How to Find the Right Therapist during or after Divorce
- How do I know if I need therapy?
- What kind of therapist do I need?
- Finding the names of prospective therapists
- Finding a good fit
There’s little more challenging than navigating a divorce. The anger and sadness you feel can be overwhelming. You may feel insecure about your future. You may not even know how to take the next step forward.
Divorce is one of life’s most significant life transitions, and guarding your emotional well-being is critical. Therapy can be an essential lifeline to help you get to the other side feeling centered, whole, and optimistic.
How do I know if I need therapy?
Do you “need” therapy? There’s no right or wrong answer here. In short, if you’re thinking about any type of psychotherapy, you’d probably benefit from it.
Unfortunately, the only professional you may be talking to about your divorce is a divorce attorney, and this might not do much to help your mental health. You need an emotionally safe space to explore and process the complex emotions you’re going through.
How do you cope with your spouse’s infidelity? Will you ever find love again? How do you deal with the overwhelming anger consuming you? How can you help your kids through this when you can’t even do it for yourself?
Therapy can provide much-needed clarity, insight, and support to help you process these and other overwhelming feelings as you move through the stages of divorce and beyond. It can also help you learn coping skills and offer perspective on the problems you faced in your marriage so you’re less likely to repeat them in the future.
What kind of therapist do I need?
Searching for the right therapist can seem daunting. In the mental health field, there are so many labels. Psychologists, divorce therapists, licensed social workers, licensed professional counselors – each has different training and credentials. Each may use a different treatment modality in their counseling sessions. Some have private practices, and some work in institutions. Some do only individual therapy while others also provide family therapy.
How do you begin?
When you’re going through a divorce, you’ll want someone who can help you with divorce-specific feelings and issues. Some therapists are more experienced than others in dealing with the situational issues of this difficult time and how they affect your mental and emotional well-being.
What you’re looking for may be less about their title and the therapeutic modalities they use and more about the communication, honesty, and safety you feel when you’re with them. Often, this comes down to personal style and finding someone you click with.
How do I find the names of prospective therapists?
How do you find the right therapist? Unfortunately, you may be limited in your options by how you’ll pay for your sessions. If you plan to rely on insurance, the first place you’ll want to start is with your insurance provider directory. Remember that anyone you see outside your insurance network may be covered only as an out-of-network provider or their fee may have to come directly out of pocket.
Another good source for finding a therapist is a personal recommendation from a friend or healthcare provider. These people are more likely to understand your personality, style, and needs.
You may also consider looking at organizations that maintain updated mental health provider databases, such as the American Association of Marriage and Family Therapists, the American Psychological Association, or the Association of LGBTQ+ Psychiatrists. Online therapy platforms can also allow you to get the help you need without even leaving home.
How do I know if a therapist is a good fit?
Finding the right fit for a therapist is often just a matter of trial and error. Fortunately, many therapists today offer a free first session so your decision-making process is a bit easier.
Ask pointed questions. What are their credentials, and where are they licensed? How much experience do they have working with divorce clients? What modalities of treatment do they use? While they answer, listen carefully, and trust your gut.
Signs of a great fit
What are some signs of a good fit with a therapist?
- You feel safe and validated in their presence
- It’s easy to talk to them
- They listen closely and seem to genuinely want the best for you
- They explain their approach and how it might benefit your time together
- They normalize your feelings in light of what you’re going through
A good therapist can make you feel as if you’re talking to an honest and educated good friend who only wants the best for you.
Have you ever wondered what it’s like to receive life coaching? Read our article, How a Life Coach Can Help You Thrive after Divorce.
Signs of a not-so-great fit
Like anything else, there are good therapists and not-so-good ones. The not-so-good ones may:
- Make you feel broken and in need of “fixing”
- Not give you their full attention or answer your questions honestly
- Go right into a deep dive into your past without addressing the reason for your being there – dealing with your divorce
- Attempt to impress you with their credentials and accolades
Going through the divorce process can leave you feeling vulnerable and off-center. You deserve a therapist who can appreciate what you’re going through and have a therapeutic manner that lets you feel worthwhile and emotionally validated. Trust your instincts. If it doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t.
If you’re going through a divorce, you might also benefit from being part of a support group of others who are going through the same things as you. We suggest you check out an online support group platform called Circles.
At Hello Divorce, we understand that divorce is a multi-faceted transition, not just a legal one. We offer divorce plans as well as additional services such as divorce coaching that are designed to help you through the process and beyond. Schedule a free 15-minute call to learn more.
ResourcesAGLP Online Referral System. The Association of LGBTQ+ Psychiatrists.
Psychologist Locator. APA.
Therapist Locator. American Association of Marriage and Family Therapy.