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The Importance of Family Counselling During a Divorce

June 10, 2020

Divorce can, in many ways, feel like a loss comparable to the death of a loved one. As with any other loss, you may go through the stages of grief as you process your divorce.

At first, you may find it hard to accept that your marriage is over, and you may think you and your spouse will get back together. As denial slowly fades, you may then feel sadness and uncertainty about your future. In many cases, the sadness and anxiety turn into anger that may not only impact your interactions with your spouse but may also affect the other relationships in your life. This anger may cause you to react to the divorce in a way you later regret, and you may try bargaining to remedy the situation. When bargaining is not successful, you will likely experience guilt, and you may feel depressed.

Over time, you will come to accept that your marriage cannot be fixed and that you must learn how to move forward without your spouse.

Why should you consider family counselling during a divorce?

When going through a divorce, many individuals struggle to move from denial to acceptance, often getting stuck in the phase of anger. That is where family counselling comes in.

The purpose of family counselling during divorce is not to repair the marriage, as some may believe. Instead, family counselling during divorce aims to give you the tools you need to deal with the grief and remain clearheaded and rational as you make decisions about your future. Through this form of therapy, you can develop the coping mechanisms needed to lead a successful and fulfilling life as a single person.

At times, a spouse can remove their former partner from their lives altogether after their marriage ends. However, there are times when ex-spouses must still interact with each other following a divorce. One such situation is when children are involved. If you must co-parent with your ex-spouse, family counselling can teach you how to maintain healthy interactions and communicate effectively with the other parent.

When to seek help

If you are experiencing overwhelming emotions or lack of feeling, extreme anxiety, severe depression, or thoughts of suicide, you should contact a counsellor right away. Other signs you may need counselling to cope with divorce include trouble sleeping, inability to concentrate, disinterest in activities you once enjoyed, isolation or withdrawal from family members and friends, loss of appetite, or sudden changes in your weight.

Family counselling for children during a divorce

Children may also benefit from family counselling during a divorce. Often, children blame themselves for their parents’ separation. And sometimes, they fear how their lives will change when their parents are no longer together. Family counselling will give children a safe space to discuss their feelings about their parent’s split and can help them to understand that they are not at fault. A family counsellor will also help your children to navigate the inevitable changes divorce will bring.

Signs your child may need counselling

As you deal with your own emotions during a divorce, you must also pay keen attention to your children. Insomnia, persistent nightmares, lingering sadness, worsening performance at school, issues with concentration, extreme weight gain or loss, low self-esteem and aggressive behaviour may be signs that your child is not coping well with your divorce. A new fascination or preoccupation with death or thoughts of suicide are particularly troubling signs of a child in need of help. If you have noticed these or any other drastic changes in your child’s behaviour, do not hesitate to speak with a therapist.

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