by: Lisa Borchetta, MACP, CMC, ACC
I am a life coach and a former mental health counselor, so sure, you can say I am biased when it comes to this particular subject. Nonetheless, I firmly believe that seeking counseling or coaching is essential when it comes to divorce. It’s not just professional bias that leads me to this conclusion; it is also a wealth of information available on the subject, as well as first-hand experience. It is true, some people can navigate the rocky waters of divorce without the assistance of a professional to help them along the way. For those who are open to the process, seeking the help of a professional therapist or coach can prove to be invaluable.
Read any article about divorce advice, and one item comes up over and over again – seek the services of a therapist or life coach. After all, deciding to get a divorce is probably one of the most difficult experiences a person can go through. There is a lot of emotion involved and a lot of thinking, planning and introspection necessary to get through it. Seeking the services of a therapist or counselor is one of the most effective ways to address these issues. But not just when you’re in the contemplation phase, not just while you are going through the separation and divorce, and not just while you are adjusting to your new life as a single person. Working with a professional serves a function at all stages of the divorce process.
Before – Whether it’s individual, couples, family or some combination, therapy prior to making the decision to get a divorce can be invaluable. Divorce isn’t easy no matter how competent the individuals involved are, so taking the time to really work on your marriage and thoroughly explore your options beforehand is the least one can do. Marriage counseling can help to; improve communication patterns, adjust erroneous and unproductive assumptions and biases and heal hurt feelings and misconceptions that are undermining the relationship. Individual counseling offers opportunities to explore old patterns causing interference and work through conflicting feelings that are interfering with the ability to make a clear decision. Coaching can help build awareness of core values and goals – and help you look at the concrete steps you can take to move you forward in a positive way.
During – Even the most amicableand unencumbered relationships can be put to the test under the strain of the divorce process. Having a professional to assist you as you work through the often tedious legal process of divorce can help you to stay focused and clear about the many decisions and negotiations you will need to make. Therapy also provides a much needed outlet to deal with the often painful and difficult feelings which will undoubtedly arise. Having a place to share these feelings with a neutral third party, away from home, and out of earshot of children is better for all involved. Difficult emotions can undermine the process, cloud your thinking and complicate forward progress. Professional help provides a sounding board, an ally, and a reality check when you need it most.
After – Few circumstances in life will affect so many of the most significant and fundamental areas of your life the way a divorce will. Adjusting to your newly single life and all that comes along with it can be like starting from scratch all over again and while this reality can be exciting, it can also be pretty confounding. Seeking the help of a professional during this time of adjustment can help you deal with the new circumstances you find yourself in, and the new feelings and challenges that arise. It can assist in anchoring you to a clear vision and plan for the next chapter in your life.
You don’t have to go it alone. There is no question you are the one who has to do all of the heavy lifting. Having a professional ally, someone in your corner to “spot you” along the way can help you be the best you can be. (And by the way, seeking the services of a specialized therapist for your children throughout the divorce process can be just as important for their mental health and clarity as it is for yours. Their need for an unbiased third party to hear their feelings may prove invaluable in helping them get through the experience in a healthful manner as well.)
Lisa Borchetta, MACP, CMC, ACC is a Certified Life Coach and owner of Firebird Life Coaching. In addition to her coaching work with individual and group clients, Lisa is also a public speaker, teacher and writer. She is a former Mental Health Counselor and holds a Master's Degree in Counseling Psychology. Lisa writes for HopeAfterDivorce.org, FamilyShare.com, and LAFamily. You can visit Lisa’s website atwww.firebirdlifecoaching.com, her blog at firebirdlifecoach.wordpress.com and her FB page atwww.facebook.com/FirebirdLifeCoaching.