Going through a divorce can be life altering experience for the whole family. It is probably one of the most difficult time anyone can experience during their lifetime.
Despite this, many fail to consider the benefits which counseling could bring to their healing process. Speaking to a therapist during your divorce could make a significant difference to your emotional well-being, your ability to move on in life, and learn healthier co-parenting if children involved.
Acceptance is the answer
A key stage in the process of dealing with divorce is acceptance. In learning to accept what has happened, you will need to deal with a number of emotions. Counseling gives you a safe space to express your emotions in a constructive manner, instead of bottling them up until they are eventually expressed in a destructive manner later on. It’s always important to understand that your emotions are natural under the circumstances. The end of a marriage inevitably brings feelings of loss and disappointment with it – shared dreams, shared commitment, and shared memories, and it’s normal to feel overwhelmed by this loss. However, don’t limit yourself to perceiving your divorce negatively – take the opportunity to invest in your growth as a person and remember that the change can be positive too. It is often quoted that it is only when the pain of staying the same is greater than the pain of changing, that a person will make the commitment to change. Remind yourself that this pain won’t last forever.
There’s no single strategy for dealing with divorce. You need to take the time to learn what sort of activities and support networks will be most effective for you. However, there are some common suggestions which will go a long way in easing the stress and trauma which you are experiencing. Focus on what your needs are during this time, and not what others need from you. Separating from your partner can be incredibly disruptive – from your identity to your daily routine, much is likely to change. Restore a sense of normalcy by developing a new routine for you to make your own. If you can, lessen your workload, take a time out, and ask for practical – and not just emotional – support from friends. Avoid turning to food and alcohol for comfort – instead consider going for calming walks, or attending meditation or yoga classes.
Letting go and moving on
Remember that the end goal is to move on – so as tempting as it might to be to over-analyze what went wrong or to dwell on all your negative feelings, don’t do this for too long, as it will hinder your healing process. Rather, try to focus on your new life ahead, and take decisive steps towards creating it. Cultivate new friendships, and spend time doings which energize you and make you excited about life. Perhaps you’ll be moving house – take the opportunity to thoroughly sort through your stuff and decide which of your material connections to your former partner you should let go of. If you find that you are unable to avoid fixating on the negative feelings which arose from your separation, ask yourself whether you’re in control of your feelings, or if they are in control of you. If you find that they are, this is a likely indication that seeking counseling could be very beneficial for you.
Whether you initiated it not, going through a divorce is likely to take a toll on your mental health. Remember to accept this as normal and to consider the wonderful sounding board which a therapist could be for you as you journey to closure.