Many couples seek marriage counseling in effort to improve a troubled relationship and prevent a divorce. As experts in relationships, marriage and family therapists can help couples improve their communication and conflict resolution skills. However, if divorce is the inevitable outcome, there are pre- and post-divorce counseling strategies that can help you and your partner navigate through the painful process.
Pre-Divorce Counseling: The involvement of a divorce counselor prior to divorce can help both parties learn to communicate effectively and civilly during the process. In the event there are children in the family, a civil, healthy divorce is imperative. Pre-divorce counseling can assist with parenting issues related to divorce and provide a forum for how to best tell your children about your impending divorce.
Post-Divorce Counseling: No matter the reason, the break-up of a long-term, committed relationship can disrupt your world as well as trigger some profound emotions of sadness, stress and grief. Life after divorce can feel overwhelming, and for many the uncertainty about the future can sometimes seem worse than the unhappy relationship itself.
Divorce recovery is a grieving process with stages and steps that need to be acknowledged. It is important you allow yourself time to fully grieve the loss of the relationship, the companionship, the support, and any future plans you had together. This process is not meant to be accomplished alone – friends, family, support groups or a professional divorce counselor are important in the divorce recovery process. Specifically, a divorce counselor can:
- Help you understand the stages of loss and grief
- Teach you the necessary coping skills to deal with the emotional pain of divorce
- Provide a forum for the entire family to receive counseling and support
- Relationship coaching to help you understand the reason the relationship failed and prevent future relationship problems
Every day the pain will subside a little and emotionally you will start to move on. However, if you don’t feel any progress, you could be suffering from a more serious mental disorder such as depression and may need help from a therapist or psychologist.
Like marriage, divorce is one of life’s toughest transitions. Despite its prevalence, divorce is extremely painful for all members of the family. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, almost half of all marriages end in divorce, and one-third of all breakups occur within the first five years of marriage – the time when most couples start families. Divorce is a highly stressful and life changing event. The sheer volume of legal, emotional and logistical issues that need to be addressed can be monumental. In addition, the idea of creating an entirely new life for yourself can feel paralyzing.
However, it is important to realize that things do get better with time and there are professional divorce counselors that provide valuable advice and support through this process. Learn more about how to resume a fulfilling and successful life after divorce, minimize the impact of your divorce on any children you may have, and better understand where the relationship failed so you don’t make the same mistakes again.