How Post-Divorce Therapy May Help You Move On
Divorce conjures a host of feelings that can be quite unpleasant – anger, grief, and guilt, to name a few. Addressing and processing your feelings is key to moving on. How can you do this?
For many people, working with a professional therapist is the best solution for one-on-one help. Others prefer a support group environment where they can meet peers. Getting therapy is a valid and effective way for many folks to build a new foundation of self-esteem and strength. If you’re just shaking off divorce, therapy can help you live your life with confidence you may not have felt for a long time.
How can therapy help after divorce?
After divorce, reality kicks in. The world has moved on, and it’s time to get back to the nuts and bolts of your life.
But your new life may be completely different from the one you lived as a married person. You may have moved out of your marital home. You may now share custody of your children with your ex rather than seeing them every day. From new surroundings to new habits, this is an entirely different terrain. And because you’re already feeling emotionally fragile, even the slightest interruption to your day can seemingly throw you to the emotional wolves.
Yes, living on your own after being part of a team can be scary. All the things you did, the decisions you made, were as part of a couple. Now, you’re confronting these things alone. You may be facing life with apprehension or even downright avoidance, and these feelings can feed on themselves after a while.
Post-divorce therapy can help you deal. It can help you focus on self-care as you gain strength and courage. It can provide the perspective and encouragement you need to get your life back on track.
Benefits of post-divorce therapy
Gain valuable self-knowledge
The time surrounding your divorce was undoubtedly a frenzy of legal and financial activity. Therapy allows you to slow down time. It gives you permission to focus on yourself alone.
Your therapist can provide activities and conversations that help you get to know the thoughts and feelings that got buried during your divorce process. They can help you figure out what your true priorities are and what may be standing in the way of your own happiness. And, they can help you figure out an action plan to get what you really want out of life.
Figure out what makes you happy
But what if you truly don’t know what you want? When you’re part of a couple, you can lose sight of what makes you happy for the sake of the team. If you were constantly accommodating your partner’s wants and needs to the exclusion of your own, it can feel difficult – perhaps impossible – to regain valuable self-knowledge.
But a therapist is trained to help you do just that. Granted, each therapist has their own style of delivery, but a common goal of therapy is to uncover these aspects of yourself.
Stop self-sabotaging behaviors
At times, we all unwittingly sabotage our own happiness and well-being. Whether this is a deep-seated pattern from childhood or habits developed while navigating an unhappy marriage, post-divorce therapy can help you spot detrimental habits and find newer, healthier ones.
Set new boundaries
Navigating any relationship, whether with a spouse, family member, or friend, requires you to establish and protect certain personal boundaries. You may have been in a relationship where those boundaries got lost or compromised. Maybe you have struggled with boundaries your entire life.
One example of setting a boundary for yourself is deciding when to say “no” and staying firm in that position, even when someone else tries to persuade you otherwise. This can feel downright scary, but a therapist has techniques that can help you establish this and any other boundaries that matter to you.
Gain higher self-esteem
Divorce has a way of eating away at self-esteem and self-trust. But your divorce is not your failure. Through post-divorce therapy, you can look at what happened and use it as a learning experience rather than a shaming experience. How can you better prioritize yourself? Where can you practice positive self-talk that supports your new and confident future?
Develop coping skills
Coping with the emotions of divorce looks different for everyone. Some people develop new friendships and life experiences; others lean on tried-and-true relationships for support. Post-divorce therapy can help you find and embrace healthy coping skills that do not jeopardize your happiness or health.
While a supportive network of friends and family can help you move through the intensity of divorce, a professional therapist is trained to spot patterns that you and those closest to you cannot see – or are reluctant to bring up. Licensed therapists are trained to assess clients and help them overcome self-defeating thoughts and actions. If you’re looking for long-lasting change, this can be helpful indeed.
Why keep suffering? Your future is bright, and there are people out there who are ready to support it. At Hello Divorce, we’re committed to helping people through the divorce process to the other side. We have resources, plans, and services that can help you no matter where you are in the divorce process. We've also partnered with Circles, an online support community. Try a divorce support class free when you sign up today.