Exploring Divorce Therapy
By: Christian Baginski, Masters Level Intern
Divorce is a complicated topic that is often thought of negatively by society. These societal implications can “double down” on the negative feelings that are going on in a couple’s heads as they contemplate “where it all went wrong.” These thoughts are unfortunately normal but they beg the question, what if we took a slightly different stance on divorce. Divorce is rarely considered when everything is going well in a relationship. Divorce is more often the end of a struggling marriage where conflict has overtaken whatever else was once there. To be clear, I understand that divorce is never going to be a happy topic, but it can be one where a slight change in stance on it can make the process feel much more positive. It can also lead to more certainty in the decision and possibly less regret.
In therapy there are a great deal of ways to explore divorce. More obvious angles include individual therapy for every party involved which is healthy and beneficial. The less obvious solution involves getting the former family back together. Family counseling with divorced couples and their children is possible provided the parties feel safe around one another. This can be especially helpful for the children of the prior marriage when their parents have healthy communication strategies and work collaboratively to develop better skills to support them (Jennings, 2019). Unsurprisingly multiple studies suggest that healthy divorce, should it come to that, leads to healthier outcomes such as happier divorcees, less behavioral and emotional issues for the children, and stronger sibling bonds than their unhealthily divorced counterparts (Halligan, Chang, and Knox, 2014). Happier divorces will often lead to less emotional turmoil, regret, and guilt about the process. Counseling can take the time to help each family member process through their residual feelings that may leave them stuck in that difficult time as it was happening. Through this process some of the damage can start to heal and those involved can start to move on to brighter horizons with important skills to take on the future.
Caitlin Halligan, I. Joyce Chang & David Knox (2014) Positive Effects of Parental Divorce on Undergraduates, Journal of Divorce & Remarriage, 55:7, 557-567, DOI: 10.1080/10502556.2014.950905
Jennings, C. (2019, December 23). Attending family therapy after divorce improves child’s mental health. Asheville academy. https://ashevilleacademy.com/blog/attending-family-therapy-after-divorce-improves-childs-mental-health/