A divorce or relationship separation can be among the most difficult things a person experiences in their lifetime. A divorce or separation not only impacts the couple, but their children, extended family and friends, and just like any other loss, must be processed in order to move forward from in a positive and healthy way.
Divorce and Grief
Elizabeth Kübler-Ross, a Swiss-American Psychiatrist, identified five stages of grief that a person may go through when experiencing a loss, such as a divorce or separation:
Difficulty accepting their separation is “real,” belief that reconciliation will eventually occur and ambivalence towards their partner’s decision to end the relationship.
Feelings of intense betrayal by their partner, resentment towards the actions or inactions of their former spouse that they believe may have deteriorated their relationship, and hostility towards having to work or communicate with the other person on divorce proceedings, child custody arrangements, or financial support.
Offering to do “whatever it takes” to salvage the relationship and promise making to change behaviors or patterns in an attempt to reunite.
Feeling at a loss of how to move forward with new individual identity, shame or guilt for not being able to make the relationship “work,” or plaguing fears of how this change will impact realms such as finances, living situations and children.
Healthy perspective that the relationship has ended and an ability to reflect on lessons learned from the experience while focus on moving forward in a positive manner for self and family.
The stages of grief are not linear or sequential, and a person may experience one, some or all stages. For therapists, we commonly see depression and anger in the faces of our clients going through separation or divorce. As they seek assistance for themselves, they are also needing help in how to work with their former partner who may be displaying blame or exhibiting anger towards them – Enter New Ways for Families®!
Family Connections therapists have been trained in the methods of New Ways for Families® to assist individuals or couples in this exact situation. A research based program designed to target high conflict families, New Ways for Families teaches positive co-parenting skills to reduce conflict and increase collaboration, especially as it pertains to communication and decision making.
New Ways for Families® teaches Four Big Skills including:
These skills are critical as parents navigate a divorce and learn to use flexible thinking in dealing with the other parent. Managing emotions addresses emotions such as anger or frustration that personally surfaces working with their former spouse. Moderate behaviors towards the other parent, helps people especially during disagreements or impasses. Checking yourself before reacting to tense situations or the behaviors of the other parent, helps to validate one’s own strengths and personal qualities.
Family Connections Therapy is offering a New Ways for Families® Decision Skills Group, Pre-Mediation Counseling, and Divorce Counseling to assist in learning these positive co-parenting techniques, addressing resist-refuse dynamics, and reducing conflict among families. If you feel that you could use assistance in ending the conflict, lowering family stress and increasing positive communication, contact Family Connections Therapy today.
(Family Connections Therapy is not a division of High Conflict Institute™ nor New Ways for Families® but uses the name by permission.)
Begin High Conflict Parenting Classes Online in California
Learning to move forward after a divorce can feel impossible at times. But, the right support can help you navigate this difficult experience and process the grief attached to it. Our team would be honored to support you. Family Connections Therapy can offer support with both in-person therapy and online services across the state. You can start your therapy journey by following these simple steps:
- Reach out to talk to one of our staff members
- Schedule your first appointment with one of our San Diego therapists
- Start coping with the effects of divorce
Other Services We Offer in San Diego, CA
Our team understands you may deal with a variety of mental health concerns. We offer many options to support your mental health, including children’s therapy, individual therapy, family therapy, couples therapy, and reunification therapy. We offer services in person as well as online for your convenience. Some of our specialties include but are not limited to therapy for ADHD, LGBTQIA+, and depression, and our therapists are well-versed in play therapy as well as therapy for attachment and healthy development.