Hopkins-Alvarez, LPC, CST, NCC
I am a Licensed Professional Counselor who specializes in Co-Parenting, Discernment Counseling, Healing Separation, Divorce Support, Divorce Recovery, and Couples and Sex Therapy. As a neutral mental health provider involved in this process, I help clients work through impasses. I empower clients to take hold of their work together, so that it remains non-adversarial and protective of their emotional and physical health, and that of any children.
The clients who come in to see me are often given my name by mediators, collaborative attorneys, CDFA's, and other mental health providers. The one thing that all these prospective clients have in common is that they are at an impasse, and this impasse is negatively impacting how they communicate, especially when they must make decisions. These impasses are quite often fueled from their unsolved negative relationship cycle. Some of these clients are still married, some are separated, and others are in the process of or already have divorced.
I help clients discern what the right direction is for them and provide them with the tools to better communicate with each other and their children. I also incorporate short mindfulness (aka stress reduction) tools to help them learn to calm their own central nervous system to be able to better manage communication, stress, and co-parenting challenges. I have completed mindfulness training with Pema Chodron and Drs. Kristen Kneff & Chris Germer.
Working with the Referred Partners:
1-The Couple Who Wants to Work on Their Marriage:
One of the first things that I help people who are still in a relationship with is to determine whether they want to repair the relationship and transition to Couples Therapy with me, or if they are more suitable for Discernment Counseling and/or Healing Separation. Here is my communication video that will explain positive communication in Couples Therapy: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=68gJnJRKN24
2-The Couple Who Decides to Transition to Discernment Counseling and/or Healing Separation: If at least one member of the couple is not willing to continue to work on the relationship, then I share information on Discernment Counseling and/or Healing Separation. Some couples come to me with intentions and/or actions to separate or divorce, if this is the case, then we talk about slowing down the process, giving each member of the couple space to breathe, and time to reflect on how they have gotten to this point, and what each of them is responsible for in terms of the relationship getting to where it is now. Quite often, both Discernment Counseling and Healing (aka Therapeutic) Separation can occur concurrently because the couple is already in some form of separation, even if it is occurring while still living in the same house. It's important to be open and to customize what each couples needs in this process.
Discernment Counseling video:
In Discernment Counseling, I help the couple reflect on three possible paths:
• Path One – Status Quo (stay married)
• Path Two – Separation/Divorce
• Path Three – partners agree to six-month commitment to go to Couples Therapy, with a clear agenda for each of their own personal change and with divorce “off the table” during this time.
Healing Separation video:
Healing Separation is a structured process where I work with the couple to set up a step-by-step process of how to set new boundaries to cool off the overheated relationship system.
3-The Couple That Decides to Transition to Divorce Support:
Clients can learn a great deal in our sessions that they can apply going forward together as co-parents and eventually, as co-grandparents. Divorcing partners report that when they continually work on lowering their own reactivity by not blaming; they feel more grounded in this process. Continuing to try and reduce your reactivity (e.g., anger) toward your co-parenting partner is a form of self-care. I have helped countless co-parents and divorcing partners compromise and come “back to the table” when things have come to a halt in their mediation and/or collaborative divorce. With consents in place, I can partner with their mediator and CDFA professionals, so we can best support the partners.
Note: Divorce Support sessions are not Couples Therapy.
4- Co-Parenting Counseling:
Co-Parenting Video: https://youtu.be/GX7M1XCKN6o
My Goals as a Co-Parenting Counselor:
• I specialize in helping co-parents find ways around their co-parenting impasses, which can be partly fueled from “leftovers” from their unsolved negative marital cycle from their relationship.
• I provide developmentally appropriate, child-focused information on kids to help educate and support co-parents.
• I teach positive co-parenting strategies and tools.
My Unique Training and Qualifications:
• Masters in Education and a Masters in Counseling
• Advanced Training- Emotionally Focused Couples Therapy
• Advanced Training- Gottman Method Couples Therapy
• Certified Sex Therapist-AASECT
• Certified Discernment Counselor- Dr. Bill Doherty
• CT Council for Non-Adversarial Divorce- Mediation and Collaborative Divorce Courses
• Certified School Counselor, CSDE
• Certified Elementary Education Teacher, CSDE
My personal joy is that I have been married for 30 years and have two daughters, one that is 25 and one that is 16, and our little Chihuahua is at the center of our life.
NOTE: I work with adults only; if you need referrals for your children and/or for family therapy, please consult with me for referrals. I do not provide court mandated co-parenting or support for clients who are initiating legal actions against each other.
100B Danbury Rd, Suite 201D, Ridgefield CT 06877
(come in through Main Entrance)