Divorce & Separation Counselling
Divorce and Separation Counselling
Divorce and separation are times of intense emotion and stress. Sometimes a couple recognise they have grown apart with insufficient feelings for each other to work at their relationship. In these cases, the process can be straightforward and an amicable connection maintained.In many other cases, especially where one partner doesn’t want the separation or it is the result of an affair, the process of divorce can be traumatic and often long-drawn out.
Children also have to adjust to a major change in their lives, as well as coping with their parents’ relationship breakdown and living between two different households.
Even when a couple come to terms with the separation, there can often be prolonged confrontation and distress when other partners become involved and begin to build relationships with their children.
The combination of these situations as well as sorting out the home, finances, child support, separate parenting and the general loneliness, loss and low self-esteem which comes with divorce can be overwhelming and takes time and support to help everyone involved recover.
How can counselling help?
Counselling can help couples who have decided to separate by offering them an opportunity to speak about how they are feeling and what is concerning them as they progress through the separation process. Often, people feel able to express their feelings and wishes in the safety and calm of the counselling room in a way they are unable to do together because of heightened emotion and stress. In this situations sessions at chosen intervals can be a valuable opportunity to reflect on their changing needs and the welfare of children as they adjust to living and parenting apart.
If counselling together is not appropriate, then either partner can come alone for individual personal counselling. Getting divorced can contain many of the elements of bereavement, often amplified by anger, rejection and betrayal.
How many sessions will I need?
If both partners are coming together to work through separation, you may only need a few sessions at intervals which allow any actions to be put in place and tested. If something isn’t working for you or your children,there is the opportunity to explore other options or behaviours in a calm environment. If you come alone for help to recover from a painful experience and re-gain self-confidence and direction, this may take longer and will initially be at weekly intervals, according to individual circumstances.
Let’s make it work
If the decision is to try and make the relationship work, then counselling can transform your relationship if both partners are prepared to be fully involved. I also offer individual sessions within the couple counselling if this is helpful. Couple counselling requires self- control and self-discipline and putting respect back into the relationship. One of the benefits is that each person can listen to, respond to, or correct misinterpretations by the other.
What about the children?
Decisions regarding the separation process and living arrangements need to be made in the best possible interests of the children. The most stress children experience is when parents are arguing – either with each other or about them. If they become pawns in a tug of war, then they are liable to suffer. If they are made to choose between parents, this can also cause problems unless they are older and have clear feelings about who they are based with and where. Often parents express their feelings in front of, or to their children which can cause divided loyalties which again causes emotional distress for the child.
Children want to be listened to, have their opinions asked about agreements and arrangements but not be put in a position of having to make major decisions which result in them feeling they are rejecting one or other parent. If both parents are pleasant with each other in front of them and allow them to enjoy their time with each one, without feeling guilt, then they are more likely to get through the divorce feeling loved, secure and able to get on with their lives happily.
Counselling for parents apart
I offer counselling for parents who want to be able to improve their parenting apart. If you are perhaps arguing about arrangements and disagree with the way your children are being treated in the separate households counselling can provide a calm environment to discuss these issues and learn new ways of communicating with each other. All other issues including difficulty in arranging access and holidays can also be addressed.