Is it True That Therapy Or Counseling Makes Divorce Easier?
I think it is worthwhile to qualify what “easier” means. Specifically, I think that counseling makes divorce easier and can actually save time and money in a divorce proceeding. As many people go through a divorce, they assemble a kind of team of professionals around them – lawyers, accountants, financial planners, real estate agents and mediators. These professionals, if good, understand that divorce is an emotional experience, and that decisions in the divorce process often are made emotionally. However, these individuals do not counsel someone through their emotions, or how to control their emotions when making decisions. They simply recognize if someone is acting emotionally, and making irrational decisions because of it. However, if those going through a divorce are better able to manage their emotions BEFORE they have to make critical decisions, they are more likely to make rational decisions. This has the benefit of making the divorce process easier and less expensive, as divorce professionals often charge hourly rates and that’s where a therapist comes in.
It is worthwhile to understand what I mean by “acting emotionally” above. Emotions such as anger, sadness, grief or even greed and spite are normal during divorce proceedings. However, the degree to which we let those emotions control us, or blind us to other possibilities is the issue in this situation. It is perfectly normal to feel angry and to demand what is properly yours in a divorce proceeding. However, anger can be misplaced when the demands become too inflexible and too irrational such that they bog-down the process.
It is fully possible to be very demanding and at the same time act rationally and in control. This is the goal of therapy during the divorce process. A person is moved towards reconciling their emotions so as to have control over them (as opposed to having emotions control the person) during tough and tense negotiations. This makes the process easier and more efficient – and moreover, it ensures that people get what they want. The fact is during negotiations of any sort, people are more likely to walk away satisfied the more rational they are. The more they let anger, fear, threats, regret and other factors influence the negotiating process, the longer everything takes. The therapist will focus on having the client work-through the emotions of divorce in the safety of the therapy room and will be able to provide the client with perspective on what the client really wants from the divorce process so that the client is better able to negotiate and instruct his/her team effectively. This makes the process faster, cheaper and less stressful for everyone involved.
Brian Baumal is a psychotherapist working in Toronto, whose clients describe him as calm and reassuring. Brian has completed four years of Gestalt Psychotherapy and has been seeing a growing number of clients who are achieving the results they want.