When people think of couples counseling they often imagine people who are trying to salvage their relationship, whether it be a marriage or romantic partnership. But, those who are making the choice to divorce can attend therapy for divorce counseling too. Many couples who are parting ways may use this resource to help them transition to a new way of life and to reduce resentments as the divorce proceeding moves forward. Divorce counseling can also be a resource for families who need help arranging a co-parenting schedule after the divorce is finalized.
Normal Emotions to Anticipate During Divorce
Your therapist can help you and your spouse work through difficult emotions as the divorce proceeds. For many people, divorce feels like a death of a loved one that is accompanied by profound grief. As with other types of losses, people usually move through various emotional stages in regards to divorce. Normal emotions and stages to anticipate during divorce that can be talked about in therapy include:
- Denial: Initially, you may struggle with accepting the current situation. You may not accept that the divorce is really happening, and that things will work out in the end.
- Uncertainty: After working through the denial stage, increased pain and sadness may result. Now, you are grieving the loss of the relationship and are uncertain about what your future will look like. Feelings of anxiety, fear, and apprehension are normal.
- Anger and Resentment: Combining feelings of sadness and fear can quickly turn into anger. You may have resentment and bitterness towards your ex and other people in your life. It is important to recognize that during this stage you may say things or make choices that hurt you and those you care about. It’s best to talk these feelings over with your divorce counseling therapist.
- Bargaining: You may arrive at an emotional state where you want to change the current situation. You may have regrets and attempt to bargain with your ex to amend the divorce. Bargaining may not be successful.
- Depression: If you try to make things work out with your ex and it isn’t successful, you may surge into a depression, blaming yourself for what is happening. You may view your mistakes as the sole reason the relationship isn’t continuing, resulting in deep sadness and depression. It’s healthy to talk with your therapist about these emotions, especially since this stage can turn into problematic if the depression impairs your daily functioning.
- Acceptance: Eventually, you will acknowledge that the marriage is really ending. And, that while you may have sadness you are more ready to move on to the next chapter of your life.
The biggest takeaway from divorce counseling is that being open about your feelings and the stages you are going through can help you reach a healthy place afterwards. At some point in the future if you do decide to pursue love again, attending therapy with an experienced therapist, like a therapist in Palatine, IL from Lotus Wellness Center, will have helped you heal so you can view your future relationships in a fresh light.