The Importance of Empowerment During the Healing Process After Divorce,
An Interview with Martha Bodyfelt
Martha Bodyfelt is a divorce coach and the founder of Surviving Your Split based in Washington D.C.. Martha’s practice grew out of her desire to empower women – especially those that have been taught that their own needs didn’t matter. She empowers her clients by teaching them what they need to know, do and expect so that their process to healing is accelerated. Martha supports her clients by working with them and holding them accountable, so that they can reach their goals.
Martha Bodyfelt was interviewed by Divorceify Co-founder, Sonia Queralt.
Sonia: Please tell me a little bit about what you do and how you help people through the divorce process.
Martha: I am a certified divorce coach but my focus is specifically on recovery coaching and if we really narrow it down, I would consider myself a confidence coach, particularly for professional women about the ages of 45 to 60 who are already divorced or who are towards the end of the divorce and trying to think of what’s next, particularly for women who’s self esteem and confidence has just basically been destroyed over the course of their marriage as well as during the divorce. I help my clients focus principally on how to establish boundaries with people in their lives. So, in working with my clients what we’ll do, is try to identify the goals that the women want for themselves, identify how to fight for them, how to get what they want, how to stand up for themselves, how to tell people no, how to tell people to back off, even if it is their family members and get these women to a point that they demand respect.
Sonia: How do these women find you?
Martha: Well there’s a couple of ways but I think the principle way is my blog called, Surviving Your Split. I’m also a contributing writer to Huffington Post and Thrive and Elephant Journal Sometimes my readers will reach out saying they would like to work one on one with me.
Sonia: What are some of the traits that you see many of these women who come to you possess?
Martha: The commonality that I see with all of the professional women that I work with, is that they are born people pleasers and they love to help. They want to nurture and I think that’s a wonderful thing, but the problem is sometimes that gets a little bit overboard. They’re so busy trying to help everybody else that they don’t have enough energy to take care of themselves. One of the biggest things we work on is to dismantle the concept that they have to please everybody and redirecting that energy into only having to answer for themselves and be comfortable with that.
Sonia: Do you give your clients homework?
Martha: Absolutely. We’ll have weekly sessions, working together for 10-15 weeks., We do intensive 60 to 90-minute sessions completely focused on the client. It goes back to that kind of whole personal trainer concept, that we are specifically working on what their problem sets are, what they want to do and what their goals are. So about one day to two days after each session, clients receive session notes, , with at least two to three homework assignments. All of those homework assignments are 100% customized to on the client. The goal is to take clients from someone who’s very unsure of herself to someone who is basically Wonder Woman and nothing gives me greater joy than helping my clients achieve that.
Sonia: What is one of the biggest obstacles with these women and what are they most resistant to?
Martha: In the time I’ve done this and the different clients that I’ve worked with, there is a glaring similarity. Many of these women were never taught that they mattered. They were never taught that they were worth it and I think that there’s a lot of women of a certain age who were raised to not speak up, who were raised to think that they were worthless if they didn’t have a husband. So, my job is to help break through this challenge and this toxic mind frame. The biggest challenge is to coach women into truly believing, “I DO MATTER and I AM NOT SELFISH. What I just described is definitely the commonality and it is hard work but it’s absolutely worth it.
Sonia: Tell me about the transformations that you see from your clients.
Martha: The most common emotion that the clients feel during my work with them is constantly asking themselves, “why am I angry all the time? “They feel so much angrier than they used to be and I tell them it’s because they are awake now and that they deserve respect. And when I’ve been working with a client for months, when I have a client say, hey, finally I’m not angry anymore, or someone cut in front of me at Starbucks and I told them to get to the back of the line and I’ve never done that before. They are learning to stand up for themselves. So hearing those stories is amazing.
Sonia: What’s the one mantra or the one piece of advice that you find yourself saying to every client?
Martha: Basically, the mantra is, you matter dammit and screw anybody who thinks otherwise but I don’t say quite like that… I probably use a little bit more explicit language but you get the idea.
Martha Bodyfelt is a Divorceify professional. You can view her profile here.