No therapy, no legal advice, just education
Kate van Dyke started her Northfield based business, DCC, Divorce Counseling & Coaching in 2002, when she saw a need in the market for educating individuals contemplating or facing divorce. | Jackie Pilossoph~For Sun-Times Media
DCC, Divorce Counseling & Coaching
• 1 Northfield Plaza, Ste. 300,
• 10 S. Riverside Plaza, Ste. 1800
Updated: January 23, 2013 8:28AM
People going through a divorce typically hire a divorce attorney. Some individuals also begin seeing a therapist to deal with the emotional aspect of divorce.
Yet, there’s another person who might be able to help in the process. Her name is Kate van Dyke. She’s a divorce coach with a goal of making the divorce process easier and less costly. How? By offering education.
“I don’t give legal advice, and unlike a therapist who explores the past, I’m future focused and goal oriented,” said van Dyke, who holds a master’s degree in psychology and family counseling. “I am here to educate men and women on the process of divorce so that they can make informed, conscious decisions through the lens of their personal priority.”
In 2002, she started her Northfield-based business, DCC, Divorce Counseling & Coaching, when she saw a need in the market for educating individuals contemplating or facing divorce.
Prior to starting the business, she interviewed 50 men and women who were divorced or divorcing, and said she kept hearing the same comments.
“They didn’t understand the system, they had a negative taste in their mouth about the process,” she said. “So, I started asking questions like, ‘What’s the number one thing you don’t understand?’ or ‘What do you wish you’d have known?’”
She then researched the process, looked at legal statutes, educated herself on the laws and developed a flow chart of the divorce process. She said she uses the chart to break the process down into steps so that people can look at it as she talks them through it.
DCC clients are couples and individuals who are contemplating divorce, and who want to explore all of their options before deciding their divorce process.
“When you’re a destabilized or traumatized person, you are not able to take in the information the way you would if life was smooth,” said van Dyke, who is a member of the International Coach Federation and who went through a divorce seven years before starting the business. “I educate them and help them retain it. I help with coping strategies and I help reframe them so they are better able to understand all of their options.”
Marilyn Baker-Buffington, of Winnetka, went through a divorce in 2007, and went to see van Dyke at the recommendation of her accountant.
“To sit down and read through Illinois divorce law is overwhelming, especially during that tough time,” Buffington said. “It’s important to know what the realities are and how things will play out financially and on other issues, and Kate not only gave me practical information, but she gave me things to think about, strategies to protect my finances.”
Buffington said van Dyke outlined what she could expect, and that she gave her a good assessment of what would happen.
Van Dyke charges $200 an hour for her services, and said she sees some clients only one time, just for an initial consultation. Others she sees on a regular basis throughout the length of the divorce.
“She’s objective. She’s not going to tell you what to do, but she gives you the information so you can process it and come to your own conclusion,” said Buffington. “That’s different than a sister or a best friend who is going to be more emotional about it. It’s having a neutral party who is informed on the subject.”
On January 24, van Dyke is launching an interactive online educational website called @divorce.com.
The site is an educational tool for individuals who want to learn about different divorce processes.
“It will answer questions like, ‘Is mediation right for me?’ and will provide questions you can download to ask when interviewing a divorce attorney,” said van Dyke. “It’s about bringing the educational piece of what I do online.”
“Getting divorced is a big step in one’s life,” said Buffington, “The best approach is to get the information, and if you have that, you will make better choices.”