If you are considering psychotherapy to help you with divorce, you could be at one of a number of stages:
- you may be trying to figure out if divorce is the best path forward in your life (discernment counseling)
- you may have decided that you are divorcing but be confused and unsure how to proceed
- you may be facing difficulties in the midst of the divorce process
- you may be dealing with children and the effects on them of your divorce
- you may be in transition to being single
- you may be dating other people, or considering doing so
- you may be facing financial changes and challenges
- you may already be divorced and are encountering ongoing emotional and life difficulties.
All of these stages can be heavy with sorrow, anger, fear, guilt, shame, and confusion. There can also be feelings of freedom and of new life possibilities. The emotional impact of divorce is multi-faceted and often unpredictable. It can be a great loss, a kind of death, and therefore mourning it is necessary. On the other hand, it can be a sort of re-birth, an opening up of unforeseen potentials.
Psychotherapy for divorce provides a space free of blame and judgment where feelings can be expressed and explored. Many people feel a sense of failure when a marriage comes to an end, and it can be hard to see how to move on and make a new life. You can feel isolated as networks of friends and family are changing. In the midst of such flux and uncertainty, divorce therapy provides an anchor and is a place for figuring out the best ways forward.
Divorce therapy can take place as individual therapy or as a couple. Together we figure out which approach will be best at the present stage of your process. Some people find it helpful to combine the two approaches—for instance, working primarily in individual therapy, while occasionally holding a joint session.
When children are involved, many questions arise about how best to be caring and sensitive to their needs in the midst of your own coping process. Children vary not only according to their personalities, but also in accordance with their developmental stage. Sometimes therapy for the children of divorcing parents can be very helpful, so this is a topic often addressed in divorce therapy.
While divorce is usually traumatic emotionally, it can also be a turning point in life that offers tremendous opportunity for growth. Learning more about yourself within a partnership that did not work can shed a lot of light on what you may want and need in any future relationship.
I find that people who seek therapy for divorce often surprise themselves with their own resourcefulness for building new structures in their lives. Some uncover a resiliency within themselves that they never knew was there.
Remember that divorce is a process, not an act. If you would like to explore the possibility of divorce therapy, please feel free to call me.
Daniel Lehrman, MA, NCPsyA, LP provides Divorce Therapy in New York City, Manhattan, Brooklyn.