Not all marriages succeed. Even in hopeful situations, the union might ultimately break. And while divorce or separation might seem like a relief to some people, it can be an extremely stressful experience for others.
Separation or divorce is not always an easy decision to make. Often, there are entrenched emotions involved and several things to consider that will impact your life moving forward. That’s why you may need to seek some divorce recovery counseling to help you work through your feelings.
Some people only think about couples counseling or marriage counseling when they are trying to save a marriage. However, you also need to think about divorce counseling if you have decided to divorce or separate. You may be hearing about “divorce counseling” right now, but it’s a great tool people use to deal with the stressful life-changing events of divorce. It’s also used by recently divorced parents who are trying to co-parent effectively.
Factors That Often Lead to Divorce
- Issues with communication or constant arguments
- If there’s abuse in the marriage; physical or emotional, including abuse of drugs or alcohol
- Infidelity, which is a top reason for divorce
- Unrealistic expectations in the marriage union
- Money problems and financial disagreements
- A lack of commitment, especially if the couple married while young or getting the “wrong partner.”
- Feeling of inequality especially in regards to raising the children or house chores
What Is Separation Or Divorce Counseling?
A study by The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) asserts that one-third of all marriage break ups happen within the first five years, and about 50% of marriages end up in divorce. Divorce counseling can make sense of what looks like a catastrophe. Even in an amicable separation or divorce, the emotional, legal, and logistical issues can overwhelm any person.
Divorce recovery counseling also helps couples gain closure together. Whenever there are arguments, affairs and betrayals, they often signify deep-rooted problems, and counseling can help both of you explore them and allow a less hostile future once you split.
Divorce Counseling Can Help:
- Offer closure and perspective
- Help a couple make sense of what just happened
- Minimize the impact of the divorce on children, friends, and other family members
- Allow for change and progression to take effect
Often, divorce counseling is based upon the foundation that the marriage is at a stage where it cannot be repaired. Therefore, it allows couples to look at their relationship without the pressure of trying to fix it. It’s easier for honesty and openness to thrive in such an environment, thus eliminating any anger or blame.
Coping With Divorce and Separation
Allow Yourself Some Time Off
Give yourself some time off by working and feeling at a less than optimal level for a while. During this period, you may not be as productive in your work duties or even in caring for your loved ones. This is the time to give yourself a break to heal and re-energize.
You May Have a Mixture of Feelings
It’s normal to feel frustrated, angry, sad, ashamed, frustrated, and even tired at the same time. And most often, these feelings are intense. However, these feelings reduce over time.
Work With Someone
Do not allow yourself to deal with this situation alone. Sharing what you feel with your friends and family can help you during this difficult period. Isolation is never a proper remedy as it increases your stress levels, affecting your performance in school, work, etc. You can also find support groups with people in a similar situation where you can share your feelings.
Divorce Counseling Vs. Marriage Counseling
Unlike divorce counseling, the goal of marriage counseling or couples counseling is to address marriage problems to improve the relationship. In a marriage counseling setting, family therapists and relationship experts teach couples how to communicate effectively and empower their conflict resolution skills so that small disagreements don’t become catastrophic.
In divorce counseling, partners are only seeking a way to improve their relationship even as they try and find a way towards a fulfilling post-divorce life. A divorce counselor’s job is to make you understand why your relationship failed and guide you so that these mistakes don’t recur in your future relationships.
Pre Divorce Counseling
Divorce counseling can sometimes occur in two phases, i.e., pre-divorce and post-divorce counseling. A pre-divorce counselor can help you civilly behave and understand the financial, physical, emotional, and legalities involved in a divorce. Other than this, this counselor can help you decide if you really want a divorce or your marriage can actually be salvaged.
Pre divorce is beneficial for couples with children. With kids involved, it’s crucial to maintain a healthy divorce. Your pre-divorce counselor will help you decide how and when to tell your kids about the divorce in ways that will reduce any potential traumatic effects.
In a pre-divorce counseling session, you will also work out any conflicting or confusing emotions related to divorce. You will also learn about different coping mechanisms to implement in stressful events.
Post Divorce Counseling
Post-divorce recovery counseling can also be used in addition to pre-divorce counseling. This type of divorce counseling often deals with the aftermath of a divorce. A post-divorce counselor will use different techniques to boost your self-esteem and accept what just happened so that you can go on with your life.
If ex-spouses have been struggling to communicate, and perhaps this has impacted how they co-parent, they can find a safe space in the presence of a counselor where they can talk and discuss. Such a process improves communication between ex-spouses, make them interact more civilly, and be better co-parents.
For people who have been married for a long time, it can be challenging for them to discover who they are outside the marriage. And this is the work of a divorce counselor – to help you figure out your identity after the divorce is finalized.
Do I Need Divorce Counseling?
Most people get through their divorce without any help, even with the pain and uncertainty that characterizes it. However, some people are overcome by emotion and this event cripples them. For the sake of your own self-care, divorce recovery counseling becomes helpful. Another sign you might need divorce counseling is when you have challenges with co-parenting.
If you are going through a divorce and sadness is overwhelming, you might need to find a divorce counselor. More specifically, there are signs you might need professional help. These symptoms may range from mild to severe, even though everybody is unique. Signs you may need a divorce counselor include:
- An uncontrollable anger
- Feelings of unworthiness
- Sudden weight loss or weight gain
- Anxiety or excessive worry
- Sleeping problems
- Strong or limited emotions
- Isolation and social withdrawal
- Suicidal thoughts
- A sense of self-loathing
- Loss of appetite
- Loss of interest in activities you liked
When to Seek a Divorce Counselor?
There’s no right or wrong time to seek divorce counseling. Discussing your feelings and what just happened will only benefit your well being. Most couples will seek professional divorce counseling when:
- Communication has totally broken down
- An affair has occurred
- Life has changed leaving one spouse feeling excluded
- The two of you feel you cannot continue leaving together
- Bitterness and despair have increased
What Are The Benefits of Divorce Counseling?
Divorce counseling has several benefits. Nonetheless, the first step is to give yourself time to grieve your loss of companionship, support, and a future in the marriage. When used alongside support groups, friends, and family, divorce counseling can be extremely beneficial.
A divorce counselor can:
- Help you understand why your relationship ended and how you can prevent such a situation from repeating itself in future
- Help you through the various emotional stages of divorce
- Provides an avenue for the family to get counseling and support
- Teach you divorce coping strategies
If you need divorce recovery counseling, find a divorce counselor who can support you and who’s best for kids too. One way to find a qualified divorce counselor is to find one who has undergone specialist training and belongs to a relevant professional body. Most traditional couples’ counselors operate under religious frameworks, so you need to find one who fits your own beliefs and what you need.