Do you need therapy when you separate?

Posted by Louisa on 29 October 2018 in categories: Blog , Family Mediation

Talking about mental health issues is something that has been in the news a lot lately and this is important to help to reduce the stigma surrounding emotional and brain chemistry problems.  In mediation meetings we always like to know whether anyone has had counselling, whether they found it helpful, and whether they are open to trying this in the future.  If a couple are really stuck in mediation then some form of therapy can be really useful in helping them to address what is keeping them stuck and to move forward.  Whilst some family mediators are trained therapists the mediation meeting is not a place for any form of therapeutic help.  Mediation is about facilitating discussion and problem solving to find a mutually agreeable solution.  Talking about what’s happened and how people feel can play an important role in this exercise but mediation should not be confused with therapy.

Divorce and separation are one of the single most stressful life events and so it is entirely understandable if you are struggling to cope when this happens.  It can raise so many different issues and trying to deal with all these issues, on top of everyday life, can just feel enormously overwhelming.  It is OK to feel that you are not coping well and when we feel we are not coping it is often helpful to find some extra support.  

We discuss this with all clients but if any of the following sounds like you then you may find some therapeutic assistance helpful:

  1.  You are struggling to deal with your emotions and find them spilling out of you in the form of tears and anger.  This happens in front of your children and you are unable to have a simple conversation with your ex partner without you becoming hugely emotional.
  2. You feel completely overwhelmed.  You cannot begin to think about what the first step is.  You can’t sleep for thinking about all the different things you need to sort out but you can’t then seem to take any steps to address the things that need resolving.
  3. Neither you or your ex partner can have any form of discussion without it turning into a heated argument.  You each feel that you are completely in the right and the other person is completely in the wrong.  You are both stuck where you are and can’t see anything changing.  Ever.
  4. You are feeling in any way suicidal or that the world would be a better place without you in it.

For some people seeking help from their GP or a therapist can feel like something to be ashamed of and that they have not been able to manage.  But everyone has their limit of what they are able to cope with and as one of the most stressful life events it is no wonder that a separation or divorce has thrown you out of kilter.  There can be a huge multitude of reasons why you are feeling as you are and if you felt unwell and unable to function then you probably wouldn’t hesitate to visit your doctor.  Mental unwellness needs specialist care in the same way that physical wellness does.  We know that people can worry about seeking help because they worry that people will regard them as less able to cope at work or with their children and that there may be worrying consequences that stem from this.  But the fact is that 1 in 3 people will suffer with some form of mental illness in their life time and that makes it just as common as getting a cold (and people are not usually worried about admitting when they have a cold).  Getting the right support at an early stage means you’re much more likely to feel better and stronger sooner.

We hold a range of details about local therapists and if you would like to be put in touch with someone who can help you then please get in touch with us, or contact your GP.

 

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