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by Baylee Anzai, student writer

HPU’s psychology department kicked off its fall 2007 Symposium series with “The Paradox of Divorce: It Takes Cooperation.” Dr. Craig H. Robinson, Ph.D., clinical psychologist and divorce mediator, clarified the paradox—if you could cooperate, why would you divorce?—for a large audience of HPU students and faculty in the First Hawaiian Tower Sept. 19. Robinson, who earned his degrees at the University of Hawai‘i, focused on how mediation affects the process.

As of Sept. 18, Robinson said, 4,250 divorce actions had filed in Hawai‘i for 2007. Only three full-time family court judges are available to deal with divorces, so mediation is used to facilitate negotiation between the parties and avoid repeated visits to a courtroom.

During mediation, a neutral party tries to help both spouses come to agreements regarding such issues as division of property, custody of children, and child support. If both parties can agree in mediation, their odds of returning to court decrease. (Robinson explained that, in Hawai‘i, more than 60 percent of child custody cases return to family court before the child is 18.)

Robinson said the four most important goals of mediation during the divorce process are:

· The couple can define the outcome of the situation.

· Both parties involved are happy with the outcome.

· There is no better option for children involved in the divorce.

· There is a fairly high probability of success.

Although Robinson is a clinical psychologist, his mediation practice is completely separate from psychology.

“ When I am a mediator I am not functioning as a psychologist,” he said.

Students found Robinson’s comments on the divorce process to be beneficial. Megan Blaine, a HPU junior psychology major, said, “I am engaged as a young 20-year-old, so it’s good to hear about the various possibilities. It’s scary to hear about the statistics involving divorce.”

Lindsay Clements, an HPU junior psychology major, said she gained new insight about the divorce process. “No one in my family is divorced, so it was interesting to hear about it and find out the statistics.”

Although Robinson deals with many divorce cases in his practice, it hasn’t given him a negative perspective on marriage. He has been married for 37 years.

“ I think the institution of marriage is terrific,” Robinson said, “especially when it works well.”
The next psychology department symposium, Oct. 23 from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. will present Dr. Robin Miyamoto, president of the Hawai‘i Psychological Association.

For more information, call Psychology program chair Dr. Vincent Tsushima at (808) 544-1410 or at vtsushima@hpu.edu.




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