Divorce Support Groups: What to expect
Divorce can be one of the most painful and stressful experiences a person can have. Ending a marriage means losing the partner that you hoped to be with for life. When it’s over, you can feel as if everything you believed about your relationship and future has been taken away. After going through this difficult experience, it can be hard to know how to pick up the pieces and move forward. One way to get your bearings can be by talking with others who are going through the same thing. You may have heard of groups such as DivorceCare or others, which focus on providing a safe place for divorced and separated people to gather and talk about their feelings and experiences. If you are considering going to a divorce support group, here is an idea of what to expect.
What is Involved in a Divorce Support Group?
A divorce support group is usually moderated by a therapeutic professional and is comprised of about 15-20 people, though some groups may be larger. In some groups, the meeting may be conducted by a minister or other spiritual advisor through a religious organization. Many groups meet one time per week for anywhere from one to three hours. During this time, the members will talk about their emotions and experiences with divorce. The leader will direct the discussion and keep the group on track. There are usually rules about what will be permitted in the setting such as being courteous to one another and respecting boundaries.
You May be Nervous and Reserved at the Beginning
It’s one thing to know you need emotional support, but it’s entirely different to walk into a room full of strangers and tell them private details about one of the most painful experiences of your life. At the start, you may want to just listen to others talk and get used to the format of the group. At a minimum, you will be able to hear other people discuss their shared experiences and recognize you are not alone in what you are feeling or have been through.
Tell Your Story When and if You are Ready
After spending time getting comfortable, it may be therapeutic to tell others about your experiences. Getting the words out in a safe place will allow group members to connect with you and provide support and encouragement. Talking through your feelings can be hard, but it can also be a way to work through what has happened so you can move on with your life. However, the group should not pressure you or anyone else to talk if they are not ready. If this process feels right for you, you may find the group to be a healthy outlet for your feelings as you move through the stages of recovering from your divorce.
The Group May Not be Right for You
Group therapy is not the only way to manage your emotions after divorce. It may be that you are a private person and cannot get comfortable sharing with others in this type of environment. If that is the case, you are not obligated to continue going to the sessions. Instead, you may want to consider talking with an individual therapist about your thoughts and feelings. If counseling is not for you, you may prefer to rely on the support of your friends and other loved ones.
Attorney Karyn Youso has extensive family law experience and can help you evaluate your situation and identify the right therapeutic resources. Call us and let’s take a “first look” at your circumstances. Please contact us to schedule a consultation.