Divorce and separation

The decision to separate is the final scene of an unhappy relationship, which dramatically impacts your children (if any), extended family, finances, housing and social life. It also affects your self-confidence, faith in others and initiates a very stressful cycle of re-building in your life.

Separation Counselling for Couples:

Whilst relationship counselling can help improve relationship by resolving communication glitches, reducing arguments, restoring intimacy, increasing trust, resolving impasses and reminding a couple what they love about each and why they got together in the first place.  Separation counselling for couples, can focus on diffusing remaining grievances and softening strong judgemental attitudes and remaining resentments.  It can renew a level of mutual respect and help establish a business-like cordiality, sufficient for effective negotiating. Separation for childless couples creates the need for negotiation on many levels, besides property and chattels,.  For example, treatment of mutual friends, style of future communications, the need to ‘heard’ regarding outstanding grievances.

Separation Counselling for Families:

Many couples separate, and then commit again,  without knowing the true cause of their original relationship problems. This is why the second marriage divorce rate is even higher than that of the first marriage!  It is also another reason why counselling during divorce/separation can benefit both parents and children.  If  divorcing parents can overlook tiredness, anger and ‘a whole list of grievances’, counselling for separating families can reap multiple benefits.  Not the least of which is minimising emotional trauma for all involved and setting the scene for emotional completion and re-building, post separation.

My clinical observations over 30 years, are that legal costs and post-separation conflicts and children’s distress are greatly reduced by a series of focused counselling sessions, particularly when matters between parents are unresolved.

Studies in the early 1980’s showed that children in repeat divorces earned lower grades and their peers rated them as less pleasant to be around. (Andrew J. Cherlin, Marriage, Divorce, Remarriage -Harvard University Press 1981)

Forty percent of children growing up in America today are being raised without their fathers. (Wade, Horn and Busy, “Fathers, Marriage and Welfare Reform” Hudson Institute Executive Briefing, 1997)

Teenagers in single-parent families and in blended families are three times more likely to need psychological help within a given year. (Peter Hill “Recent Advances in Selected Aspects of Adolescent Development” Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry 1993)

Compared to children from homes disrupted by death, children from divorced homes have more psychological problems. (Robert E. Emery, Marriage, Divorce and Children’s Adjustment” Sage Publications, 1988)

I have worked extensively with divorcing families where the parents are child-focused as opposed to conflict-focused.  Sadly, the children of divorcees most in need of family therapy, probably have parents with a mindset, that precludes acknowledging family counselling as a priority at that time.