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What is Divorce Counseling?
Divorce counseling is a process that can assist you in navigating the emotions associated with divorce and learning how to manage conflict productively. Couples or individuals may participate. Divorce typically brings up a lot of painful emotions for both sides. Addressing these feelings might help you heal more quickly and build a stronger post-divorce relationship with your former partner.
Planning the logistics of funds, schedules, children, friends, family members, and the related after a divorce involves communication. Many couples didn’t have good communication habits, to begin with. Divorce can make communication even more complicated. Counseling for divorce can help you to acquire the abilities necessary to navigate challenging conversations and decisions successfully.1
Common causes of divorce include:2
- Lack of commitment
- Intimacy issues
- Domestic violence
- Substance abuse
- Financial issues
- Marrying too young
Divorce therapy includes pre-divorce and post-divorce counseling.
Pre-Divorce Counseling vs. Post-Divorce Counseling
Pre-divorce counseling is also often known as discernment counseling. It’s for couples who are getting ready to divorce or who have not yet made a decision to divorce. It can assist a couple in deciding if divorce is the best course of action or in navigating the initial phases after that choice is made. If you have children, it is crucial that you discuss the divorce with them and try to resolve conflicts amicably and politely to lessen the adverse effects.
Post-divorce counseling is primarily for former partners who have already gone through a divorce. Even after a divorce is official, there will still be arguments and hurt feelings. Post-divorce counseling can assist you in managing this change and the surrounding emotions. It can also assist with managing any issues that emerge after the divorce, such as post-divorce depression. It can even help you develop coping mechanisms to use with your children.3
Signs Divorce Counseling May Be Right for You
Divorce may become possible for one or both partners when you disagree more than you agree or when other issues become recurring disruptive patterns of unresolved conflict. When the grief of the divorce becomes too much for you to bear alone, seeking divorce counseling is a crucial step in self-care. This is particularly valid if you have children.
Every couple is unique, and most relationship difficulties can be addressed if love and commitment exist.4 Nonetheless, below are typical signs that counseling for divorce may be right for you:
- Changes to your sleeping patterns
- Reduced interest in activities that usually make you happy
- Reduced energy and drive, making it challenging to complete things
- Having trouble concentrating and being present
- Changes in weight or appetite
- Contemplating injuring yourself
- Frequent and erratic arguments
- Substantial changes in mood (including an increase in anger, depression, and anxiety)
- Feelings of hatred toward oneself
- Experiencing disappointment in yourself
- Considering yourself unworthy of pleasure or love
- Career or education is negatively affected
While each of the above is a reasonable cause to seek a qualified mental health professional’s assistance, this is not a comprehensive list. You should, without a doubt, seek separation counseling if you and your partner feel that doing so would be beneficial during the trying period of the divorce process.
Insurance may be able to help cover the cost of therapy. Find out if your insurance provider can help with the costs by filling in our confidential insurance verification form below.
What is the Process of Divorce Counseling?
Some people may find it challenging to deal with the difficulties of going through a divorce, and making plans for the future can be particularly difficult. You will have to deal with the material and emotional sides of the marriage ending throughout the various stages of divorce.
There may or may not be pressure on you to be vulnerable with those around you. As a result, negative emotions can run high during the divorce process. When going through a divorce, many people experience these five emotional stages: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance.
Every therapy session starts with an assessment phase before treatment. If you’re looking for individual divorce therapy, you can anticipate that the therapist will spend the first session getting to know you, reviewing any necessary paperwork, and discussing your goals. A qualified marriage and family therapist should also be willing to answer your questions and reveal information about themselves. Then, you’ll discuss the next steps. Expect a similar process if you and your former partner attend divorce counseling together.
Counseling for divorce typically entails you and your spouse or former partner meeting in the counselor’s office to discuss any issues with your divorce proceedings. The divorce therapist serves as a mediator. Your therapist won’t make any decisions for you; instead, they’ll offer guidance and support while you and your current or former partner make your own decisions. Pre- and post-divorce counseling provides safe spaces to work through concerns with a licensed therapist who will guide you through any obstacles, ensuring the mediation remains respectful.
Helping you recognize, address, process, and deal with various challenges is the primary goal of counseling for divorce. The following are some of pre- and post-divorce counseling’s main benefits:
- Handle any unpleasant feelings that may surface, such as grief, depression, or anger
- Navigate and understand the legal process
- Create healthy coping strategies and routines to handle future challenges
- Be communicative and cooperative with your spouse both during and after the divorce
- Recognize and understand the reasons the relationship ended and acknowledge your part in it
Medications may be prescribed if one or both parties in the divorce process are experiencing a coinciding disorder such as anxiety or depression. It’s important to note that if children are involved in a custody dispute, every custody dispute in Tennessee involves the parents’ emotional well-being.
The judge will evaluate each parent’s mental state and capacity to give a child the most secure environment. The overriding goal in every custody dispute is to identify a parenting arrangement that best meets the child’s interests. If a mental health disorder or substance abuse issue affects your parenting abilities, a judge will take this into consideration.5
Divorce Therapy Costs & Insurance Coverage
Divorce therapy costs vary depending on factors such as your location and whether or not you’re attending separation counseling alone or with your (ex)partner. In addition, whether or not you have insurance and what type of plan can also affect the final cost of divorce therapy in Tennessee.
Insurance often covers individual therapy as long as your therapist can specify a mental health issue, like depression or anxiety. Your co-pay, which typically varies from $10 to $50, will be required if you visit a provider who accepts your insurance. But, if you do not have insurance or decide to see a therapist outside your network, the cost will be in the $75 to $150 range, with an individual treatment session typically costing around $100.6
Most of the time, insurance won’t cover divorce therapy you receive with your former partner, so you’ll have to pay out-of-pocket. This is because insurance typically only covers the treatment of diagnosed illnesses. As a result, the cost of divorce therapy will likely be the same as marriage counseling, usually between $100 and $250 a session, with an average fee of $150.
It may be possible to find a provider that charges on a sliding scale basis, a fee determined by your income.
Athena Care has multiple counseling clinics throughout Tennessee. We are also in-network with most major insurance plans. Therefore, filling out our free and confidential online insurance verification form is the best way to obtain all the information needed to begin counseling for divorce.
Allow our highly experienced, knowledgeable care coordinators to handle the challenges of contacting your insurance carrier for more information about your coverage. After submitting the no-obligation form, a care coordinator will review your policy and explain your options. Any information you provide or discuss will remain confidential.
Despite the potential costs that divorce therapy may incur, counseling has many benefits, including improving your family’s overall emotional and mental well-being, now and in the future.
Divorce Therapy Treatment Success & Outlook
You can choose how long you attend counseling based on your needs and when you feel you’ve reached your goals. However, divorce counseling is typically regarded as a short-term treatment. Pre-divorce counseling, in particular, may last up to only five sessions. The duration of therapy varies from couple to couple and individual to individual. In addition, it can be impacted by things like co-occurring illnesses like depression.
With that in mind, however, there are some clear signs that the therapy process is working for you:
- You look forward to your sessions.
- You’re applying the skills you learn inside the sessions to outside situations.
- You’re more focused on the “now” than the past or the future.
- You’re taking responsibility for your role in the marriage’s demise.
- You may feel notably worse before you begin feeling better.
Divorce counseling has been extensively researched, and the success rates and outcomes are promising. For example, in one particular study on discernment, or pre-divorce counseling, the data on the participants’ experiences revealed three main elements. The first and most frequently claimed element was the ability to establish clarity and honesty. The second and third elements were appreciating divorce therapy’s structure and cooperating as co-parents after a divorce.[vii]
- Choosing Therapy. “Divorce Counseling: How It Works, Cost, & What to Expect.” Choosing Therapy, 13 Mar. 2023, www.choosingtherapy.com/divorce-counseling.
- Scott, Shelby B., et al. “Reasons for Divorce and Recollections of Premarital Intervention: Implications for Improving Relationship Education.” Couple and Family Psychology, vol. 2, no. 2, American Psychological Association, June 2013, pp. 131–45. https://doi.org/10.1037/a0032025.
- ReGain Editorial Team. “What Is Divorce Counseling: What to Expect? | ReGain.” ReGain, 23 Jan. 2023, www.regain.us/advice/divorce/divorce-counseling-what-to-expect-and-are-there-benefits.
- Gillette, Hope. “5 Early Signs of Divorce and How to Resolve Before It’s Over.” Psych Central, 26 Oct. 2022, psychcentral.com/relationships/predicting-signs-of-divorce#intimacy.
- Attorney, Kristina Otterstrom. “Mental Health Issues and Divorce in Tennessee.” www.divorcenet.com, 12 June 2015, www.divorcenet.com/resources/mental-health-issues-and-divorce-tennessee.html.
- Lauretta, Ashley. “How Much Does Therapy Cost?” Forbes Health, 27 June 2022, www.forbes.com/health/mind/how-much-does-therapy-cost.
- Emerson, Angela M., et al. “The Impact of Discernment Counseling on Individuals Who Decide to Divorce: Experiences of Post‐divorce Communication and Coparenting.” Journal of Marital and Family Therapy, vol. 47, no. 1, Wiley-Blackwell, Jan. 2021, pp. 36–51. https://doi.org/10.1111/jmft.12463.
If you suspect that you or someone you love suffers from mental health disorders, contact Athena Care today.
One of our friendly associates will help you get the help you need. Take this first step to feel better and take control.