A divorce is like an amputation: You survive it, but there is less of you.
- Margaret Atwood
Divorce Counseling, Marital Separation Therapy & Child Custody Issues
The decision to separate or divorce can be the most difficult decision in a person’s life. In a neutral and non-judgmental fashion, and with no preconceived agenda about what the outcome should be, we assist individuals and couples in working through their conflicts, whether it leads to a more satisfying and harmonious marriage; or to a negotiated separation and divorce.
Our goal is to resolve the chronic conflicts that perpetuate emotional pain and strife, and preserve the self-esteem and personality integrity of the children involved. Should the couples therapy fail to resolve differences, and the outcome is separation and divorce, we work with the couple to minimize the trauma to their children and themselves.. We are experienced in working collaboratively with attorneys and mediators to deliver the best outcome possible during a highly emotionally charged period of life for the couple and their children. When requested, we also perform formal child custody evaluations.
Many different emotions arise when going through a divorce or ending a love relationship. You may have mixed emotions, even if you know that ending the relationship is the best solution, and regardless of who initiated the separation or divorce. Good times are remembered, bad times may cause anger and hurt. It is normal to experience feelings of sadness, loneliness, and fear of the changes ahead. You may feel vulnerable or feel you have failed. Feelings of rejection are common.
Guilt is a strong emotion which often surfaces especially if you are the one who initiated the separation or divorce. Each individual will have different emotional reactions at different times.
Divorce, or loss of a significant love relationship, is often experienced in the same way as a death of a loved one. There are stages of mourning that one goes through, from denial to acceptance.
These stages move back and forth until one begins to heal and once again feels hopeful. You may first experience shock, fear, and numbness. You may question how you will go on alone, even if you have your children living with you. It is normal to go to the early stage of grieving – bargaining – telling yourself that if you had another chance you would make the marriage work. You may be obsessing about your ex-partner. Blaming and anger are emotions which may keep repeating themselves.
Change can be difficult; causing anxiety, depression, and feelings of being isolated. Many of your daily activities will be altered. Regardless of who initiated the divorce, or if it was by mutual agreement, a roller coaster ride of emotions often occurs leaving one feeling afraid, alone, and vulnerable.
Therapy provides a safe and confidential environment where you can express your feelings of sadness, anger, guilt, resentment, or relief. A therapist will work with you to provide support and help you to achieve a new perspective and a plan for your future. You may be feeling empty and viewing the changes as scary and unimaginable. Being alone does not have to mean living in loneliness. Therapy can help you understand some of your choices, and assist you in moving on with your life.
If you have children, your therapist can help you so that they can also make the necessary changes and adjustments that the divorce will cause. You can learn how to explain divorce to children, and some of the normal reactions you can expect them to have, and how you can provide them the most emotional support possible.
You may need to learn new coping skills and strategies to prepare for the next stage in your life, and to remember that you are not alone during this process. You do not always have to pretend that everything is okay. Divorce counseling can also be effective for the couple facing separation and divorce. Ideas and plans can be made so that each partner will be able to work with the other with a lesser degree of hostility, to more effectively manage such issues as finances, child custody, living arrangements, and other challenges which may arise from marital dissolution.
Whether you attend therapy as a couple, or as an individual, you can get the help you need. You can enter the stage of grief known as“acceptance” as a self-reliant person experiencing a challenging and difficult situation with feelings of confidence and strength.
Call us at 301.984.9791 to discuss your needs or to schedule an appointment.