Neutral Mental Health Facilitator


As a certified Neutral Mental Health Professional Counselor (MHP), Dr. Costello can provide expert assistance for managing the highly charged emotions that typically accompany contentious conflicts.

An MHP brings the positive dynamic of experienced neutrality. Neutrality that encourages openness and trust, dispelling the fear and suspicion usually associated with confrontational meetings. In addition, a MHP is skilled at steering a meeting, including professionals and conflicting parties, to dispel confined emotions and encourage constructive negotiations.

In particular, Collaborative Law divorce consultations benefit from the inclusion of the qualified and impartial influence of the MHP to assist with communication, decision-making, and problem-solving. Some of the ways an MHP bring value to the collaborative process are that they:

  • Help identify and work through emotional issues so that they do not create unnecessary dead-ends in the communication process
  • Promote healthy communication and cooperation to alleviate stress, hurt, loss of self-esteem, anger, and alienation to ensure that the divorce transition is civil, respectful, and therefore more effective
  • Assist parties to prioritize needs and goals, identify self-defeating behaviors, support emotional needs, and maintain a future-oriented outlook
  • Encourage the formation of a parenting plan that is optimal for the developmental, emotional, and special needs of the children. Ensure that both parties predict a greater sense of success and optimism for the future

Working with a neutral mental health counselor allows for the preservation of a more positive relationship between former spouses. This is especially important where children are involved, and ongoing civility is necessary.

Negotiation within the framework of collaborative law tends to be more cost-effective than litigation. Further, if parties are unable to reach consensus in collaborative law, very little of the time or money spent is wasted since traditional discovery, the bulk of litigation costs is avoided. When a neutral mental health counselor is part of the collaborative law team, adversarial issues are diffused, and couples are taught more effective communication techniques.

The parties can discuss issues of importance to them and the critical issues regarding their children in confidence and receive guidance from a licensed professional. Parties may prefer not to air private family issues in the public arena of the courtroom. In collaborative law, each party’s questions and concerns are respected and addressed in a reasonable and dignified atmosphere under the leadership of the neutral mental health counselor.

A neutral mental health counselor provides a unique outside perspective and invites the opportunity to craft more creative property and custodial arrangements. The parties can address methods of resolving disputes as they arise that will keep them out of the court system and minimize the possibility of future conflicts.

Attorneys and parties can move at a pace that makes sense for the particular case instead of letting the court docket dictate timing. This gives families time to emotionally deal with divorce, experiment with different custody arrangements, sell any property, or do whatever needs to be done before a divorce is final. A neutral mental health counselor can help parties and attorneys reach closure on difficult issues and can offer support during times of transition in the divorce process.

A neutral mental health counselor helps the parties work together to form cohesive plans and teaches effective negotiation skills that will allow for collaborative modification of such plans if required in the future.