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Last Updated on: 2nd October 2023, 11:52 pm
Getting Therapy and Healing After a Difficult Divorce
Going through a divorce can be really hard. It’s totally normal to feel sad, angry, confused, or scared during this time. But there are things you can do to start feeling better — and therapy is one of them! This article talks about how therapy can help you heal after divorce.
Therapy gives you a safe space to talk about what you’re going through. You can share your feelings without judgment. Your therapist can help you process those feelings, overcome challenges, and start moving forward. Some benefits of therapy after divorce include:
- Having an outlet to talk about your emotions
- Learning coping skills to handle stress
- Getting encouragement and support
- Building self-esteem and confidence
- Letting go of anger, blame, guilt
- Creating a new vision for your future
Therapy empowers you to take control of your healing. Instead of feeling stuck in the past, you can start building the life you want. Your therapist helps you rewrite your story — focusing on growth rather than loss.
Different types of therapy
There are lots of therapy options to choose from after divorce. Common types include:
This is one-on-one counseling with a therapist. You talk privately about your situation and feelings. The therapist offers guidance tailored to you. This is the most common type of therapy after divorce.
In group therapy, you share your experiences with others going through divorce too. Hearing how they cope can be really validating. And you can all support each other. Many find comfort in knowing they aren’t alone.
Ex-partners might do couples therapy if they want to communicate better. This can help with co-parenting after the split. The counselor acts as a “referee” during hard talks. They teach skills like active listening, expressing needs, and managing conflict.
This involves you, your ex, and your kids. It helps you navigate co-parenting as a new family unit. The counselor guides discussions about changes after the divorce. Kids can share their concerns too. The goal is to support them through this transition.
How to find a therapist
Here are some tips for finding the right therapist after your divorce:
- Ask friends/family for recommendations
- Search online directories like PsychologyToday.com
- Check with your health insurance for covered providers
- Look for therapists experienced in divorce/family issues
- Schedule a consultation call to see if you click
- Find someone who makes you feel comfortable and understood
Having a therapist you trust makes all the difference. Don’t settle for someone you don’t vibe with. It may take meeting a few therapists before you find the right fit.
What to expect in therapy sessions
Your first therapy appointment will involve the therapist getting your background. They’ll ask about your marriage, divorce, support system, and more. This helps them understand your situation better.
In later sessions, you’ll dig into your thoughts and feelings. The therapist listens without judgment. They offer new perspectives to consider. You’ll likely do exercises together to build coping skills.
As you open up, you may feel sad or angry reliving certain memories. That’s normal — and part of the healing process. Your therapist is there to support you through the hard emotions. Over time, therapy helps you let go of pain and start fresh.
Coping skills you might learn
Your therapist can teach strategies to help you cope with divorce in healthy ways. Here are some examples:
- Journaling – Writing down thoughts and feelings
- Relaxation techniques – Deep breathing, visualization, meditation
- Stress management – Exercise, sufficient sleep, balanced diet
- Support system – Leaning on family/friends for comfort
- Positive self-talk – Combating negative thoughts with affirmations
- Gratitude practice – Focusing on blessings and silver linings
Building these skills gives you new tools to handle challenges. They help stabilize your mood and boost your overall well-being.
Tips for getting the most from therapy
To make the most progress in sessions, try these tips:
- Be open and honest with your therapist
- Stick to a regular therapy schedule if you can
- Do “homework” exercises between sessions
- Share updates on your situation week to week
- Ask questions if you need clarification
- Trust in the process even when it’s hard
The more you put into therapy, the more you’ll get out of it. Have patience as change takes time. But you can feel better with the right support.
When to start therapy
There’s no “right” time to start therapy after divorce. Many begin counseling early in the separation process. This provides support during a painful transition.
That said, you can start therapy at any point. Even years later, counseling can help you process lingering hurt. Addressing those feelings now can help you move forward.
If you’re struggling to cope day-to-day, that’s a sign it may be time for therapy. A counselor can offer relief right when you need it most.
With an empathetic therapist by your side, you can find the strength to push through this challenging time. Therapy equips you with tools to process the grief, reclaim your sense of self, and start fresh. While the pain won’t disappear overnight, you can regain hope for the future.
Processing the Grief
Divorce brings profound loss that must be grieved. You’re mourning the death of your marriage, the life you envisioned, and even your identity as a spouse. These losses cut deep. Expect to cycle through shock, denial, anger, and sadness – all normal reactions.
In therapy, you can express these feelings freely. Your counselor will validate how hard this is. They’ll help you move through the grief gently, without getting stuck. With time and support, the intense pain gives way to acceptance and room for joy again.
Reclaiming Your Sense of Self
During marriage, your identity may have become enmeshed with your partner’s. After divorce, your sense of self needs rebuilding. Who are you now, as a newly single person? What values matter most? What dreams excite you?
Your therapist can guide you through self-reflection. This helps you get reacquainted with your needs, interests, strengths. You’ll gain clarity on what you want for your next chapter. Counseling provides space to reinvent yourself and your life.
Once you’ve processed the grief and redefined your identity, you can start fresh. This means letting go of anger and blame to embrace forgiveness. It means feeling ready to date again, or be content single. It means creating a home, routine, community that fits your new normal.
Your therapist will help you close old wounds so you can open new doors. With their support, you can build the post-divorce life you want – one of growth, purpose and peace. The pain of divorce will fade as you step into your next beautiful chapter.