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Therapy and Counseling For Divorce
Divorce can be crippling and overwhelming as in essence it connects to a loss. In life, we experience loss in many forms. The loss of a loved one. The loss of a job. And in this case, the divorce.
Some relationships reach a necessary ending, and this doesn’t always have to be negative. I want you to think about a rose bush. At some point, you will have to clip the end so that a positive change can take place. This is a form of a necessary ending. A supportive read on necessary endings in relationships can be found here.
Working with a divorce counselor gives you a space to address emotional challenges, build healthy coping skills, navigate the logistics of divorce such as money or child custody, improve self-care practices, and more.
Hi, my name is Kate and I am a counselor with Santos Counseling. I would love to support you in your journey of healing and recovery.
Reach out to our office today for a free 15-minute consultation.
Finding a good divorce counselor is important and something that you should carefully consider. This person will have a close relationship with you. You can use this as an opportunity to ask questions and evaluate if it’s a good fit.
Working with a counselor during the divorce helps you understand and navigate the process in a healthy way. Your counselor can provide education on the emotional stages of divorce.
What are the emotional stages of a divorce?
The stages of divorce resemble those that take place during the grief process. The early stages, such as that of denial and anger often connect to a stronger level of impact on a person’s life. While the later stages create a sense of freedom and openness.
Working with a counselor can help you navigate the emotional stages of divorce.
What emotional stage of divorce are you in?
Divorce emotional stage of Denial:
The stage of denial in divorce is connected to the struggle with accepting the reality of what is taking place. You may find it difficult in this stage to accept that the relationship has ended and that some things are not going to be solved.
This stage of divorce can cause a person to experience highs and lows. Days that you may not want to get out of bed. Nights that you cannot get restful sleep. It’s common in this stage to shift the denial to a mindset that you can save the marriage or work to get back with your partner. Guilt and shame are often seen in the stages of divorce. CLICK HERE to read more about shame and guilt after a divorce.
- One common phrase found in this stage of divorce is “this is not happening to me.”
Divorce emotional stage of anger
During this stage, you may find yourself consumed with anger. Anger shows up in varying forms.
You may notice that your anger shows up internationally and externally. This can take place with anger internally being something that hurts you. Such as, attacking yourself for what is taking place in life. Anger can take place as a projection. This can be seen when you try to interact with others or your ex-partner and find yourself lashing out or struggling to find calmness.
- One common phrase found in this stage of divorce is “Why me, this is not fair. I didn’t deserve this.”
Divorce emotional stage of bargaining
In this stage of divorce, you find yourself feeling holding on to strings that previously connected the fabric of the marriage. You think to yourself you can save the marriage as long as certain things take place. You find yourself losing connection to your core values or your sense of integrity. For instance, you may contemplate working the marriage out by being okay with abuse or neglecting your feelings.
It’s important in this stage to remain connected to your autonomy, values, and purpose in life. Versus losing connection to reality.
- One common phrase found in this stage of divorce is “maybe they will change If I go.”
Divorce emotional stage of depression
Depression in the stages of divorce shows up in a way that can make a person feel overwhelmed, stressed, not sleeping well, and difficulty practicing self-care.
In this stage of divorce, you’ll find yourself with low energy and at times not wanting to face the day-to-day tasks.
- One common phrase found in this stage of divorce is “how could this be happening. I feel so stuck and lost. I wish that I wasn’t here.”
Divorce emotional stage of acceptance
The final stage of the emotional stages of divorce is acceptance. It is the key stage that we are working to reach.
In this stage, a person feels that the negative or bad emotional and physical symptoms have lessened. You feel strong, empowered, and with clarity in your life.
You are able to reflect on your divorce as a stepping stone in life versus the destruction of your life.
You can breathe deeply and move forward in your life. In addition to the stages of divorce found above, there are two key areas that often impact individuals during the divorce process and can linger afterward. They include shame and blame.
- One common phrase found in this stage of divorce is “I accept that this is my life and my reality. I’m going to make the best out of it.”
Below is a supportive video on resetting emotions. Use the tools as you move forward in life after a divorce.
Common people divorce therapy can support:
- Individuals who are divorced and are struggling to create a new life.
- You feel lost in this new space and life phase.
- Struggling with emotions, such as anger or sadness.
- Ex-partners that want help with co-parenting.
- Individuals that want help with navigating tension-related topics.
- You feel unhappy and are struggling to get your life together.
- You are struggling to start new relationships.
- Persistent depression.
- Difficulty taking on daily tasks due to feeling internal pressure from the divorce.
What led to the divorce?
As you explore this question, you’ll notice that some clarity will come out and hold the answer to the necessary ending. For some, this can be seen as years of high conflict or abuse taking place in the relationship.
Divorce counseling is for anyone that feels it is a right fit for them. Our office welcomes initial consultations. It’s completely free. You spend 15 minutes speaking with a therapist to identify your goals, what brought you to seek divorce counseling, and the challenges that are taking place.
There are ample reasons why people get divorced.
Divorce does not mean that you failed or are a failure.
I like to share with those in the divorce process that you do not have to fit into a box. This is your life and you get to decide how you want to live it.
Below are common reasons why people seek divorce counseling:
- The desire for support focused on how divorce and separation impact kids.
- You notice that you are struggling to communicate effectively with your ex-partner.
- A struggle to talk about topics such as kids, custody, finance, and other important topics relevant to separation and divorce.
- Support with building empowerment and strength with divorce.
Divorce counseling is for those that have questions or desire support with navigating divorce conversations or situations. A common one is finances/money. You may find that the topic is challenging and one that reaches points of conflict or a lack of communication.
Below is a case study to help you clearly identify why someone would seek divorce counseling:
Thomas reached out for divorce counseling due to struggling to communicate with his ex-partner on the logistics of divorce. He shared that he would send emails and texts to his ex-partner only to be ignored. When he would meet up with her to talk about areas like custody, money, and dividing items the interaction would turn into a fight. Both yelling at each other or completely ignoring the other in front of the kids. Thomas expressed to the counselor that when he is around his ex-partner, he feels uncomfortable and anxious. He always feels that it’s going to be an argument.
In the case example above, you are able to pinpoint the key reason that Thomas started divorce counseling.
Reasons you may benefit from divorce counseling:
- Learning how to cope with divorce.
- Creating a support system.
- Starting over after a divorce.
- Addressing emotional and logistical challenges and pain.
- Working through complex emotions.
- Learning to communicate effectively.
How to prepare for a divorce counseling session?
- Are you ready to start divorce counseling?
Reach out to our office at 336-663-6570 or email [email protected] to get started with divorce therapy. Counselors at Santos Counseling PLLC offer 15-min free consultation giving you time to ask questions before the first counseling session.
For your first divorce counseling session plan to spend a period of the session completing intake documents. The initial documents go over the process of divorce counseling, symptoms that you are feeling, medical history, family mental health history, and practice policies.
After completing the intake documents, you start the clinical work with the counselor. During the first divorce therapy counseling session. The counselor works with you to build a therapy treatment plan.
The treatment plan is created by the counselor to work as a guide that is used during the process of divorce counseling. The treatment plan has the goals of therapy, objectives to meet, potential diagnoses, and present concerns that you are experiencing.
Please know that counseling with Santos Counseling PLLC is a safe space that provides you with compassion, guidance, and support.
How often to attend divorce counseling sessions?
The number of divorce counseling sessions depends on a few key areas. One of them is the goals that you have in mind. Another key area is the commitment connected to the counseling sessions.
- Counseling can be a wonderful experience, giving you space to navigate life challenges while understanding how to grow into your best version.
- Counseling can also be a space that challenges you and nudges you to go beyond your comfort zone so that you are able to achieve the goals that you have in mind.
Another key area that connects to the number of counseling sessions is the style of therapy. Some of our therapists may decide to focus on a brief style of therapy due to the goals that you have. While other forms of therapy may carry across numerous sessions.
On average, you may work with your counselor for 5 to 10 sessions.
Can divorce therapy replace going to court?
Divorce counseling is a resource that you can use to help navigate many of the steps that take place in court.
Some of our clients work with their attorneys in pursuing child custody while also engaging in divorce counseling. This gives you space to learn how to communicate effectively with your ex-partner on the topic of custody.
Common reasons that people during a divorce seek divorce therapy while pursuing court:
- You want support with learning how to build boundaries with your ex-partner.
- You are not sure how to talk to your child about divorce.
- You want to learn how to protect your child from the negatives of a chaotic custody battle.
- You are feeling overwhelmed and are struggling to maintain healthy lifestyle and self-care practices.
- You want to learn how to navigate divorce in a healthy way.
- You want to learn how to communicate effectively in court.
Below is a case example of a client that pursued divorce therapy while in divorce court:
Travis reached started working with a divorce counselor because he felt completely lost in the court during the divorce proceedings. Travis shared with the divorce counselor that he had no idea how to prepare for court, what to ask for when it came to the divorce, and wanted help with speaking to his ex-partner. Travis expressed to the divorce therapist that he noticed his mood would become easily irritable when around his ex-partner. He didn’t want this to hurt him while in court. Working with the divorce counselor provided Travis with effective communication skills such as that using “I” statement, assertive communication, and building healthy boundaries. Travis learned how to prepare for his court hearings and ways to manage his personal anxiety and stress.
Who divorce counseling is for:
The process of divorce is stressful, crippling, and can feel overly consuming. You may wake up thinking about it and struggle to go to bed because of the late-night anxiety thoughts connected to it. CLICK HERE to learn are about how divorce counseling can help.
Navigating a divorce can be painful and feel like a very unfamiliar space. Most do not have prior experience with it and are approaching the process is no prior knowledge.
Divorce counseling can help teach you how to treat yourself with kindness and love while opening opportunities to learn how to communicate with your ex-partner in a healthy and constructive way.
There is no perfect fit for who divorce counseling is for. Our counselors have worked with people that have sought divorce counseling. Seeking a divorce counselor can give you space to practice self-care, connect to your values and purpose of life, develop healthy coping skills, and much more. CLICK HERE to learn more about what divorce counseling is.
Do I need divorce counseling?
The magic question is, do I need to do divorce counseling?
As you reflect on this question, take a moment to look inward. Explore why you are here and read over this material.
The answer to knowing if you need divorce counseling has a lot to do with what you are going through, the challenges you are experiencing, and the goals that you would like to reach.
Start Divorce Counseling Today
Working with a divorce therapist can help in the following ways:
- Create healthy coping skills.
- Heal from past trauma and emotional challenges.
- Find clarity and peace in your life.
- Build empowerment and authenticity.
- Address the difficulties that you are experiencing.
- Have a supportive and constructive space.
Ways counseling can help you recover post-divorce:
Working directly with a divorce counselor near you can be a great start to beginning the healing and recovery process. Together with your therapist, you can focus on the stages of divorce, address challenges, and build your life in a healthy constructive manner.
Divorce counseling can teach you how to practice self-care
- What are your self-care practices?
- When you are not feeling well what do you do?
- When you want to go from feeling stuck to experiencing calmness what is your course of action?
There are many forms of self-care practices that can help during the divorce process. Working with a divorce therapist can give you space to learn practices that include the below items.
Ways to practice self-care:
- Deep breathing.
- Journal writing.
- Using affirmations.
- Positive talk.
Divorce counseling can teach you about mindfulness
The practice of mindfulness is easy to comprehend and can be challenging to carry out. Mindfulness is the act of slowing down and paying attention to what is in front of you.
If you are watching television, mindfulness is shifting from all distractions to solely focusing on the television. This means that you are not on your phone, thinking about random things, or multi-tasking in any way.
This practice helps a person understand how they are feeling and their emotional state. Below is one mindfulness practice that you can start to help with the divorce process. This practice is also one that your divorce counselor can provide further support in:
Start by sitting down. Have your feet on the ground and posture with your back to the chair. Begin by trying to expand your toes fully and then contract them. Do this three times. Then move to your hands. Open them and close them fully.
Each time that you expand an area, try to focus on what it feels like. Focus on the sensations. Look for what feels good and what you find challenging. Do this for your toes and your hands.
The mindful sitting exercise aims to do the following:
- Help you slow down.
- Remove distractions.
- Give your brain a break.
- Stabilize your heart rate.
- Improve your attention to focus on yourself.
- Help you feel better because you are focusing on yourself.
For a supportive resource on mental health awareness that can go along with this reading, check out the podcast episode here.
Learn how to build healthy boundaries in divorce counseling
Boundaries help us feel whole and protect us from negative settings or persons. A common boundary is saying no or choosing when to answer the phone. O
One common boundary that is often discussed in divorce counseling is the pressure felt when your ex-partner contacts you. This pressure may make you feel that you need to drop everything to answer the phone.
Working with a divorce therapist can give you space to learn how to implement a healthy boundary. In this case, how to give yourself empowerment so that you become the person to choose when you want to answer the text or the phone call.
A small shift like this can create immense change in your life. You’ll notice that when you implement boundaries your level of self-care, autonomy, and self-love will increase. You will have less stress and experience less emotional pressure.
Boundaries help us understand what we need to let in our lives and what we need to close the door to.
Remember, your life grows when you acknowledge that you control the opening and closing of the door.
One key item is acknowledging that a boundary is what you set for yourself and not for others. For instance, if you are wanting space from others because you feel that your space is being violated in some way.
You can share “I need to create a system in my life focused on giving myself more breaks.”
“You need to respect my boundary and stop bothering me.”
When you start with “I”, there is a direct focus on accountability. Setting boundaries requires that we hold ourselves responsible for creating it.
Types of boundaries that you can develop when working with a divorce counselor:
- Physical boundary
- Professional boundary
- Intellectual boundary
- Relationship boundary
- Material boundary
- Boundaries for managing time
- Sexual boundaries
Check out the video below focused on building boundaries and breaking approval-seeking habits:
Working with a divorce counselor can teach you how to build healthy relationships.
After the divorce, you may notice that building new relationships is challenging. This can be due to what took place in the relationship and the separation. This can also be connected to past relationships.
When building relationships, it is important to know the difference between green and red flags so that you are surrounding yourself with more positives versus negatives.
The greed and red flags are pertinent to all relationships, not just intimate relationships.
Developing green flags is a beautiful and transformational way to ensure that you are in a healthy relationship.
In addition, green flags in relationships focus on what you deserve.
- You deserve to be loved.
- You deserved to be around people that support you.
- You deserve to have the life that you desire.
When you take time to develop awareness for green flags, you’ll shift to building relationships with people that highlight positive character, morals, are supportive, and hold other positive qualities.
Common green flags in relationships include:
- The relationship is mutually supportive.
- Space to be yourself.
- Acknowledgment of not having to be everything for each other.
- You are challenged in a positive way.
- Able to show up authentically.
- Not a transaction-related relationship.
Common red flags in relationships:
- Unwilling to receive constructive feedback.
- Walking on eggshells.
- Unable to be your authentic self.
An additional red flag is connected to insecurities. For a supportive resource on insecurities click here.
I hope that you found this resource on divorce counseling helpful. If you would like to start divorce counseling or have questions about what divorce counseling is please call our counseling office at 336-663-6570 or email [email protected] or click here to self-schedule using the online portal.