Individuals enter counseling for divorce during one of four stages. These stages include pre-divorce, active divorce, post-divorce recovery, and post-divorce moving on with life.
Individuals are looking towards making a decision and feeling comfortable about this decision as to whether or not to divorce. People are guided through exploration of their own experiences and their feelings. It is never advisable to divorce as a strategy to make someone else change. Divorce is approached, rather, as an announcement or declaration of a state that has already existed. That is, when the relationship has ended in the individual’s mind and heart, it may be time to declare this and announce this to the other person. This may be a very painful time for the individual and partner. It may have been preceded by a period of denial or a period of substance abuse or acting out. The person may have tried to distract themselves from their internal awareness and the discovery that the relationship has already ended internally. This awareness may come with both relief and remorse.
Counseling during the active stage of divorce, emotions are likely to run rampant. There may be feelings of remorse or guilt, along with anger and rage. Events may be transpiring quickly. There may be decisions that have to be made in terms of custody, visitation, property, etc. People seek counseling during this stage in order to have an objective consultant for them so that they might think through decisions at hand and not make them on an impulsive basis or on a reactive basis.
Counseling during the recovery stage of divorce usually occurs immediately following the divorce. This is the stage during which people may feel depressed, tired, useless, worthless, and they are attempting to get a hold of themselves. They may also feel abandoned and heartbroken that their partner has chosen to part company. They are attempting to survive this stage and to be able to move on in their lives. Beyond this stage, people move on into the fourth stage.
At this time, individuals may be beginning new relationships. They may be maintaining or developing a new part of relationships with their ex-spouses. They may be continuing to co-parent children. In any of these realms, an individual may find these tasks to be daunting. During the initial stages of becoming involved with someone else, the individual is frequently reminded of the beginnings of previous relationships. They may have very confusing feelings that arise regarding ex-spouses. Therapy is a good forum in which to contain, discuss, and work through these feelings.
James J. Foster and Associates has therapists available to work with individuals through any of these stages of divorce; as well as to assist other family members, such as children and significant others, during this time. We welcome questions, or new clients regarding any of these issues. Please feel free to call us if we may be of help.