Why Should You See A Divorce Therapist?
Updated March 10, 2021
Medically Reviewed By: Lauren Guilbeault
- Dr. Wendy Boring-Bray, DBH, LPCC
So things didn't work out with you and your partner, and now you're struggling to get your life back on track. Maybe you were the one who wanted the divorce. Perhaps you were the one who didn't want your marriage ever to fall apart, let alone end in a divorce like it is now, but alas, the situation was thrust upon you anyway. Regardless of which side you find yourself on, getting divorced is a momentous transitional step to be taking in your life, and it's going to have a massive impact on who you feel you are as an individual once again and what your next course of action may be in regards to your future. With so much weighing on the conclusion of parting from your spouse, it is a significant life event that you will need to deal with, and a divorce therapist can help you do just that.
What Is A Divorce Therapist?
A divorce therapist is a licensed professional counselor and someone who specializes in relationships and moving on from dissolved marriages. Seeking the assistance of a divorce therapist can help you sort through the aftermath of your separation and can be of great benefit in analyzing yourself, your view of relationships and your new freedom in the world, and how to make sure you stay on track for a healthy future. They likely will sit down with you and talk about the divorce itself, but they can also talk about plenty of other things like your emotions and feelings or your plans for after the divorce is fully finalized. After all, you have a whole new opportunity for your future now that you are divorced and starting practically new, and this can be a great time to make the most of your newfound freedom and identity outside of your past marriage to another person.
Divorce therapists are primarily the type of therapists that are focused on helping you learn how to turn your life around and recover from a destructive relationship situation. If you need some outside perspective, clarity, professional help, and even a bit of motivation to assure you that you can get back on your feet and move on, these types of therapists are a fantastic and safe option for you to turn to in your time of need.
Why You Need A Divorce Therapist
Maybe you thought you'd be happy about the divorce from your partner, and maybe you are. However, there are some underlying issues that you will want to work through. In hindsight, even the best that a relationship has to offer may still be riddled with small concerns that can lead you to wonder which choices affected which factors of your lives together. At one point in time, you loved your partner dearly. Losing someone you love in any type of circumstance can be a devastating blow to your life, your perspective of the world around you, your other relationships, and your mental health in various ways. You may have never even stopped loving your spouse even after the problems arose, but certain things in your relationship just couldn't be worked out, and it was best to simply part ways before the relationship got even more damaged. You may have questions about things that you simply can't understand in regards to what went wrong or why it couldn't be overcome. Maybe you were the spouse that didn't even want the divorce at all, and now you're stuck dealing with the intense feelings of abandonment and hurt and betrayal because they left you after initially having promised to commit the rest of their lives to you, "'til death do you part." This level of heartache can cause more than enough problems for someone who truly never wished to live a life without their chosen spouse right next to them for all their days.
A professional divorce therapist is there to be able to help you work through all of these feelings and emotions so that you can move on with your life.
Your life is not over just because you've gotten a divorce, even if, to some, it may feel exactly like it is just that way. The first few weeks or months, or sometimes even years, may seem so foreign and unfamiliar that you aren't even sure what exactly to do with yourself or what steps to take next. It can be a confusing and disheartening time, but the guidance of a professional with experience in this field can significantly help you to overcome those initial fears and uncertainties and find the good in the situation.
In fact, resolving your marriage and losing those ties to another person provides you with an entirely fresh, new beginning for you and your whole future ahead of you, and a therapist can help you figure out all the ways that it's possible. Without those bindings, there is no longer anyone that you have to ask permission from before going to a new place, buying something you've always wanted, or even changing up your appearance. There is no one directly affected by your ability to choose new goals and hobbies and adventures for yourself. You've acquired a new freedom and a new lease on life, and that means you can live your life to the fullest and do all the things you may have felt like your relationship previously prevented you from doing!
Along with boosting your confidence and helping you to realize just how good the newly single life can be, your chosen therapist will help you to go through all of the emotions associated with the loss of your relationship, and sometimes what even feels like a loss of years and of time that could have been spent differently, and then they will help you to discover how to be more hopeful and excited about your future and just what it might hold. For most people who have gone through a divorce, you're going to struggle with feelings of sadness, feeling hurt, and even trying to navigate your feelings of anger at the situation, but all of those feelings won't last forever, nor should they. Some individuals may rapidly realize just how positive of an experience their divorce can be, yet others still profoundly attached to their ex-spouse will likely need more time and professional help to overcome the deep feelings of loss that are holding them down. Not a single thing is wrong with someone feeling either of these sets of emotions, but a licensed professional is always available to help people on both sides of the spectrum make their new life the best it can be.
With some outside help on the part of your therapist, you'll begin to understand the concept of your opportunity for a bright new beginning even better, and you can finally start the process of healing and moving on.
If children are involved, a therapist can also lend guidance on how to handle co-parenting, the worries of your child not being with you 24/7 after splitting from your partner (assuming joint custody has been awarded) and provide tips for dealing with all of the emotions surrounding the new family dynamic. A child having divorced parents can often be a stressful situation and one generally discussed in negative terms, but with the proper help, two estranged ex-spouses can easily cooperate in order to get along still when it comes to raising their children with as much love and positivity as possible, and without the worry of one parent trying to sabotage the child's relationship with the other parent. It may even help, outside of divorce therapy for yourself, to engage in family therapy sessions if the child is old enough to be affected by the divorce itself. Mediation with a professional can greatly help to ease their minds, as well as provide an outlet for the child to express any concerns regarding his or her parents, their relationship, and their parenting efforts apart from each other.
Finding That Therapist
If you and your partner at one point tried couples counseling or couples therapy, it might be a bit difficult for you to continue seeing the same therapist, but keep in mind that your therapist has no vested interest in either one of you over the other. Those worries aside, this specific professional maybe your best option as they will already be familiar with you, your ex-spouse, and the relationship you previously shared. This gives them far more insight into helping you cope with the aftermath of your divorce than starting the therapy process all over again with an entirely new person who has to learn all of your details and events from the beginning. Therapists are also legally obligated to not able to talk to you or your partner about what the other says once you are no longer in the same counseling session. That means that you can still feel confident and comfortable talking to your previous therapist about what you're going through even now that the relationship is over.
If you are not sure about finding a therapist, or you just don't know how to go about choosing one that works for you, there's an easy answer: ReGain is a great way for you to get out there and find a therapist that you can feel comfortable with, as well as from the comfort of your own home. Not only will you be able to choose from a range of excellent therapists available specifically for divorce counseling, but you'll also be able to do it right from your home and avoid any of the inconveniences of having to seek out a professional in-person. You won't even need to leave your house to get the therapy assistance that you're looking for, and this can greatly help you feel more comfortable opening up. The reduction of stress thanks to this accessibility in finding the help you need is only further beneficial, and this can help you feel more prepared for everything else you're going to be doing in your life now that you're starting over, free, and open to a world of possibilities.
FAQ's (Frequently Asked Questions)
Why should you see a divorce therapist, and what does a divorce therapist do?
Getting a divorce can be extremely overwhelming and bring up a lot of emotions. Therapy can help people work through severe issues. Divorce counseling can help you and your partner get through a tumultuous time. When you enter this sort of treatment, many issues may come up. If you have children, you can discuss what you will be doing regarding co-parenting in divorce therapy. It can be emotional, and you may consider doing online therapy or working with somebody in your local area, depending on how comfortable both of you are with treatment; many types of therapy work when you are going through a separation or a divorce. It depends on what your goal is. You and your partner may decide, based on that goal or goals, to seek family therapy. Divorce therapists are extremely experienced in mediating between the two partners that are separating. You may be fearful that you won't recover from your separation, but divorce recovery is possible. A marriage counselor is different from seeing a divorce therapist, in that the focus is on the separation rather than preserving your marriage. You may have already tried other things to protect your relationship, and it may ultimately come down to divorce mediation. It's okay if you need a mental health professional to mediate between you and your spouse, that's okay, divorce mediation can be a game-changer.
Do therapists recommend divorce?
When you see a couple's therapist, if you are working with somebody competent, they won't directly suggest divorce, because that is up to the couple themselves. Many issues may come up in counseling. Maybe you and your partner have issues that you tried to work out in sex therapy. Sexual compatibility can be a reason for separation. They will talk about the issues with you and your partner and recommend working with divorce therapists. You can find a therapist who understands the complicated dynamic of getting divorced by looking online or by getting a referral from your therapist. It is crucial to seek therapy when going through a separation because there are so many intense emotions coming from both sides.
What are the five stages of a divorce?
The five stages of divorce are similar to those of grieving. You may experience denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. These stages can apply to divorce because when you're getting separated from somebody that you've been with for a long time, you may struggle with the very concept of getting a divorce. You may potentially move in and out of these phrases rather than being in one phase and having it be linear or sequential. It can be challenging to accept the reality of getting divorced, but it is possible.
How do I become a divorce counselor?
Like any therapist, you will pursue a degree in the field. You may look into marriage and family counseling, you might continue being a family therapist, or you might directly look into becoming a divorce counselor. People who are good mediators are excellent divorce counselors because they understand how delicate the situation is and what's at stake.
What should I do after my divorce?
After a divorce, it's essential to focus on yourself and healing. You will go through your process of getting over what you've been through in a marriage. It may include enduring abuse or domestic violence. Alternatively, you may have had an amicable separation and are just trying to get in touch with yourself. What you can do is seek out an individual therapist, whether online or in your local area. Therapy can help you get through this time. Divorce therapists, psychologists, or counselors can help individuals understand how to recover from this traumatic event because divorce can be traumatic. It is important to remember that you have a right to heal, and it takes what it's going to take!
What is pre-divorce counseling?
Pre divorce counseling can be considered couples therapy. If you are seeing a couple's therapist, they might recommend seeing another professional discuss whether you would like to separate. Pre divorce counseling can also be considered a form of marriage and family therapy. Deciding to get divorced is not a light choice, and sometimes people do not agree; there are contested and uncontested divorces. Having pre-divorce counseling can be extremely helpful for members of a couple to look into when considering separation. No matter where you are in your relationship, therapy can be a vital part of working through issues with your partner. Whether you work with an online counselor or somebody in your local area, make sure that you seek therapy if you are struggling because you are not alone.
What do divorce counselors do?
Divorce counselors help you to navigate any concerns that arise regarding the divorce process. As stated in the article above, one thing that a divorce counselor may help you with if you have kids is working through child custody issues. They will help you to communicate with one another and separate as peacefully as possible. When you get a divorce, you might have to make hard decisions such as who keeps the house, who retains certain belongings, who houses any shared pets, and the details of how to co-parent. If you plan to co-parent and one of you wants to move to a different location, you can also discuss that. Divorce counselors are cognizant of the mental health effects that divorce can have, so they can validate and have empathy for how people feel in counseling. A divorce counselor understands the stages of divorce and has helped a multitude of couples face matters that come up both emotionally and tangibly during the divorce process. Some people feel nervous when they first seek counseling, but it can actually take an enormous weight off of your shoulders. Seeking divorce counseling helps people work through grief, decision-making issues, to understand themselves and others, and to relieve stress or confusion affiliated with a divorce.
You might seek divorce counseling in addition to divorce mediation. Divorce counseling is not the same as divorce mediation, which is a legal service. Divorce counseling and divorce mediation are both there to help you to navigate the divorce process, however. One of the things that sets divorce counseling aside from other types of therapy, such as marriage counseling or premarital counseling, is that it's designed specifically for divorce and separation. A divorce counselor is for couples who have already made the choice to divide, as is divorce mediation. If you're looking to try to prevent divorce, you'll want to seek out couples therapy or marriage counseling instead of divorce counseling and divorce mediation services. If you're having trouble communicating with each other or feel extremely negative toward your ex or soon-to-be ex-spouse, you're likely to find professional advice via divorce mediation extremely beneficial. Divorce mediation provides you with an objective third party to help you get the work affiliated with divorce done. A mediator won't try to make you like each other; they'll simply meet you where you're at and help you get the work done.
Does therapy help after divorce?
Therapy is often not just helpful but life-changing and necessary after divorce. Divorce can come with a lot of emotions, new ways of life, and stressors, and it can have an impact on your mental health. If you already struggle with mental health concerns such as anxiety depression, bipolar disorder, or eating disorders, life transitions can throw you for a loop, including divorce. You may also see an individual counselor if you struggle with family issues, self-esteem sex, and more. An individual generally goes through a lot of personal growth during the divorce process, which is exciting long-term but can be painful at the time. Therapy can also be useful for children whose parents divorce or teens whose parents divorce. There are therapists who specialize in child or adolescent issues and are well-versed in working with these age groups, which is who you'll want to look for, for child or adolescent counseling.
There are many types of therapy to consider. Different types of therapy include group therapy, individual therapy, family counseling, couples therapy divorce counseling, and more. Some mental health providers specialize in various types of therapy or therapy modalities such as cognitive behavioral therapy, trauma-informed therapy, or acceptance and commitment therapy. Different types of therapy work for different people, as do different providers, so if the first round didn't work out, don't be afraid to try therapy with a new provider or modality. When you're working to find a therapist, think about what you want. Maybe, you're looking for a counselor or your teenager, or perhaps, you're looking for someone who specializes in divorce. Knowing that will allow you to ask for or look for a specialist that's catered to your needs or the needs of a child in your care.
What should I not tell my therapist?
There's almost nothing that you shouldn't tell a therapist. Therapists have seen it all and are there to be objective to your situation, which is why divorce counseling can be so beneficial. If you find that you need mental health services for personal concerns, whether those are related to the divorce or not, you may consider individual therapy in addition to divorce counseling. An individual counselor can help you with divorce recovery and any concerns that arise during the divorce or divorce recovery process. Individual counselors generally have specialties in working with different groups, types of therapy, or conditions. If you struggle with a specific issue such as eating disorders, finding a specialist is likely your best bet. Note that seeking individual counseling doesn't mean that you can't also attend divorce counseling, support groups, family therapy, or other forms of support. You can get individual therapy divorce counseling and group counseling all at once if you want to. You will make the most progress when you're comfortable in therapy, so it's essential to find someone who understands you.
Do marriage counselors ever recommend divorce?
Marriage counselors aren't there to make your choices. Instead, they're there to support you through whatever choices you make. They won't tell a client to get a divorce, but what they will do is hold space for you if you decide to get one. You might have to deal with judgment or criticism from family members or other people in your life, but you should never have to face that when you find a therapist. Therapists are there to help you communicate, learn new coping skills, and process emotions healthily. They should help you as you come to your own conclusion, not tell you what to do. When it comes to coping with divorce, you and your ex-partner want to seek divorce counseling specifically, which is a form of counseling designated for those who have already decided to get a divorce. If you’d like to see a mental health provider as a family unit, you can also go to family therapy. Divorce counseling is generally short-term, so don’t be worried about being tied to your ex for longer than you need to be. In divorce counseling, you’ll have an objective professional to help you negate conflict and other common issues people in the divorce process face so that you can have the best post-divorce outcome.
What are the signs that you should get a divorce?
Ultimately, if you want a divorce, you want a divorce. If you need to experience life on your own or don't see a future with your spouse, that's valid. Other reasons someone might decide to get a divorce include frequent cheating, substance use, resentment, neglect, or a strained relationship that doesn't seem to see improvement with marriage counseling. If you and your spouse decide to get a divorce and have concerns related to custody, communication, or something else that relates to the split, counseling for divorce can help you separate peacefully. Counselors and therapists are well-versed in working with people while they navigate life transitions, which can be highly advantageous when coping with divorce.
What are warning signs of divorce?
When we think of relationships and divorce divorce might hold negative connotations, and while it's hard to get a divorce divorce doesn't necessarily result in negative outcomes. In fact, life can get even better after a divorce. There's no need to feel guilty about divorce divorce is the best option in some cases. Here are some signs that a divorce might be in the future:
You think about divorce often
You fantasize about divorce
You don't want to spend time together
It doesn't feel like it's worth the effort to try to save the relationship
Your needs and wants vary greatly
Repeated cheating or infidelity
Marriage counseling isn't working
If you're considering a divorce, you'll likely find yourself seeking professional advice throughout the divorce process. Some professionals blog about the warning signs of divorce divorce counseling and how to improve relationships. Online professional blogs can offer professional advice when it comes to general information about divorce divorce warning signs, divorce-related mental health concerns, parenting, psychological conditions, and more, but for professional advice or assistance with your individual circumstances, it's essential to see a mental health provider of your own.
Is life better after a divorce?
Life can certainly be better after a divorce. Even if the divorce itself is stressful or if you didn't want a divorce initially, your life can improve after the fact. Ultimately, you want to be in a relationship where both of you are equally as invested. If you're struggling with the divorce process, divorce recovery, or your personal mental health, it may be helpful to find a therapist for individual therapy. When you reach out for support, you can process negative emotions in new ways that are productive and work through any roadblocks you have so that you can establish a better life post-divorce. You can find a therapist by searching for a provider online or by checking to see what your health insurance covers. When you look for a therapist online, you can search for specific terms like "therapist find divorce counseling near me" or "therapist find dialectical behavioral therapy" to find the best fit for your concerns. Often, your insurance company will tell you who they cover over their phone or through their website. Online therapy is another option to consider. Online counseling or therapy is often more affordable than traditional in-person counseling through a private practice or therapy center that isn't covered by your insurance. Whether you see a therapist who works in a private practice setting or look for an online therapist through a company like ReGain, counseling can assist you in the divorce process and empower you to lead a life where you prosper.
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