Going through a divorce is one of the toughest experiences a person can have. This is true even when the divorce goes rather smoothly. The reason divorce is so difficult is intimately linked to our emotions.
Love is an emotional experience. But it can be hard to maintain a relationship and over time your emotions can move from love to hate or frustration with them. This then often leads to self-doubts about ourselves. Were we not good enough people for them? Were we not good enough people for love? Do we even deserve to find love again if we’ve messed it up this time?
Dealing with questions like these is a normal, though extremely difficult, facet of going through a divorce. All of these emotions can be mixed up and confusing, especially when there was physical or mental abuse present in the marriage.
That’s why divorce counseling exists. Today we’re gonna learn what divorce counseling is, the purpose it has, and what you can expect from a divorce counselor should you decide to visit one.
What Is Divorce Counseling?
There are many different types of counseling available for a variety of different reasons. Divorce counseling is the type we use to explore, understand, recognize, and then resolve the conflicts that have arisen due to the divorce.
As a type of psychotherapy, it focuses on discussion with a trained counselor. Depending on where in the divorce process you are, you may start at a different point in counseling. For those who are just considering divorce, divorce counseling might be an option to determine if a divorce is the right choice.
A safe space is provided for individuals to discuss the challenges that they face in the relationship and their emotions, as well as their feelings about their partner as well. Your counselor will likely have some tools they can offer you to help you better manage all the emotions you are dealing with as part of the process.
Divorce counseling can be pre-divorce or post-divorce. Each presents its own issues that can be worked through and counseling can help with both.
What Is the Purpose of Divorce Counseling?
The purpose of divorce counseling, first and foremost, is to help those who are considering divorce, going through a divorce, or those who’ve just finished a divorce to better cope with their emotions during and throughout this turbulent experience.
It’s impossible to overstate how emotionally charged divorces are. Countless studies have shown that divorces bring up a range of negative emotions, even when separating from each other is the right choice to make.
The reason makes sense when you break it down. When we get married, we promise ourselves to each other until death does us part. But divorce is not death. It might be the right choice because the relationship is toxic, but it still represents a failure of the original stated goal. This can leave a lot of confusing feelings. We wonder if it was our fault or theirs. We wonder if we can ever get married again if our word, our vows, turned out not to be true.
There is an incredible amount of self-doubt involved in a divorce. This self-doubt may be mixed with anger and resentment but it is often a source of that anger and resentment rather than a separate emotional experience to it. When all sorts of emotions like these get mixed together, it can make it impossible to move forward with a divorce in a reasonable manner.
By meeting with a divorce counselor you are taking a proactive step in untangling this emotional web. As a result, you will build better tools for managing your anger, resentment, and self-doubt. These in turn can allow you to react with more calm and thoughtfulness during the divorce proceedings. Rather than just arguing and fighting because of all those pent-up emotions, you can develop the tools that allow you to deal with the situation in a healthy manner, one that allows the proceedings to move forward smoother and thus finish up quicker.
How Does Divorce Counseling Work in Practice?
Divorce counseling can be quite varied in practice. Some divorce counselors may work in a private practice while others work at a counseling center and still others only practice online. These will all function differently in the minutia, such as arriving at the practice and checking in with the receptionist or logging onto a designated website or video conferencing program.
However, the actual meetings will follow a much similar format. Your counselor will want to meet with you to get an understanding of the reasons behind the divorce. This will also allow them to get a much better sense of the situation, not just the divorce itself but where each party lies in terms of their emotions and rationalizations.
This will be done through discussion and conversation. But the conversation can actually be much broader than people expect. A divorce counselor wants more than to just help with the divorce. They want to provide you with tools and resources that will allow you to heal and grow into a stronger individual. To this end, they may teach coping skills for dealing with your emotions or offer self-care advice for individuals whose emotions make it hard for them to care for themselves. They can also help you in developing a new plan for your life now that you are going forward on your own again.
How Can I Tell If I Need Divorce Counseling?
If you are having a difficult time with the divorce then divorce counseling could help. But it may be hard to tell because everything is so stressful.
That stress is a sign that you could use counseling. Other signs include:
- Lack of appetite
- Lack of personal hygiene
- Destructive tendencies
- Depression and anxiety
- Random crying fits
- A reliance on drugs and alcohol
These are just a few of the signs. If you are going through a divorce, chances are good that you could benefit from divorce counseling. At the very least, it is worth reaching out to a divorce counselor to ask their opinion.