Finding The Best Divorce Counseling Near Me

By: Michael Puskar

Updated March 20, 2020

Medically Reviewed By: Kristen Hardin

The statistics might vary slightly, but the divorce rate in the country tends to hover around 50 percent. But, no one who gets married plans on getting divorced. That means, if you find yourself facing the end of your marriage, it can be an overwhelming time full of confusing emotions. It's a difficult situation when you're trying to work through it on your own. However, there is an option that can help you through the process, and it starts with a simple search for, "the best divorce counseling near me."

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The divorce rate in the United States used to hover around 50 percent, but research shows that from 2008 to 2016, this statistic dropped around 18 percent. This decline is due in part to counseling becoming more accessible for couples. Counseling can also be a valuable asset in getting through a divorce, and you will learn why as you read on.

What Is Divorce Counseling?

You have probably heard of marriage counseling. In fact, you may have even been through marriage counseling while trying to save your marriage. Marriage counseling is for couples that are working to improve their relationship, recover after challenging marital situations, or make a decision about whether it is healthy to stay married. For some couples, divorce counseling leads to improved communication and increased marital satisfaction. However, for others, it brings a different solution, the realization that divorce is the best decision.

Divorce counseling is for people who are going through a divorce and have likely already been through the marriage counseling process. Where marriage counseling strives to educate couples on how to work through their problems and reunite as a couple, divorce counseling works by educating people on how to move forward in a healthy way after their marriage ends.

You can attend divorce counseling on your own or with your ex-partner. While it might sound like an uncomfortable idea to go to counseling with someone you have already divorced or plan on divorcing, it can have many benefits, especially if you have children together. A therapist can help you learn how to interact with each other healthily as you co-parent your children. Co-parenting can be difficult, and it's to your advantage to learn how to do it effectively. The early days are especially difficult as you both work to find your new normal and adjust to being divorced. Having an unbiased, objective third party can make this transition easier. Your counselor will create a safe space that you and your ex-spouse can use to have difficult conversations in an effective and healthy way.

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When Should You Attend Divorce Counseling?

There is no right or wrong answer to this question. Therapists usually divide sessions into pre-divorce and post-divorce counseling to help make your transition easier. However, if you start before your divorce and don't feel you need to continue afterward, you don't have to. Also, if you have already been through your divorce without pre-divorce counseling, you can jump into the therapy sessions after the divorce is final. Counseling before the divorce can help you learn how to deal with each other civilly. You will need to have some form of communication with the other person as you work toward finalizing the details of the divorce. This process can be easier when you have someone helping you work through your feelings.

Who Should Attend Divorce Counseling?

Divorce counseling works under a number of circumstances. For starters, if you and your spouse have recently decided that you are going to divorce, it can be helpful to get guidance on how to handle the process. You don't need to worry about the counselor trying to change your mind. And you don't need to worry that they're going to judge you. Licensed therapists are trained to meet you where you are and with your specific goals. If you don't want to stay in the marriage, they aren't going to try to force you to reconcile.

You don't need your spouse to attend sessions with you. While it can be helpful, especially if you have children together, you can still benefit significantly from attending on your own. You can also attend together in the beginning and later separate if attending together is no longer needed. Maybe you have both reached a point of realizing that you need to learn how to improve your relationship as a divorced couple for the sake of the children. Or maybe you have felt stuck since your divorce was finalized. You aren't exactly sure how to move forward. The separation seems to be the only thing you can think about. You struggle with depression and feel unmotivated, confused, hurt, angry, sad, and other difficult emotions. This is when individual divorce counseling can be beneficial.

It's common to work through the stages of grief during and after your divorce. A therapist can help you through each step in a healthy way. It's perfectly normal to struggle as you learn to reestablish who you are now that you are no longer a couple. Your therapist can also help you work through any guilt that you have or help you reach a point of forgiveness.

What to Look for in a Divorce Counselor

When looking for a divorce counselor, you'll want to seek a licensed therapist. You'll also want to find one that is experienced in providing counseling through and after divorce. While any licensed therapist can provide you with this type of advice, it doesn't necessarily mean it's their area of expertise. If religion is important to you, you may want to find a therapist that aligns with your values and beliefs.

You will also want to check their availability. Chances are, when you are working through a divorce or are recently divorced, you are dealing with a major change to your schedule. This is especially true if you have children. That means you need to be able to get to counseling when it works best for you. If you choose a therapist who doesn't have availability for months, it's not going to be helpful for issues that you want to address right now.

Things to Remember When Dealing with Divorce

Along with going to divorce counseling, here are some other things that can help you through this time:

  • Don't isolate yourself. You're hurting, and you might have had your trust broken, and you could be feeling ashamed and embarrassed. These are all normal feelings when getting divorced. However, these feelings can cause you to isolate yourself. You don't want to do this. This is the time to surround yourself with family and friends who love you.
  • Practice self-care. When your life as you know it is dramatically changed, it's easy to forget about taking care of yourself. You might not feel hungry or full of energy, but you need to take care of yourself. Make sure to get enough sleep. But also make sure you aren't oversleeping. It's easy when you feel depressed or worried to just want to stay in bed. Make sure you exercise. It's great for your mental health. And make healthy eating choices. Your schedule might be busy right now, and it's tempting to just hit the drive-through, but that will make you feel worse in the long run. Keep some healthy snacks on hand so you have something nutritious to grab in a hurry.
  • Find things you enjoy doing. This is a time of transition, which is a great time to rediscover who you are and what your passions are. Pick up old hobbies that you haven't had time for or try something new.

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How to Find a Divorce Counselor Near You

There are plenty of ways to get started. You can start with a simple Google search: "divorce counseling near me." Do a little research into each therapist before you choose one to work with. You want to make sure that you find someone you trust and are comfortable talking to.

If you know anyone who has been through a recent divorce, you can try asking them for suggestions. If they completed divorce counseling themselves, they might have a great personal recommendation. However, make sure you interview the therapist to see if they are a good fit for you as well.

If you can't find a local therapist experienced in divorce counseling or your schedule makes it hard to get to appointments, you can try online therapy. There are services like those offered by BetterHelp that allow you access to therapists from the comfort and privacy of your home.

Online therapy is a great option for those with busy schedules or who live in an area where there may not be much availability. You can get started anywhere you have an Internet connection, and all you need is a smartphone, tablet, or computer. You and your ex can do this counseling together, or alone as individuals. Read below for some reviews of BetterHelp counselors from people experiencing similar issues.

Counselor Reviews

"When I signed up for BetterHelp I was in the midst of a major life crisis. I was seeking a compassionate, experienced counselor like Jillian to help me cope with the initial pain, anger, and anxiety. Also, I chose Jillian because in her self description she states, 'I'm a big believer in seeing life challenges, especially the most painful ones, as a catalyst for self-discovery, personal growth, and positive change.' This really resonated with me. I knew that I wanted my experience to be an opportunity for personal growth. I am incredibly grateful that Jillian indeed helped me grieve and work through the challenges of divorce and early motherhood. She helped me learn about myself and transform my life in a positive way. She offered practical, specific tools to incorporate into my daily routine. She helped me to reconnect with myself and clarify and move towards my life goals. She offered constructive advice for interacting with my ex-husband and maintaining boundaries. Through working with her I was able to care for myself so that I could be a mindful, present mama and really soak in the precious moments with my newborn daughter. My sessions with Jillian made a huge difference as I navigated this time in my life. I could not recommend her more highly."

"Riddhi has really helped me to find real solutions to my problems and concerns. For the first time I am able to understand HOW to accomplish my goals and not just that goals exist. I still have a long way to go but she is helping me: -cope with divorce -overcome anger issues I have -repair my self esteem -recognize my triggers."

FAQs

What is a divorce therapist?

A divorce therapist, also known as divorce counselors, helps any couple on the verge of a divorce or is currently going through one. A divorce therapist can help both parties settle through the healthiest way possible, employing different types of therapy to improve communication skills.

Divorce therapy has elements of family therapy and couples therapy, as it is about conflict resolution when emotions are high, but it may also focus on the stresses exclusive to divorce. For example, a divorce therapist may focus on the transition from living with someone to living alone.

They may handle other aspects, such as the high cost of divorce. A divorce therapist may also be a family therapist to your kids. A family therapist and a divorce therapist may teach the kids that it isn't their fault and that it's okay to feel certain emotions about the divorce.

Does therapy help with divorce?

Therapy can help with any aspect of marriage, including divorce. Here are some ways it can help:

  • Therapy helps you communicate with your ex. When emotions are high, a therapist can be a part of divorce mediation. Divorce mediation is always needed when both parties are emotional, and they need a calm person in the middle to help them. Besides divorce mediation, a therapist can teach you ways to communicate civilly.

  • Therapy can help you when you're all alone. A therapist will work with you to create some goals and learn how to rebuild your life when you're newly single.

  • A therapist can work with any children who are feeling negative emotions from divorce. Family therapy may be needed, and a therapist who specializes in family therapy can help both parents communicate their divorce with their children and explain it in a way they can understand.

  • One way a therapist can help with that is through reunification therapy. Reunification therapy involves healing the relationship a parent and a child have after divorce. Quite often, the child will feel like they have to choose one parent and abandon the other. Reunification therapy can fix this. A child should have a great relationship with both parents if possible, and reunification therapy is just one option that you can take.

  • A therapist can teach you how to move on from the divorce. While it's up to you when and how you move on, a therapist can help.

How do I become a divorce therapist?

Becoming any type of therapist is a long journey, and if you want to learn how therapy resources are your first step. You should also look up the credentials you'll need in your country or state.

Generally, becoming one involves getting a bachelor's in a relevant field and getting your master's. You may need to have certain credits, which you'll get through internships and other methods. A therapist tends to be a protected term, and you may find that you need a license if you want a career in divorce therapy. Do your research and consider if it's a career for you.

How much do divorce counselors make?

A divorce counselor may make an average of $54K a year. This is going to depend on where you work, how many clients you have, and various other factors. With divorce counseling, it may require years of education, and for some, the debt they put themselves in may or may not be worth it.

Should I get counseling before divorce?

Advice from a counselor is recommended before divorce, separation, or the end of a relationship. For one thing, a counselor who specializes in marriage therapy, family therapy, or group therapy may be able to help you determine whether or not a divorce is for you.

Sometimes, your marriage is fine, but you've had miscommunications. A little bit of group therapy can teach you how to communicate better, especially if one of you has social awkwardness.

If your relationship problems are due to family issues, you may need family therapy. For example, if you have a bad relationship with your in-laws, family therapy could help you to repair any relationship that you have with them.

Counseling can help you prepare for a divorce, too. From preparing yourself for the emotional turmoil to helping you to save up money and build a network, counseling is a good tool if you're considering divorce, separation, or ending a relationship.

A client and therapist can work together to create a path towards a successful future. Divorce is hard, but when a client and therapist push forward, you can brave the storm of divorce much easier.

What can you not do during a divorce?

There are many things that you shouldn't do during divorce, separation, or breaking up. Here are just a few of them.

  • Don't blather about it to everyone. While it's okay to tell your closest friends or family members, announcing it during a few drinks at the bar probably isn't the best way to introduce it. When emotions run high, be selective with who you talk to it about initially.

  • Don't use your kids as pawns. Many parents will use their kids as bargaining chips, and sometimes tell their kids about how awful their ex is. Don't do this. Your kids are human and are going through a tough time to boot. While they are involved with the divorce process, don't use them as pawns, especially when they're too young to understand what's going on.

  • Don't get a rebound. For one thing, if you live in certain states, a relationship while you're going through a divorce may come with its own consequences. For another, rebounds tend to end up blowing up in your face. Sometimes, it's okay to stay single while you're going through a divorce.

  • Don't decide things without help. You're going through some high emotions, and many people who have a divorce without any assistance end up making decisions that they soon regret. What you should do is go to divorce coaching or counseling. Divorce coaching may help you prepare for divorce and assist you in making decisions that are otherwise difficult to make.

  • Don't hide information from your divorce attorney. Even if you've done something that puts you in a bad light, being as honest as possible is important. This is because there's a good chance that what you're hiding can come back to bite you later.

  • Don't speak to your ex when emotions are high. Instead, speak to them when it's cordial to do so. You want to be civil, even when there are emotions.

  • Talk to your divorce attorney or divorce therapist if you're unsure if a decision is right or wrong. Every divorce is different, and what's okay in one divorce may not be in another, and vice versa.

Will a marriage counselor suggest divorce?

Most marriage counselors are designed to repair a marriage. Many marriage counselors have taken couples whose marriages were completely toxic and turned them around, so it does make sense that a marriage counselor may try to avoid suggesting separation and divorce. For most marriage counselors, separation and divorce are a decision that the couple must come to on their own. Sometimes through counseling, a couple may realize organically that they aren't meant to be. Some counselors may suggest separation and divorce, but that's less common.

What is a therapist salary?

A therapist's salary is going to depend on what type of therapist they are, where they live, and other factors. For your average separation and divorce therapist, the salary is a little over $50k. Around that range is what most therapists make on average.

How do you know it's time to divorce?

The answer to this is going to be different for everyone, but with that said, there are some ways that you can realize that it's time to get a divorce. These include:

  • You are always arguing, and these arguments never get resolved.

  • You've considered divorce or separation multiple times. If you're Googling "divorce or separation tips" multiple times, this may be a sign that it's time to do so.

  • You've been preparing, whether it's saving up money or building a support network.

  • When you tried therapy to prevent divorce or separation, and it didn't work, you may want to consider divorce.

  • The relationship is abusive, toxic, there is infidelity or dishonesty, or anything else that is a deal breaker.

What are the warning signs of divorce?

There are many signs that a marriage is heading towards divorce. Here are a few examples.

  • Both parties no longer feel attached to the other. You may feel emotionless around your spouse or feel negative emotions. You may not want to have sex. With the sex issue, it may be another factor, and sex therapy can help. However, combined with the other signs, it may be an indication that you're heading for divorce.

  • Anger. You two cannot stop fighting, and everything sets you off. One or both parties are always being defensive and always attacking the other person.

  • There is infidelity or at least rumblings of it. You may find another person much more attractive than your spouse.

  • One person is saving up a lot of money in their own bank account and seems to be consulting a legal team.

  • Therapy didn't work. Before ending a divorce, many couples who are on the rocks may consider therapy. Quite often, a relationship therapist may be able to help couples with their relationship. A good counselor or therapist has had couples who always fight enter their office and exit with a renewed relationship. However, if that didn't work, divorce may be on the horizon.

Will I be happier after divorce?

This will all depend on the divorce, separation, or end of a relationship. After the dust has settled, some people do feel happier. They feel like a weight has been lifted. Meanwhile, if you had a great marriage, you may not feel happier. There is no straight answer to this because all divorces are different. With any divorce, you should speak to a therapist if you have any concerns, and make sure that you're doing activities that make you feel happy. This way, you can get the most out of life.

How long does it take to heal from divorce?

There is no definitive answer to this. For some people, they seem to bounce back rather quickly after a divorce, living their best life. For others, it may take a year or so.

It all depends on many factors, such as:

  • How you are as a person naturally. If you are someone who can bounce back rather quickly, that can play a part in how you feel.

  • Your relationship with your ex. If it was filled with toxicity, you might move on faster. However, if it was a great marriage with an unfortunate end, it may take longer.

  • How long you were married to them. A marriage that lasted 20 years may take longer to recover from than one that lasted not even a year.

  • How long it took for you to emotionally prepare for the divorce.

  • Your support networks. Surrounding yourself with friends and family who care can make the divorce recovery faster. A therapist can improve your chances of divorce recovery. Some people may recover better through other types of therapy not related to a divorce, such as music therapy, movement therapy, or art therapy.

Why is a divorce so painful?

A divorce is painful for many reasons. Even if you've grown to resent your spouse, you still remember the good times you had with them, and you may be upset that it didn't work out. You may always feel a little regret and wonder if you should have stayed.

Besides this, a divorce can be painful if you have children, especially if they're old. Your children may not know why the two of you are getting divorced, and they may think it's their fault, even if you tell them that it's not.

With a divorce, you may feel like you're a failure. If your parents divorced, maybe you made a promise that you would never get one, and now you have. Even though divorces are common, you may still feel like you've done a disservice by not fulfilling the "to death do we part" vow. If you're religious, this may make the shame worse. Perhaps your religion forbids or frowns upon divorce. You may feel like you've failed your god or your moral compass.

Divorce is also painful because of your finances. In most cases, you went from a two-income household to a one-income household, and this can be a strain on your budget. Not being able to spend as freely as you used to may upset you. Sometimes, you may have to return to your parents for a while, and this may feel embarrassing.

There are quite a few reasons why divorce is painful, and life after divorce can still have a lot of pain with it.

How do you secretly prepare for a divorce?

There are some legitimate reasons why someone would secretly prepare for a divorce. Perhaps the spouse is toxic, and the person just wants to get the divorce over with. No matter the reason, here are a few tips to help you prepare for the separation and divorce.

  • Make sure you have some money saved up. A lot. Divorce is expensive, and if you're planning for one, put all the money away in an account that's yours.

  • Gather all the documents relevant to your divorce. Finances, marriage licenses, and anything else you need.

  • Talk to an attorney, especially one that has a free consultation.

  • By using online therapy, or attending the therapy process in private, you can speak to some divorce counselors. They can tell you more about the divorce and separation process and give you ways to improve your secret divorce.

  • Eventually, the secret will be revealed, and you'll need to prepare yourself emotionally. Make sure you're prepared for the divorce. The therapy process can help with this.

Should I talk to my spouse during divorce?

You are going to have to speak to your spouse during a divorce. There are no questions about that. The challenge is learning to talk to your spouse when emotions are high. When you're talking to your spouse during a divorce, only speak to your spouse when emotions are calm. Talk to your spouse when you can be civil and discuss certain aspects of it.

Alternatively, only talk to your spouse during the separation or divorce when you're talking to a marriage counselor or therapist for divorce. The emotions can still get high during a therapy session, but counseling for divorce will involve the therapist teaching both people how to calm down and talk to each other. So, go to counseling for divorce if you can.


Final Thoughts: It Takes Time

Remember that healing takes time. Even with counseling, hurtful situations take time to recover from. Don't pressure yourself to bounce back to normal right away. You may have good days and bad days, and that's okay. Allow yourself time to feel the emotions that you have. Don't allow others to pressure you into doing things that you're not ready for or make you feel bad that you aren't "feeling better" faster. Everyone recovers in their own time and their own way.

A licensed therapist experienced in divorce counseling can help you work through the process and make it much easier than going through it alone. With the right tools, you'll be well on your way to a fulfilling life in which your relationship with your ex doesn't negatively affect you. Take the first step today.


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