Divorce Counseling: How to Know if Hiring a Divorce Therapist Is the Right Choice for You

divorce-counseling-therapy

Before a married couple starts browsing the internet for an attorney, many couples will make an attempt at marital counseling. This last-ditch effort to determine whether or not the marriage is salvageable is common, though it frequently seems as though one spouse enters into the therapist’s office with more enthusiasm than the other.

Many couples may now benefit from a relatively new approach to counseling, which is typically popular among couples who have already made the decision to pursue a divorce. This type of therapy, known as divorce counseling, can help you make significant improvements in your relationship as you move toward finalizing a divorce.

Is divorce therapy right for you? What exactly is divorce counseling? Find some answers to this new approach in the sections below.

What Is Divorce Counseling?

Traditional therapy typically aims to understand and cope with the underlying emotions or tensions that are present within the relationship. Divorce counseling is slightly different, in that many licensed practitioners do not focus on this aspect of the split at all. Instead, the primary objective of divorce counseling is to establish a few healthy ground rules for communication moving forward, even as your relationship status changes. A divorce therapist can help form a new relationship between spouses that can remain amicable, even during a divorce.

When should you consider enlisting the help of a divorce therapist? Many couples will turn to this practice when the relationship is heading toward divorce, and communication has become overly hostile, angry, bitter, or resentful. In situations when there are children involved, it can be especially helpful to relieve some of the tension in the home environment. Then you can help them model positive, healthy communication skills.

Ultimately, it is most useful for couples who need some extra assistance in developing a set of rules for topics that can and cannot be discussed, as well as how those topics should be addressed.

Can You Do It Alone?

While some types of divorce counseling are designed to be completed with your spouse to help set up healthy guidelines for a future relationship or friendship with one another, you can work through divorce counseling on you won. Many individuals find that dealing with the emotional repercussions of divorce to be overwhelming, so divorce therapy can give you a safe space to process your feelings, thoughts, and fears about the future in your newly single life.

Having space to deal with your emotions can help you begin the process of emotional healing. With some of the stress relieved by having a constructive outlet for your emotions, you can focus on the more important things at hand with a greater degree of clarity. Divorce is bound to be a stressful process, but it will feel less burdensome if you have the ability to appropriately process your feelings.

You may even want to consider investigating divorce counseling as an option for children who are be affected by the circumstances.

What Should You Look for in a Divorce Therapist?

Not everyone can or should advertise themselves as a qualified divorce therapist. Before you enlist their help, you should consider whether they are going to be the right fit for you, your marriage, or your children. Consider things such as their personality, their friendliness, and their overall level of professionalism first. However, beyond that, you will want to make sure that they are well-qualified to be in their position.

A divorce therapist should have at least a bachelor’s degree in psychology, sociology, or a related field. The better, more qualified divorce therapists will frequently pursue higher degrees and additional certifications, classes, and continuing education to learn as much as they can about their respective field of expertise.

Consider finding a divorce therapist who is accredited through the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy. This organization offers stricter guidelines on the qualifications necessary to be labelled as a divorce therapist. They also require that all applicants pass a state or national licensing exam to ensure they understand best practices in their field.

Potential clients should also ask about a divorce therapist’s clinical experience. You want to ensure that they have plenty of practice within their field with divorce, marital, or some type of family counseling. The more experience and familiarity they have with the type of therapy that suits them best, the better equipped they will be to help you manage the situation at hand.

Deciding on Divorce Counseling

Once you and your spouse have come to the conclusion that the marriage is over and divorce is imminent, counseling may be a great first step. It can help you establish ground rules for ongoing communication with one another, or give you space to process through your emotions solo.

The important thing about pursuing this type of counseling is to ensure that you are hiring the right divorce therapist. Without someone who has experience and training, you may not see the full benefits of this type of program. Make sure to take your time selecting the right approach and therapist for your unique situation, in order to make the most of your healing time and move forward.

Shawn Leamon, MBA, CDFA is the host of the “Divorce and Your Money Show” and Managing Partner of LaGrande Global, with offices in Dallas, New York and Hanover, New Hampshire.

 

Want more free divorce advice and tips?

Subscribe to the Divorce and Your Money Podcast, trusted by over 50,000 people across the United States.

Shawn Leamon, MBA, CDFA

Dallas, Texas

Shawn C. H. Leamon is Managing Partner of LaGrande Global, a firm that helps successful families manage large financial transitions like divorce, inheritance and selling a business.

He earned his Bachelor of Arts from Dartmouth College, double majoring in Economics and Philosophy, and his Masters in Business Administration at Spain’s IE Business School.

Before founding LaGrande Global, Shawn helped manage $1.1 billion in client assets at Bernstein Global Wealth Management. He also worked as a credit research analyst at J.P. Morgan. He is a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst, and he has been an advisor to numerous high-stakes divorce cases.

Shawn is the author of two well-received finance books: Managing Private Wealth: Principles, and Divorce and Your Money: The No-Nonsense Guide, both published in 2016.

In his spare time, Shawn is an ultra-endurance athlete and has competed in events as long as 24 hours. He is an Eagle Scout and a member of the Alumni Board of Greenhill School.