Divorce is a horrible process. Even the most amicable couples do not escape unscathed either emotionally or financially. There are lots of tools to support all parties through divorce proceedings, one of which is therapy or counselling. If you have a solicitor who specialises in family law, they may be able to signpost you towards resources that can help.
The emotional toll of divorce
It is common to feel emotions such as anger, resentment, sadness and shame as you process a divorce. You may not expect to feel grief, but it is a feeling that many people experience. You may find yourself mourning the life you could have had, as well as the person you used to be in love with.
Children do not escape the emotional toll of divorce either, as much as you may try and protect them from it. Depending on the age of your child, their emotions may present in various ways. Acting out, retreating into themselves or being extra clingy and anxious are all normal responses to family turmoil.
Family therapy and counselling
Family therapy is where a therapist or counsellor talks to you as a family unit rather than as individuals with no wider context. They will work with your communication skills and offer a safe space for participants to divulge their feelings and thoughts.
Family therapy can also touch on subjects such as co-parenting after the divorce is finalised, defining new roles as parents and helping children to feel loved and supported throughout.
Benefits of family therapy in divorce
Therapists are great at listening, but it may take a while for you to feel comfortable talking to them. It may be that you need to try different therapists as a family until you find one that feels right for all of you.
Once you do find the right fit, you can start to tackle the complex feelings of divorce. By talking openly about your emotions, your therapist may be able to suggest some coping strategies for when things feel out of control. This will help all of you keep your emotions under control, and help to repair any relationships that have been affected by negative reactions like snapping or getting angry at trivial things.
Your therapist will also be able to help the adults involved think about how they want the outcome of the divorce to look. For example, getting a plan in place for co-parenting or navigating social occasions with shared friends. Whilst some couples may be able to remain civil, it is not possible for all so having plans in place will help everyone feel comfortable.
Children are an important part of any family, so making sure they are supported is key. You may find that your kids are able to talk to the therapist about things they do not bring up with you. This is creating a safe space and should be encouraged. Your child will be able to process their feelings and the actual events of what is happening in a healthy way with professional support.