Counselling for Life after Separation

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Jonny Sibbring
Jonny Sibbring  Counsellor and Member of the BACP

Separation has become increasingly common and unfortunately people are usually unprepared for the consequences. The end of a relationship can be a very painful experience for all concerned.

There are many possible causes for the breakdown in relationships, and sometimes going your separate ways feels like the only option.

If you have arrived at this point, things can look very bleak. Knowing you can’t go on being with someone but not knowing how to live without them can be a very overwhelming situation to be in.

It might feel like you have dug yourself into a hole that you can’t get out of. Often, the decision to divorce or separate is not a joint one, and one person is left behind. In this case the feelings of abandonment and loss can feel quite crippling.

If you are experiencing divorce, I would argue that you are dealing with grief. Usually with added feelings of rejection and heartbreak. You might wish that you could swiftly brush all these feelings away, but by taking away all the pain you would miss out on the growing process which is so necessary to bring about real healing.

Understanding the reasons for the break-down, addressing the loss and other negative feelings is crucial in the journey of ‘moving on’. It’s ok to give yourself time to work through this. You should allow yourself the space to pick up the pieces and think about future.

If you are experiencing rejection you may be angry. Anger can help motivate you to work on improving your life. However, if it continues it can cause you to fall into the trap of bitterness. Working through your anger will be essential in order to grow and move past the resentment.

For many people experiencing a separation the question becomes, “now what?”  It is not the end of the road. It may not be what you would have chosen, but there are still positive choices you can make as you deal with your new situation.

How counselling can help

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Counselling for Life after Separation

Seeking counselling at this point can be a huge step in the right direction. Counselling offers a chance to try and make sense of what has happened. Self-reflection will be encouraged; this can bring about positive change and fresh perspective.

Many people perceive a separation as a personal failure. Therapy can help you to work through those feelings and make sense of the end of a relationship. It can be an opportunity to grow and become a stronger person. This will help you in future relationships. It’s about tackling the issues that are troubling you the most and you taking control of your life.

Impact on Children

Therapy can also be critically important for children experiencing a divorce situation. When their parents are separating children may feel guilt, loss, and overwhelming confusion. They may struggle with loyalty and worry that they are the cause of the divorce. Children should receive support for all of the issues that arise as a result of a divorce in order to process the emotions and move forward in a healthy and constructive way.

How to find a counsellor

Counselling may be available for free on NHS through your GP, as well as registered charities such as Mind. However there may be long waiting lists to access these services. Many counsellors are self-employed and work with clients privately. There’s a cost involved with this; however, there will be advantages.

Private Counsellors are likely to have more flexibility with appointment times. They’ll also be able to offer an open ended amount of sessions, so you can finish counselling when you feel good and ready. Many private practice counsellors are well aware of the financial constraints faced by students and are happy to negotiate a lower fee, making counselling much more affordable.

The best place to look for self-employed counsellors is on the internet. Most will have websites, as well as profiles on directories specifically for counsellors and psychotherapists. These include:

Counselling Directory

It’s Good To Talk

Pink Therapy (For LGBTQ people)

These directories require the counsellors on their list to be registered with an accrediting counselling body and provide details of their qualifications and insurance. It will be on the counsellor’s profile pages where they’ll state if they offer a reduced price for students and low income earners.

If you’re interested in having counselling it may be a good idea to get in touch with a few counsellors and/or services to enquire about price, location, availability and experience, as well as asking questions you might have about counselling in order to see which is the best fit is for you.

Jonny Sibbring

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