“How are you?”
“Good. Good. Thanks.”
We’ve all heard this common exchange. It’s so engrained in our culture that we don’t even give our piece of the script a second thought. If fact, many people have experienced the situation where Person #2 provided the anticipated response even after Person #1 changed up the question. The responses, “Fine” and “Good” have lost their meaning. We are so used to covering up negative emotions and providing a stoic face to the world that we might not even realize how close to the surface our hurt, anger and fear are. So it’s not until one walks into a comfortable, safe environment that those feelings may emerge. And sometimes all it takes for the emotions to spill forth is initiating of the standard greeting, “How are you?”
At a recent Huron Valley Referral Network meeting, Tammy Ware, co-owner of Essential Massage and Wellness Center, relayed just such a situation. She is proud of the warm, compassionate environment at her business that allows clients to feel comfortable enough to show their true emotions. “There are some people that show up and the door has barely closed before they burst into tears,” Ware said.
The Kathryn Wayne-Spindler & Associatesstaff keeps a box of tissues in the conference room for just such occasions. Despite Kathryn’s aggressive reputation in the courtroom, her Milford law office is welcoming and sympathetic. Quite often, clients will say, “I told myself I wasn’t going to cry,” before weeping openly in the office.
“It’s nearly impossible to be ‘fine’ about divorce,” said Kathryn Wayne-Spindler. “It’s almost odd if someone doesn’t show sadness, defiance, regret. Something.”
Showing feelings is a good thing. It can be helpful for a family law attorney to know how a client is coping and where they’re at emotionally. A client’s emotional state can decide how aggressively to approach the case; which lawyer would be the best fit; and whether counseling or co-parenting classes should be pursued.
“Our attorneys put clients at ease,” said Wayne-Spindler, “after all, we chose family law for a reason. If we weren’t good with people, there are plenty of other directions we could have gone with our degrees.”
We’ve got your back
Unlike many professions, the legal process may be completely foreign to people.
“People go to doctors and dentists for well checks every year, but nobody goes to the courthouse until there’s something wrong,” said Wayne-Spindler.
Because of the unfamiliarity and intimidating nature of law practice, Kathryn Wayne-Spindler and Associates’ divorce clients often need procedural support, negotiating advice and emotional hand-holding.
It’s OK to cry
“Our goal is to make clients cry. Just kidding! But we do recognize that when someone cries in the office, they’re showing trust in our confidence, our experience and our kindness. They’re willing to be vulnerable and that’s a compliment,” said Wayne-Spindler.
As Tammy Ware said about her massage treatments, “When life is beating you down, you just need something pleasant to build you back up and be able to go out into the world.”
Although there are no backrubs in Wayne-Spindler’s office, the whole staff is serious about helping clients repair optimism in the midst of personal tragedy. Kathy says she can’t guarantee that all clients will leave her office happy. That would be unrealistic. But perhaps they’ll at least have a sense of relief and hope so that the next time they get asked, “How are you?” they can honestly respond, “Fine.”
For more than 20 years, Kathryn Wayne-Spindler & Associates has been helping family law clients come through divorce and child custody disputes with a positive outlook. Contact the Milford, Michigan law firm at 248-676-1000. The attorneys handle cases throughout Southeastern Michigan including Oakland, Washtenaw, Wayne, Genesee and Livingston counties. Communities served include: Milford; Highland; Hartland; White Lake; Walled Lake; Waterford; Commerce; Howell; South Lyon; New Hudson; Linden; Holly; Grand Blanc and many more.
Written and Posted by Christine Donlon Long, Communications’ Specialist for Kathryn Wayne-Spindler & Associates