Divorce is a stressful time. You are undergoing a tremendous life change that will require you to make many decisions that will shape the future of yourself and your children.
At the same time, you will be dealing with a constantly swirling mix of powerful emotions such as pain, anger, sadness, and fear.
During this time, individual therapy can be an invaluable tool to help you through the divorce process as your best self. Here’s what therapy can provide you:
3 Reasons to Seek Out Individual Therapy During Divorce
You’ll Get the Support You Need
During a divorce, one of the healthiest things you can have is a strong support system. Being able to count on friends and family that care about you is something that will help you get through difficult times. However, while your personal network can be well-intentioned, they may not provide you with everything that you need. They may tell you what they think you want to hear (“It’s all her fault!”) or propose strong positions (“You should take him to the cleaners for what he did!”) that lead you to make choices out of anger or fear and create conflict instead of resolution.
Individual therapy, on the other hand, provides an external source of support that allows you to process your experience in a healthy way. It will help you identify and work through issues so that you can make decisions that will deliver long-term benefits for you and your family. Therapy can also help prepare you for life after divorce by building your sense of self and your roles in relationships.
You’ll Get Honest Feedback
Similar to support, feedback from a neutral person is different than the feedback you receive from friends and family. This is especially true if that neutral person is a trained mental health professional. In attempting to be supportive, some friends and family will only tell you what you want to hear. A therapist can help you see situations from multiple perspectives. This can allow you to approach decision making with more flexibility.
A therapy relationship can also help you sort through the breakup of your marriage and understand your role in the ending of the relationship. While that type of feedback may be painful, it ultimately allows you to have different relationships in the future instead of repeating the same pattern of your marriage.
Tools to Help Your Family
In addition to yourself, seeking therapy during divorce also benefits your family. You will get the support you need to navigate the process in the healthiest way possible. This will free you up to support your children. Sometimes in divorce, children pick up on their parent’s distress and end up as a caretaker. When they enter a caretaking role, the child’s own ability to develop is put on the back burner. The second benefit to your children is the expertise of a therapist.
Therapists know how to protect kids during the divorce process (e.g. minimize conflict, maintain a positive relationship with both parents and don’t put kids in the middle) and can coach you to apply those techniques. Therapy can help you put those practices in place even when you are feeling angry or hurt by your spouse.
The importance of choosing professionals to assist you within the divorce process cannot be overstated. Choosing lawyers trained in alternative dispute resolution (mediation and Collaborative Divorce) and involving a mental health expert in divorce, either as a child specialist of divorce coach, can create the framework for improved communication. Adding a therapist to work with you individually can help you bring your best self to the divorce process. In the end, making decisions about your future from a more solid place will set you up for the life you want after the divorce.