I can’t get over the fact my husband had been having an affair for years before we separated. I feel so stupid to have missed or overlooked all the signs. My kids are fed up with me being so down about it all. I’ve done some really crazy things just trying to get rid of the pain. My friend has recommended I get counseling. What is the point of hashing it all out again with someone I don’t know?
Everyone is on their own timeline to heal after a traumatic divorce. But a good counselor can be an enormous help in finding your way forward.
After my divorce twenty five years ago I spent 2 ½ years in counseling so can offer these insights.
For me, the counseling was life-changing. She was skilled and gently but firmly put me on a path to take back my personal power and create a new life. I am enormously grateful for that because I have benefited from her skill as a counselor every single day of my life.
First of all, it is imperative you find the right counselor. There has to be a chemistry for counseling to be of value. If you commit to finding a counselor do not feel there is anything wrong with shopping around for the right fit. You can arrange a short half-hour interview and will know if the counselor makes a connection with you.
Once you find the right counselor the next question is –is it worth it? From my experience, it is worth every moment spent with a good counselor.
There are many reasons why this is so. First of all they are skilled at picking up on internal messaging you may not even be aware of that is impacting your recovery.
A good counselor is also skilled at digging out those inner feelings that need addressing. They have been trained to help you find solutions that work for you.
Don’t be deterred by any feelings of a certain timeline to -getting better. The idea that everything has to be fixed in a certain number of sessions can be very stressful. The counselor might offer a set number of sessions but only as a baseline.
You might want more counseling after those sessions or you might feel you have the emotional tools to do the rest of the work on your own. Or you might want to take a break and consider everything accomplished in the first sessions and set a date a few months hence for a re-evaluation.
The common goal for both you and your counselor is getting to a better you. A counselor holds that very distinctive place of objectivity which sets them apart from family and friends. They have the skills needed to help you learn how to move on to your future.
Being honest is an important aspect of the counseling process. Counselors have probably heard just about everything during their counseling career so don’t hold back your honest thoughts and feelings.
A counselor knows how to ask those difficult questions and weave you through your reactions to your emotional issues as they relate to the divorce. They can also help you see the connection to other areas of your life and the reasons why you have reacted as you have.
Family and friends are our own unique support system in life but often might not say something because they fear how you will react. It could be further complicated by them having a friendship with your former spouse or someone in his life. The objectivity of a counselor is important for your healing.
Your family physician can help you with agencies that offer counseling services. If your doctor knows you well, they might know the agency with the best fit for you.
You have everything to gain by investing in time spent with a counselor. Divorce is a detour in life. Sometimes it can be a roadblock until we take charge of our lives and move forward.
You had no control over your former spouse’s choices, but you do have absolute control over your future.
Do whatever it takes to make it the best it can be.
If you are in need of a place to seek some advice on a way forward during separation and divorce please write to firstname.lastname@example.org – Reaching out is the first step.
ABOUT LINDA SIMPSON
“I take strength from your calm, your honesty, and the hope you give me for my future.” Cheryl
Linda is a fresh voice in the divorce advice world. She offers a pragmatic, common sense approach to life after divorce issues based on over twenty years surviving and thriving following a very traumatic divorce.
As a single parent, her sons are an enormous source of joy in her life. She is a loving mother and grandmother to four delightful grandchildren.
She holds a degree from the University of Waterloo with concentrations in sociology and philosophy and guidance counselling certification from Queen’s University.
She is an accredited trainer for The Peace Education Foundation, a leader in conflict resolution training. The institute is ‘dedicated to educating children and adults in the dynamics of conflict resolution and promoting peacemaking skills in home, schools, and community.’
In a long and successful teaching career, she also served as a counsellor and workshop facilitator for SEL (social emotional learning) programming and The Peace Education Foundation throughout her school and school district and was a frequent conference presenter for SUNY Potsdam Faculty of Education USA.
She writes for The Divorce Magazine UK and her blog is seen regularly on Huffington Post Canada where the focus is life after divorce and parenting issues.
She is a writer and poet and is presently at work on a book based on her divorce experience.