How Divorce Counseling Can Make The Process Easier

Medically reviewed by Nikki Ciletti, M.Ed, LPC
Updated March 29, 2024by Regain Editorial Team

Marriage counseling isn't just for when you want to stay together or for the steps to prevent divorce. For those seeking to make the transition through divorce more smoothly, divorce counseling  can serve as an effective service. 

Sometimes it's beneficial to go through counseling even if one or both partners would like to end the marriage Divorce counseling allows both of you to make sure divorce is the right answer to your marital problems, as well as helping you learn to make it through the divorce process with as little conflict as possible. Divorce can be an extremely stressful time, but you can face it with maturity, knowing you're making the right choice for you and your former partner.

Divorce counseling goes by many names, including discernment counseling, pre-divorce therapy, and marital counseling. Through these different types of counseling, couples can get help through the entire process, from the decision to divorce post-marriage counseling. Let’s take a deeper look at discernment counseling, the benefits and drawbacks of discernment counseling, and the process of discernment counseling.

Types of divorce counseling

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There are two primary types of divorce counseling. There is pre-divorce counseling for helping you navigate the divorce process and all the emotions that go along with it, and there is post-divorce counseling, which is individual therapy that allows you to cope with the recent changes to your life.

Pre-divorce counseling helps you and your soon-to-be ex-spouse learn to talk to each other civilly despite the differences, disagreements, or hurts that may have led to a divorce. This type of counseling is especially useful for couples with children. Divorce itself may not be the primary cause of trauma to kids with divorced parents, but parents who disrespect each other openly can be quite damaging to their children. After all, no matter what you and your ex-spouse think of each other, your kids most likely love both of you and consider each of you to be a part of themselves. So, pre-divorce therapy is a tool which, when applied properly can benefit not only you and your ex-spouse, but your children as well; discernment counseling is beneficial to the entire family.

Post-divorce counseling can cover a variety of areas in your life, not just the way you now relate to your former spouse. For those without children, you may be able to choose not to interact with your ex-partner, starting a completely new life without them. But if you and your ex have children together, then like it or not, you probably will have to learn to continue to interact with them for the foreseeable future.

That being said, post-divorce counseling is more about getting your own new life together. It may cover coping with other people's new perspectives of you after divorcing and dealing with possible criticism from friends and family. It may cover the new financial stressors or housing difficulties you may experience as you transition to taking care of your finances separate from your former spouse. Post-divorce counseling can help you to cope with any number of feelings or issues that come up after your divorce.

Different methods of divorce counseling

Just like most therapy and counseling, there are several different methods and approaches that a counselor or therapist may use throughout the course of discernment counseling. So, for discernment counseling, you should use some counseling discernment! Here, we’ll look at some of the common methods and options that are offered for discernment counseling.

One option for discernment counseling is the traditional, face to face therapy method. This means that you and your soon to be ex-spouse sit down together in the therapist’s office and go through the treatment and discernment counseling together. Usually, couples do one or two sessions of marital counseling per week, with each session lasting 45 minutes to an hour. This is a great option for pre divorce therapy or discernment counseling if you’re looking for the feeling of a safe space where you and your partner can meet with the therapist together. 

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Another option is online marriage counseling. Just like in the traditional, face to face counseling couples therapy, online marital counseling involves meeting with the therapist and going through the couples counseling together. However, unlike the more traditional model of discernment counseling, this happens online. That means that you’ll use a video conferencing tool to do the marriage counseling. Online marital counseling is great for couples who are separated and living far away from each other at the moment, or who have busy schedules. This is because you don’t have to travel to the therapist’s office to do the couples counseling. The couples counseling comes to you with online marriage counseling!

Finally, you can also explore the option of couples therapy retreats. With this treatment set-up, you and your spouse go to a center where you’re relatively shut off from your daily life. In some places, they even go as far as to prohibit cell phone or internet use during couples or divorce counseling! Therapists spend time counseling couples for a portion of the day, and then the couples have other structured activities throughout the day. These activities might be focused on rebuilding trust or rekindling a romantic flame. For that reason, couples counseling retreats are better for counseling couples who haven’t yet fully decided to get a divorce. This kind of discernment counseling is geared towards potentially saving the marriage with more intense intervention. 

In summary, before you decide on one type of discernment counseling for your divorce process, be sure to check out all of your options. Talk through these options for discernment counseling with your spouse, and try to come to a decision together. In the end, discernment counseling can be one of the best things that you do for yourself and your spouse, even when your marriage ends in divorce.

Benefits of divorce counseling

Even if you are the one who initiated the divorce, ending a long-term relationship can be difficult. You may experience feelings of grief, even if you know your ex-spouse was not right for you. Counseling will help you to move forward instead of getting stuck. A divorce counselor can help you see the benefits of your new lifestyle. Here are some of the key ways that discernment counseling can help you move on from a marriage divorce.

Understanding why the marriage didn't last

Divorce counseling may help you to understand why the marriage didn't work out. This can help you to find a sense of peace and closure with. In the end, your counselor's job is to help you, regardless of your decision to end your marriage, stay single after, or enter another relationship in the future.

The failure of a marriage is rarely the fault of just one person, but understanding the reasons for the marriage ending makes a difference in working through the transition into divorce more healthily. It can help you learn how to grow and improve as an individual. Furthermore, you can use your previous marriage as a learning experience of what to and not do as you enter future relationships. You probably thought that marriage counseling can save a marriage, but it also turns out that discernment counseling is also a great method to pave the way for your future relationships. As human beings, if we do not learn from our past mistakes, we are more likely to repeat them. This is why divorce counseling can be so beneficial.

General life management

Divorce can be tough. Many individuals believe they can manage such a drastic life change on their own, but it may quickly take its toll. As you go through the process of divorce, you will still need to manage your work life, your other relationships, and additional aspects of your life. This can be a lot for one person to handle alone; for this reason, having a counselor to provide professional guidance which is specifically tailored to your situation can aid you through this period of your life. Discernment counseling can help you move forward with healthy habits and useful tools that will translate to areas of your life outside your divorce. In this way, you’ll be able to move on better prepared and more confident!

Maintaining emotional and mental health

Whenever you find yourself in a situation where you are splitting from someone who you once planned to spend the rest of your life with, it's normal to feel a wide range of emotions. These emotions can include shame, disappointment, anger, resentment, guilt, and so much more. If these feelings aren't properly managed and dealt with, they can take a toll on your emotional and mental well-being.

You may think that you can easily navigate these emotions on your own, but having a counselor in your corner can make a difference. Remember, a divorce counselor specializes in helping people deal with what you're going through and can provide useful insight. When you're going through the process of divorce, you want to be sure not to overwhelm yourself or take on more than you can deal with. This is why having outside help and a professional support system can make a positive difference.

Your children during the divorce process

Divorce is a challenging time for most anyone, especially children. When married couples are in the process of splitting up, they can become so wrapped up in their own lives and situations that they may sometimes forget to consider how divorce impacts their kids. One of the most important roles that discernment counseling plays is not for you or your spouse; it’s for the couple’s children. It's not uncommon for kids to take things to heart and believe that they're responsible for their parents breaking up. This is yet another area where a divorce counselor can serve as a guide.

One of the amazing things about divorce counselors is the fact that this is their lane. This means they have the professional knowledge and experience to help divorce parents as well as their kids work through the difficult process. Sometimes, it can be helpful for children with divorcing parents to go through their own therapy. This means that the child will also be working with a therapist while you and your spouse are in couples’ counseling or divorce therapy. Working with a professional can allow kids to express themselves and understand enough about what's happening to know that they are not at fault.

Being sure that you truly want to get divorced

Not every couple goes through with a divorce. In many cases, spouses may find that they can work through whatever issues they're facing without splitting up. Granted, this doesn't work for every couple, and there are times when divorce is the best solution for all parties involved. Nevertheless, seeing a divorce counselor can ensure that both you and your partner are confident that divorce is the right choice for your lives. No matter how things turn out, being comfortable with the decisions that are made and knowing that you both made the right call matters.

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Online divorce counseling

With Regain, our focus is on providing counseling for relationships, including those going through divorce. Our online platform allows for sessions to take place during or outside of traditional work hours, and they can be held via video chat, phone call, or instant messaging anywhere you have an internet connection and feel most comfortable. 

A 2017 study explored how the internet has influenced couples, including in terms of utilizing online therapy. They found that online divorce therapy is cost-effective, with less conflict than in-person divorce mediation, and 76% of those who partook in the study rated online divorce mediation and therapy as being effective and helped them and their ex-partner to reach an “acceptable agreement.”

Counselor reviews

If you’d like to give online therapy a try or are curious to learn more, feel free to contact us or fill out a quick questionnaire to get started whenever you’re ready. Below are some therapist reviews from individuals experiencing issues similar to those discussed in this article.

“Christina was very helpful when I told her I left my spouse. I wasn't sure what I wanted, a divorce or reconciliation. She helped me start processing where I was, where I see myself, what I want, to how I see myself obtaining these goals. She did not influence any of my decisions but guided me with thought-provoking questions. Throughout our short sessions, she continued to reassure me that she, or someone else, would always be there for me. Thank you Christina for your professionalism, your guidance, and your compassion to help others. I look forward to continuing my therapy sessions with you, as my goals are not yet met.”

“Dr. Anstadt is amazing. I appreciate him always reaching out to make sure things are going smoothly in between our sessions. He follows up and genuinely cares about my situation. I would recommend Dr. Anstadt to anyone who is seeking insight on coparenting and new relationships after divorce. Thank you for everything!”


Divorce counseling can help ensure that those involved have a peaceful and manageable transition through this process. However, even with the help and guidance of a counselor, there will still be tough times that you have to manage and get through. Remembering the feedback and advice from your counselor can be very helpful, and so can trusting yourself and realizing that there is light at the end of this tunnel. In the end, discernment counseling or pre-divorce therapy can be a huge boon to both you and your spouse, even though you’re both going through a tumultuous time in your relationship and in your lives in general. 

Relationship differences happen for a reason. Sometimes the people we marry are not the ones we end up with or spend the rest of our lives with. No matter what led up to the divorce, regardless of how difficult or trying this process may be, remembering what you learned from the partnership and how it helped you grow as an individual are great ways of remaining positive.

No matter how dark or scary things may seem, you will get through this. Sometimes, when we're going through tough times, it can be easy to question whether we will truly make it; this is common. However, you can make it through this divorce, and therapy can aid in the transition.

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