Is Divorce Counseling Right For Your Situation?

Medically reviewed by Karen Foster, LPC
Updated May 2, 2024by BetterHelp Editorial Team

Going through the process of divorce can be a challenging time in your life. Looking for ways to cope with your emotions and the transition into the next chapter of your life is a natural response to this intense situation. Therapy may be a beneficial option to help you adapt and grow when divorcing a spouse.

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Going through a divorce is hard

For most people going through a divorce, marks a difficult time in their life. This is often the case whether they started the proceedings or were on the receiving end of the divorce request from their spouse. Emotions experienced can range from relief and excitement for a fresh start to feelings of grief, loss, and guilt as the permanence of divorce settles in. When facing stumbling blocks with many emotions at play, looking for safe spaces in which to express concerns and feelings in a respectful manner may become a priority for many divorcing couples. Because of the intensity of the experience of life changing events, many couples seek therapy for divorce to help them make their own conclusions about how to move forward into the next phase of their lives.

Divorce counseling defined

Divorce counseling is a relatively new form of therapy. Many people may be more familiar with premarital counseling and relationship counseling, but less so with divorce counseling. It is dedicated to helping couples handle their often-complicated feelings about their marriage and divorce in a more respectful and constructive way than they may be able to on their own. Couples typically engage in this type of therapy in the hopes that the services provided by a therapist will lessen the stress for all parties involved. Divorce counseling can help a couple prior to the decision to divorce by providing objective insight and tools to help them make the right choice. It can also provide support once the divorce is already underway and can be transitioned to post-divorce therapy once the divorce is finalized

However, because of its relative newness, many couples may not understand divorce counseling’s benefits or know whether it would work for their situation. It’s likely that most couples facing serious marital struggles with separation looming could benefit from counseling with professional divorce therapists. If you feel you and your spouse are at a point in your marriage where you have issues you’re struggling to resolve on your own, or if you've already decided to end your marriage, divorce therapy could help you both cope with the situation. A divorce therapist may help with teaching coping skills during the grieving process that many former couples may experience. Those who have started families may also want to address tangible aspects of the separation, including child custody, with a professional present.

Benefits of divorce counseling

There are many potential benefits to divorce counseling. Some of them include:

  • Techniques to better manage negative feelings and resolve conflicts (which is particularly important if you have children to co-parent).
  • Guidance from a therapist as you consider the option of divorce and decide about the future of your marriage (if you haven't decided yet).
  • Help people deal with different stages of the divorce and separation process that may lead to acceptance of each person's decision.
  • A time to address unresolved issues before going your separate ways, giving closure to both of you and providing a positive foundation on which to start the next chapter of your life.
  • The chance to better understand what went wrong in the relationship and how to learn from it to make future relationships more successful.
  • An outside perspective from the therapist to ensure that both sides of the issues are being heard and that no one feels as if their opinions and feelings are less important than the other’s.
  • Help with understanding that life goes on post-divorce alongside tips for transitioning into your new life.
  • Suggestions for improving self-care for the individuals involved.

Counseling after the divorce is final

Once the divorce is finalized, new issues may arise. It can be quite daunting to wrap your mind around the fact that your marriage is over and that your life as a single person has resumed. Divorce therapists are often trained to help partners move forward in a constructive manner. Counseling after a marriage ends can help by guiding you to find ways to:


Handle your emotions after a divorce

Once the dust has settled on divorce proceedings, you may find that you need some help coping with the turmoil of emotions that follow. This is where post-divorce counseling often helps couples. You can simply search for "divorce counseling near me". It is not uncommon for feelings of regret, guilt, and shame to set in. If post-divorce feelings are not addressed and processed, they could fester and become more troublesome. 

A licensed professional counselor or therapist who specializes in counseling for a divorce can help you to identify, process, and leave the negative emotions behind. Learning to build self-esteem, love yourself, and accept the new situations in your life will take time. This is especially true if you have children with your spouse, as you will likely have to keep in regular contact with your ex-partner. Remember that taking care of your own emotional needs will help you offer your children the best support possible after your divorce.

Deal with everyday living after a divorce

Once your divorce is finalized, it will be time to get back into the routines of daily living. Most likely, many of those routines will not be the same as when you were married. Perhaps you moved out of your previous home as a result of the divorce and are now becoming accustomed to a new route to work or different places to go grocery shopping. Divorce counselors, whether in one on one practice or practice online, can help you settle back into a routine by helping you cope with stress from the divorce coupled with these life transitions.

If you moved to an entirely new town, then you may be facing new school environments for your children and a new job or community for yourself. If you are co-parenting, it could mean learning how to fill in the time you now have to yourself while your children spend time with your ex-spouse. Counseling after a divorce can offer advice on how to handle these new situations and any anxious feelings that accompany them. Families may also seek help with navigating the emotional components of what to expect during this time.

Move on as an individual after a divorce

No matter how long your marriage lasted, it was a time in your life when you were part of a team, and likely made a life plan together. Someone else's opinion and input mattered when it came to your decision-making.  Now, you may find yourself transitioning to making choices, both big and small, solely on your own. Post-divorce counseling can help you start to shape your new life after marriage.
Divorce counseling can also be a source of emotional support throughout the divorce process.

The idea of going out on your own can be somewhat scary. Things like dining alone, seeing a movie by yourself, or even going out with your single friends can cause some apprehension. It can also feel challenging to approach dating and intimacy again after a divorce.

That anxiety may feel strong enough at times that it causes you to avoid situations. Post-divorce counseling can provide the encouragement you need to start putting your life back on track in a healthy way. 

Going through a divorce is hard

Divorce counseling works

Trying to cope with serious marital problems or the effects of divorce on your own can be exhausting and make an already difficult situation even harder to handle. Participating in divorce counseling is a great way to ease that transition. If you want to find a divorce counselor, consider reaching out to a licensed marriage and family therapist or other mental health professional, whether they’re in one on one practice, are part of an organization, or work through an online therapy platform. While divorce therapy is a relatively new therapy subtype, relationship therapy—such as marriage counseling—has been commonly practiced and scientifically backed as a therapeutic tool.

A study in 2009 found that couples who underwent relationship therapy felt the positive effects for up to four years after the program. These long-term benefits gained by working with a therapist included stronger communication, value alignment, and tools for expressing their emotions. It’s likely that similar benefits can be expected for those seeking relationship therapy at the end of their relationship, as well.

For those hesitant or unable to seek out help in person at a practice in your local area, an online platform like BetterHelp is an option. Here, you can get connected to licensed and professional divorce counselors. Online divorce counseling may be the more convenient choice as you manage your new schedule and separate living arrangements. Without the need to plan out travel time, you and your ex-partner can seek the help you need with fewer roadblocks.

This type of counseling for couples may be even more effective than in-person sessions, according to a recent study. When participants of the study were asked about the quality of the experience, many reported feeling safer and more comfortable telling their feelings in an online setting. 

Hear from a BetterHelp user who had counseling

“Cynthia has been a God send. Thanks to Cynthia, I'm joyful and full of peace, despite going through a divorce after a 30+ year relationship. Cynthia has helped me to formulate goals, and always pretty much immediately responds to my journal entries. I definitely would, and have recommended BetterHelp to friends.”


There are many benefits of seeking counseling when you are going through the process of divorce. You can unpack the challenges you are facing — with or without your partner — and successfully, healthily transition to the next chapter of your life.
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