Marital dissolution or divorce is well known for being a stressful process. Even people who usually have excellent emotional regulation may struggle to remain calm and rational throughout their divorce. Although it is common for people to try to ignore their emotional reactions to the thought of divorce or their initial decision to file, they may put themselves at a disadvantage by ignoring their feelings.
Unprocessed emotions may subconsciously start to influence how someone behaves and can lead to self-destructive behaviors during divorce proceedings. Many people preparing for divorce turn to therapy or counseling. Pre-divorce counseling, as opposed to couple’s therapy, is a tool that can help people get ready for the stress of divorce.
How will seeing a mental health professional before you divorce help you handle the upcoming changes to your family?
You can analyze your decision and recognize your own feelings
Sometimes, those considering divorce do so because of a short-term complication in their relationship that provokes an intense response. It may be possible to work through certain issues, like financial infidelity or substance abuse.
Even if the issue is something you cannot move past, like infidelity or physical violence, you may feel more confident and committed to your decision when you work through it with a therapist first. Additionally, therapists can help you challenge your personal narrative that casts you as a blameless victim, thus allowing you to identify personal issues that may have contributed to the relationship failing so you can work on yourself for healthier future relationships.
You can learn stress management and communication techniques
You never know how your spouse, your children or your broader social network will handle the news of your divorce. Learning stress management techniques can help you better handle unexpected challenges and emotional reactions that people may provoke in you when you discuss the divorce.
Additionally, you may learn some more effective communication techniques to better assert yourself during negotiations or custody exchanges with your spouse without contributing to the hostility between the two of you.
You can get support so you can better support your children
If you have kids and will share custody, divorce can be particularly challenging and emotional. Those preparing for co-parenting relationship may need to have a safe place where they can talk about their negative emotions so that they can remain positive about the situation in front of their children no matter what. A therapist or counselor can also help you address the emotional reactions that the children and your family have as your family changes.
Making use of professional support during your divorce, including counseling, will help you navigate the process more successfully and limit the mistakes you make.