. However, it is worth asking whether the concept of conscious uncoupling itself holds any value for individuals considering or facing separation or divorce.

According to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, the term “conscious uncoupling” was first coined by a therapist based in Los Angeles. In essence, the concept encourages couples to “release the trauma of a breakup, reclaim your power and reinvent your life."

After reading that definition, you may be rolling your eyes. That is a perfectly understandable reaction. After all, the trauma that can be caused by ending your marriage is something that one does not simply symbolically “release” like a balloon or a dove into the air, never to be seen again once it drifts out of sight.

However, we frequently write about the fact that while separation and divorce can be unquestionably difficult, these life transitions can also offer individuals an opportunity for personal growth. In fact, if one does not seek to recommit each day to grow in healthy ways in the aftermath of a decision to end a marriage, the negative consequences for the divorce process and for one’s future can be devastating.

So, roll your eyes if you feel the need. It may even feel really good to do so. But then take a little time to consider whether the underlying motivations of conscious uncoupling might just benefit you and your family.

Source: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, “Is 'conscious uncoupling' a better way to divorce?” Anya Sostek, March 29, 2014

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