Choosing a Divorce Support Group

When your marriage breaks up and you find yourself in uncharted emotional waters, where can you turn for help?

By Divorce Magazine
Updated: June 16, 2015
 

Family Lawyers

Family and friends can certainly provide a shoulder to lean on. Although their listening skills may be helpful to you, ultimately you'll probably want to get some advice from a professional counselor who specializes in separation and divorce; these professionals can help you ride out the tumultuous feelings you may have. Somewhere between these two options lies a third choice: a self-help group.

A self-help group can be any number of things. It can be a group of people getting together to share information. It can be a group led by a trained facilitator, or a group managed by members of the group itself. The bottom line is that a self-help group is a forum for people who have "been there" to get together, share experiences, solve problems, and share resources. Participating in a self-help group can help you regain your emotional center.

How do you find a group? A word of mouth recommendation is always a good starting place. You can ask your doctor, spiritual counselor, or social worker for their recommendation. A check through your local Yellow Pages can yield some choices.

Figuring out which is the right group for your own personal needs is another challenge. Here are some questions to ask yourself when choosing a self-help group:

  1. What are you looking for in a group? Emotional support? Information about the condition? Information about how to get the help you need? Access to services? People you can relate to?
  2. Is there a contact person from the group who can respond to your inquiries and who can send you information before you attend a meeting?
  3. Does the group have any prerequisites or requirements for attending the group?
  4. Is the meeting place accessible to you with regard to transportation or special needs (wheelchair access, interpreter)?
  5. Are you comfortable with the general makeup of the group (age, gender, religious affiliation, etc.)?
  6. Do you feel safe after a few visits?
  7. Is this group open to individual participation?
  8. Do members reach out to each other -- including you -- beyond meetings?
  9. Do meeting facilitators have sufficient skills and/or is there enough clarity in the meeting format to meet your needs?

Your immediate needs may go beyond a support group: you may need a counselor for yourself or for your children, or a chiropractor or message therapist to help ease the stress, or a financial consultant to help put you on the road to a brighter post-divorce future.

WHEN USING THE DIVORCE MAGAZINE LISTINGS...

Our listings offer a sampling of self-help organizations, programs, workshops, and support services in each state/province. Each listing provides key information about the group, along with any relevant upcoming seminars or events. Groups are listed for information purposes only and should not be viewed as having received the endorsement of Divorce Magazine. Some groups offer sliding scale fees or ask for a small donation, and some may even be free; others have fixed fees. Call them for more information.

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By Divorce Magazine| June 08, 2006

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