February 25, 2020
Yes, there’s such a thing as a ‘good’ divorce! Even when there are children or pets involved… But it won’t just happen by itself. You’ll need specific kinds of help, one of the most important of which might be counseling with an experienced marriage & family therapist.
Given the swirl of emotions, fears, and practical necessities facing a divorcing couple, there are several important sorts of conversations you’ll want a qualified counselor’s help having:
First, whatever the reasons for your separation, you’ll do better going forward if you have some resolution on where you’ve been, why you paired up, and how and why it came apart.
An experienced couples counselor can help you have these conversations without letting things spiral out of control. There might be some turbulence along the way, but your therapist can help ensure that things stay respectful and productive. She can also help balance your need to revisit old conflicts with the need to stay accountable and forgiving of one another. This will help you both build emotional closure so that you can move forward with your newly-separated lives.
Once you’re separated for good, you’ll still face decisions that require mutual input. A skilled family therapist can help you anticipate key questions you’re likely to encounter, as well as assist you in laying out ground rules for future collaboration.
Likely topics should include detailed rules of engagement — what’s valid to question or complain about, for example, and what’s best left in the past. If you’ll be sharing custody of children or pets, moreover, you’ll want to forge clear expectations about what you can and cannot expect to know; when you should be consulted about mutual problems and decisions; and where the bounds of independence lie — what is off-limits, for example, and what is open to discussion. A licensed marriage & family therapist can help set the tenor and tone of these future deliberations.
For divorcing couples, family therapy can help you dofferentiate resentments and pain from practicalities and independence. You’re each starting new chapters in your lives, so you’ll benefit from help closing the book on the chapters you created together. Your goal will be to create an emotional landscape in which to frame your respective futures apart.
Jason Kaufman PhD LMFT is a licensed marriage & family therapist in Brookline, MA and founder of Relatable Therapy LLC.
Has therapy helped during the divorce process? If so, please feel free to share how and why below? Did something else help make the divorce process better for you, please share below.