Psychologist Upgrades For Family Therapy In The 21st Century

Carol Chang
Wednesday - February 01, 2012
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Robert Woliver with his book and its upgrade, The Di- vorce App. Photo by Leah Friel, .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

Divorce, iPhones and iPads they’re facts of modern life. Perhaps it was inevitable that a Kahaluu psychologist would link them all together and come up with The Divorce App.

“For a stressed-out parent going through divorce, the app is a fast trip to the right subject not a cumbersome, big book,” explained Dr. Robert Woliver, warming to his favorite subject as he cradled an iPad 4 in his hands. “Just zip to the chapter, and it pops up right away. It’s very immediate.”

Woliver is referring to his landmark book, Mango Season Doesn’t Last Forever, a guide to helping children cope with divorce. But it was first published two decades ago, and that’s soooo yesterday. Presented in app form, the book now reaches therapists (with good reviews) and splitting families on “every continent but South America,” he said. “Otherwise, I’d never be able to reach them.”

Books can be threatening, tedious tomes with nothing fun or interactive going on, he pointed out, especially for families in pain as they fall apart. “The app makes my book come alive,” he said. “If you read about divorce, it’s like reading about tuning your carburator, if you have one.” (Woliver also owns an electric car that he’s quite proud of.)

The app sells for $3.99 online; the book sells for $37. The app can add children’s expressive drawings the heart of his book with little trouble, while the book would have to go through another expensive printing to make changes and add material.

Still, the app isn’t meant to replace therapy, which he conducts in his Kaneohe office or in his home that overlooks the bay.

“It’s a tool you use to talk with your child about divorce. And psychology apps can support lessons from workbooks, or exercises introduced in an office visit.”

Woliver and his wife Gail have fully embraced the iGadget lifestyle, which makes them popular with their grandchildren who are at home with all things new. In fact, Grandpa hired a high school junior to translate his book into app language.

New theory: “Maybe teens and grandchildren have a built-in chip that we don’t have,” mused Woliver, 64.


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