Professionals - Facilitators

The facilitator guides the flow, pace and direction of meetings and plans strategy for the case. This specialist contains conflict, coaches communication, and assists clients with emotions as needed. If there is no child specialist, the facilitator may help the clients formulate a parenting plan. Facilitators have a background in psychotherapy and/or mediation.

John Sobraske

John Sobraske, based in Rochester, New York, has an MA in clinical psychology and is licensed as a mental health counselor and marriage and family therapist. He has worked as a psychotherapist for 25 years, serving youth, adults, couples and families; as a collaborative facilitator and family specialist for 7 years; and as a mediator for 5 years.

John has extensive training in attachment, object relations and psychoanalysis, with specialties in adoption, foster care, trauma, executive function and autism, and he works extensively with LGBTQ, African-American and Hispanic populations as well as low-income individuals and families. John regularly provides mental health evaluations and has served as an expert witness. He has developed two innovative psychotherapeutic approaches—Cognitive Affective Somatic Therapy and Psychoenergetic Psychotherapy.

His background in natural medicine includes training in botanical medicine, classical homeopathy, Taoist acupuncture and qigong. He is the chief editor for the homeopathic reference series, Materia Medica Clinica, by Massimo Mangialavori, and he has taught courses on natural medicine as an adjunct faculty member at the Rochester Institute of Technology.

John is an international presenter on adoption and collaborative law. For the latter, he regularly provides introductory two-day trainings and advanced trainings. Together with Donna Maier and Diana Deyo Ryan, John founded Interfow which provides trainings on adaptive strategies for optimal outcomes in co-mediation and collaborative law. This group presented in Spanish to the International Partnership Subgroup of the Instituto Brasileiro de Práticas Colaborativas (IBPC). He has a special interest in collaborative team dynamics and innovative ways to combine mediation and collaboration. He has participated on two IACP committees and is the current president of CLARA.

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Renee O. LaPoint, M.S.

As a neutral coach and facilitator in the collaborative law process, my goal is to assist clients by supporting each of the parties individually and collectively to be both positive and productive in moving forward with a separation or divorce. The separation/divorce process is a very difficult one; emotionally and financially. My role is to help make the experience easier and smoother for everyone. I have a graduate degree in counseling from Syracuse University and received my mediation training at the Center for Mediation and Training in NYC. My mediation practice is located in Rochester, The Mediation Center Inc. I am an Accredited Member of the New York State Council on Divorce Mediation (NYSCDM) and sit on the board of directors. I am the current President of the Rochester Association of Family Mediators (RAFM), a board member of CLARA (Collaborative Law Association of the Rochester Area), and a member of the International Association of Collaborative Professionals (IACP). I am also certified by the Unified Court System of the State of New York and the Center for Dispute Settlement to conduct court-referred mediations.

People who choose the collaborative law process make this choice based on the amount of support they need in the room while they are making decisions in the areas of parenting, child support, and distribution of assets/liabilities. I am a firm believer in the collaborative law process for those couples who have decided that mediation will not provide the best process for them. They need the support of attorneys and neutral professionals in the room, working together for the good of their changing family. I want to support couples in their process choice and keep people out of court.

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Cyndy S Rochford, Esq.

As a trained collaborative attorney and mediator, I am committed to helping my clients work through the transition of their marriage or partnership with dignity and integrity, while minimizing the emotional toll on themselves and their family. In the collaborative process, each party is represented by an attorney and all parties have a common goal of reaching an agreement out-of-court. As a collaborative attorney, I can advise and guide you through the various issues of divorce: separation, parenting plans, support and asset-liability division. My goal is to provide each of my clients with a flexible process that best meets their individual needs during one of the most difficult periods in their lives.

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JoAnne Pedro-Carroll

Dr. JoAnne Pedro-Carroll is a licensed clinical psychologist with 25 years of experience working with children, adults and families. Dr. Carroll has expertise as a coach and child specialist with families in the process of a divorce. She is a clinician in private practice, former researcher at the University of Rochester’s Childrens Institute, and founder of prevention programs for children and parents dealing with family transitions. Her expertise in this area has been recognized with local and national awards, including the American Psychological Association’s Award for Distinguished Contributions to Public Service. She knows that divorce is a stressful time for families but believes, based on her research, that there are many things that parents can do to help their children thrive. She prefers to work preventively, in close collaboration with parents and other professionals, to reduce the risk of children’s long term problems and foster their resilience. She is the author of a new book , “Putting children first: Proven strategies for helping children thrive after divorce”, which won a gold medal from the National Association of Parenting Publication Awards. Her writing, clinical practice and presentations are filled with messages of hope, healing, and effective practice.

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Suzanne L. Brunsting, Esq.

As a Collaborative Lawyer and Mediator, I help divorcing clients reach good, long-lasting agreements without resorting to the courts. With guidance from caring and experienced professionals, couples can divorce intelligently and creatively, considerate of one another and of their children.

I am an experienced family law attorney having practiced in the court system for many years. Named in Best Lawyers in America from 1995 to the present, in Upstate New York SuperLawyers since 2008 and as Best Family Lawyer Mediator by the Rochester Business Journal, my current practice is limited to Collaborative Law and Mediation. I also provide consulting services for constructive conflict engagement for other professionals.

Our Rochester community has a dedicated group of family law attorneys, mental health professionals, mediators and financial specialists working together in whatever combination meets the clients’ needs. I was the first president of our Association and continue to be involved as an active member. I take part in teaching both beginning collaborative law and advanced skills, and, from 2001 to the present, have providing training across the United States and Canada.

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Connie M. Fraser

Connie is passionate about the Collaborative Law process because she has witnessed the transformation that can occur with the help and support of a professional, transparent and trusted team.  Each professional engaged in the Collaborative process works for solutions that will benefit the well being of the entire family.

Connie has over forty years of professional work experience dealing with human relationships and conflict.  I have had extensive training in the areas of communication, conflict resolution and human psychology, which has enabled me to interact positively and compassionately with divorcing couples, attorneys and other allied professionals involved in the Collaborative process; regardless of their backgrounds, core-values, life situations or experiences.  My relationship and responsibility to the team centers on promoting and mirroring effective communication coupled with empowerment, respect, and dignity.’

As a trained Facilitator and Mediator, Connie is steadfast when meeting with divorcing parents as they work with one another to craft and formulate their own unique parenting plans.  She understands the implications of a well-thought out strategy, the challenges that face parents today and the problem-solving techniques that will enable them to co-parent their children in a healthy and safe environment and as cohesively as possible moving forward.

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