Benefits of Couples and Family Counseling in the Wake of Divorce

A family at a couples and family counseling appointment.

Divorce is an impactful and life-changing event for all parties involved. Whether you’re the one getting the divorce or your parents are divorcing, it affects everyone differently Unfortunately, sometimes relationships don’t work out. Among all new marriages, somewhere between 40 and 60% end in divorce, and the rate is 10% higher among remarriages. With such staggering statistics, it’s likely that you or someone you know has been affected by divorce at some point in their life. You may be wondering how to navigate this difficult time and what you can do to help your loved ones adjust to the change. Couples and family counseling is a helpful and healthy method for coping with divorce, both before and after. These types of counseling are helpful to the couple, as well as the children. If you’re wondering where to start with your family and couples therapy, Highland Springs is here to help. We’re going to break down the benefits of counseling and what you can expect. Divorce is a serious and sometimes traumatic event, so it’s helpful to know what to expect and how to get through this difficult time.

How Divorce Counseling for Couples Can Help Before and After Separation

A step that many couples experiencing marital problems take before divorce is attending couples counseling. This can be very beneficial and, in some cases, restore the marriage. This can help re-establish effective communication and start the healing process.

Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case and if it’s best for the couple to split up, counseling is still very beneficial. If there are children involved, your counselor can help prepare you on how to handle the situation with your little ones. Post-divorce counseling can also help establish successful co-parenting by finding the model that will work best for you and your former partner. There are six key components when it comes to co-parenting that a couples therapist can help you establish and understand:

1. Education 

Your counselor can provide literature and resources that educate you on short- and long-term impacts of divorce on children. This gives you a good starting point to develop a co-parenting strategy and can make the post-divorce transition smoother.

2. Establish a Parenting Plan

Negotiating an optimal parenting plan that is suitable for the children and establishes the responsibilities of each parent is a critical part of divorce and, again, makes that transition after divorce easier on everyone.

3. Develop Positive Communication

If there is a lot of conflict between both parents before and after the divorce, counseling can help find a way to establish and develop positive communication. While it may not be beneficial or necessary to communicate with one another following the divorce, it’s important to develop some positivity that can contribute to the long-term success of the co-parenting arrangement.

4. Discuss Family Counseling

Divorce raises many emotions between the couple, as well as the children. Family therapy should be made available to each child and your counselor can provide this or refer you to another qualified therapist. 

5. Emotional Healing

You and your former spouse deserve to be healed post-divorce as well. When a tumultuous relationship ends, that doesn’t necessarily mean either party is going to automatically heal. Looking into individual counseling is an important step to take after divorce. 

6. Follow-Ups

Before the divorce takes place, it’s helpful to set future times and dates to re-evaluate your co-parenting situation. This keeps your co-parenting plan running smoothly and efficiently throughout the many adjustments post-divorce.

Divorce counseling for couples before and after separation is important for the entire family. While couples counseling is a critical first step, it’s not the only way to help your family through this difficult time.

Approaching Family and Couples Therapy with Children

Parents with their child at a family and couples therapy appointment.

Adding your family to your couples therapy can aid in the transition following divorce. It may feel odd or unnecessary to involve children in therapy, but it has been found to be extremely beneficial. Up to 25% of children with divorced parents will experience ongoing behavior and emotional difficulties throughout their lives. You may be wondering when you should involve your children in therapy, and there are a few tell-tale signs you need to be watching for. These include, but are not limited to:

  • Moodiness and changed behavior
  • Experiencing eating or sleep problems
  • Acting younger than the child actually is
  • Acting out
  • Showing signs of depression and sadness
  • Change in personality
  • Compulsive behavior accompanied by irrational fears

Even if your children have not started exhibiting these symptoms, couples and family counseling can be beneficial to everyone. Children are especially prone to feelings of guilt, confusion, pain, loss, and abandonment following a divorce. This becomes even more prominent if the divorce is not amicable and the parents are hostile towards one another. In addition, you can make the transition easier by helping your children in the following ways:

  • Being open and honest about the divorce
  • Reassure your children they are loved
  • Avoid canceling plans with your children 
  • Establish consistency within their new routine
  • Reassure them that the divorce is not their fault

These tactics can be combined with family therapy, as this provides a safe space for the children and parents to openly speak about their feelings. With a knowledgeable and trained therapist, processing feelings can become easier and the healing can begin.

Finding the Right Couples and Family Counseling

Overall, seeking counseling for the entire family in the wake of a divorce is beneficial for everyone. At Highland Springs Specialty Clinic, we specialize in treating:

  • LGBT couples
  • Family communication/conflict
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Divorce recovery

Whether you need help preparing for a divorce, in the middle of a divorce, or navigating the post-divorce world, family therapy is helpful. From establishing a co-parenting strategy to ensuring that your children feel safe and secure through the process, our knowledgeable team can create a customized plan for you and your family. Contact us today to schedule a confidential counseling appointment and take the first steps toward finding happiness again.

AUTHOR: Dr. Todd Thatcher

Dr. Todd Thatcher has worked at Valley for 8 years and has been the Chief Medical Officer for 5 years. He is triple board certified in forensic psychiatry, general psychiatry, and addiction medicine. Currently, Dr. Thatcher is passionate about the high-quality training of our employees and generating and tracking as much clinical data as possible to improve processes and procedures for increased ease, accessibility, and ultimately to better serve our clients and provide the best care possible.

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