When to Seek Divorce Counseling

Knowing when or if you should seek divorce counseling for yourself or your children is often a confusing proposition. Finding a counselor that you like and feel comfortable with can be a challenge - one that you may currently feel too worn out to even pursue. That in itself is likely a good reason to find a professional to talk with. You could use the support!

You should consider therapy if you, the other parent, or your children are stuck or lost in a bad place and just cannot get moving in the right direction.

Robert Emery, Ph.D.

Are You Stuck?

When you can honestly (look-yourself-in-the-mirror-and-level-with-yourself- kind-of-honesty) say that you have tried your best to handle, deal with, accept and/or change your feelings and you still find yourself out of patience, out of ideas and losing hope fast, then you are quite possibly stuck.

You are stuck when your problems feel so big that you can't function. More signs of being stuck and a good candidate for divorce counseling:

  • Can't sleep or relax
  • Can't stop thinking about things related to the divorce
  • Can't concentrate
  • Can't stop crying
  • Can't work
  • Can't control your fears
  • Can't control your anger
  • Can't control your kids

Counseling Will Usually Help

The most common problems to seek help for in both adults and children are:
  • Depression
  • Acting Out (anger, aggression, breaking rules, unsuitable risk taking, talk of suicide)

Divorce often exacerbates other problems that may have been lurking just below the surface:

  • Anxiety
  • Substance Abuse
  • Eating Disorders

There is a fine line that divides normal and abnormal behavior - especially in the face of the crisis of divorce. If you or your children are struggling with these tough issues, divorce counseling may truly help. And for those of you who may be "therapy skeptics", there is at minimum one indisputable value of therapy: a fresh and unbiased perspective. Your friends and family are your biased supporters. There is no getting around that. You could probably benefit from a fresh set of eyeballs.

Getting the Most Out of Divorce Counseling

Here are a few guidelines to help you choose the right therapist for you or your child.

  • Look for a licensed mental health professional. This means they are sanctioned by the state in which they practice, have passed an examination, and keep current in their particular field. This is important because you want to be sure you are working with a credible professional.

  • Choose a therapist with whom you feel comfortable. There is something to be said for chemistry. This is going to cost you time, money and energy. The process should be supportive, challenging and above all - helpful.

  • Make sure the therapist you select has specific expertise in dealing with divorce, parenting after divorce, adjusting to divorce etc. This has become a specialty with its own body of knowledge in which to be trained. Don't be afraid to ask questions before making a final choice.

  • Look for a professional who will not take sides between you and your child's other parent, but rather will help you move through your experience and deal with the issues that are present.

  • Look for a therapist for your child who is willing to meet with both parents. Taking sides never helps kids and yet many times, therapists do ally with one parent, believing that they are supporting the child who is their client.

If you have joint custody or joint decision making, both parents must give their permission for a minor child to be seen by a therapist.

Divorce Counseling With Jean McBride

If you have a question that you would like to ask me in person, or are interested in entering into a counseling relationship via telephone, please contact me . Feel free to send me an email or call my office directly. I accept a limited number of telephone clients and would be delighted to discuss this with you. I purposefully keep my schedule flexible enough to be able to schedule clients within the week. Please let me know if I can be of help to you

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