Divorce Support Groups: The Benefits
Divorce support groups are the ideal way to heal the pain, grief and devastation that divorce leaves in its wake. You will experience different benefits one-on-one divorce coaching or divorce counseling than with support groups.
Through divorce counseling, you can move and grow through the unique dynamics of your heartache, which includes:
- The stories and meaning you give to the marriage and breakup
- Your family history and how that relates to the divorce
- How to respond to your ex in healthy ways
However, a Divorce Support Group can be instrumental for your healing and recovery in some unique and potent ways:
- Normalize the stages and experiences of divorce through structured classes
- Share your process and hear about others, which lessens the sense of isolation
- Find and learn positive ways to deal with your anger and resentment
- Soothe the loneliness that is common with divorce through community
- Obtain support from group members, which will strengthen your recovery and belief in yourself for moving your life forward
Divorce Support Group Format: Find the Right Support Group
While any divorce support group will provide the benefits listed above, the groups vary in significant ways. Listed below are questions to highlight these differences. While reading through them, consider what type of group would be most supportive of your recovery.
Is it more information and focused, or more process focused?
Do you want the safety of a classroom setting for learning tools and recovery concepts? Or, would you prefer more personal sharing and support with the other group members?
What is the duration?
Many groups have a certain number of sessions (often weekly) is a series. In some of these groups, you can join at any time in the series. With other groups, you must begin with the first class in the series. Alternately, you can usually join the groups that operate year-round at any time. While year-round groups may have rotating themes, they are often more process than learning focused.
What are the attendance expectations?
Does the group allow “drop-in,” or do you need to register? Divorce Support Groups increases emotional safety and depth by having consistent committed group members. You must weigh this benefit against the amount of freedom you need to skip some of the meetings.
What is the cost?
Is the class donation basis, cost per session, or cost for the series of classes? In general, you get what you pay for in terms of the quality of the materials and support offered. Does the class allow you to come and observe one time to determine if it’s a good fit?
Is there a religious foundation or is it non-denominational?
While many divorce support groups are hosted in churches, it does not mean the group is faith-based. To be sure, ask the group organizer if the group includes prayer or teachings from a religious perspective.
What is the teaching method?
Divorce support groups teach concepts with written materials, video, lecture or group activity, and discussion. What is your preferred learning style?
What is the experience of the facilitator?
Divorce support groups may be led by therapists, counselors, clergy, or community volunteers. How much experience do they have leading divorce support groups or helping people through grief and loss?
Finding a Divorce Support Group Near You
The availability of divorce support groups varies greatly by city, state and time of year. Groups are generally hosted by churches, therapists, or community organizations.
Divorce Care is a well-established curriculum that includes videos and other learning materials. These classes are often held in churches and run by community members who have been through the class as a participant.
Groups run by trained counselors and therapists can be found through your statewide counseling organization and by doing a search on the Psychology Today website.
Community organizations that host divorce support groups can often be found on Meetup, DivorceHQ, and by searching the 211 Directory. Some states have directories that are regularly updated to be more current, such as Oregon Divorce Support Groups.
Online Divorce Recovery Classes and Chat Groups
If you live in an area that does not have a local divorce support group, or can’t attend due to your parenting or work schedule, there are several on-line divorce recovery groups, including Divorce.SupportGroups.com, and WomansDivorce.com.
If you are looking for an online class to support your divorce recovery, several of them are listed and reviewed by Online Courses.